Edible Christmas gifts are a welcome treat – even more so when full of organic goodness. If you have time to spare now, make the most of preserving to lock in the flavours of the season for presents that can be enjoyed throughout Christmas.
Alternatively, last minute makes can also save the day if the shops are closed or the parcel you were waiting for hasn’t arrived. Pay a little extra attention to how you package it and create something special; use lovely upcycled handwritten labels, decorative bundles of herbs, pinecones, dried orange slices or cinnamon sticks tied up in ribbon.
To make now
Beetroot can often languish a little unloved in the fridge but now is the perfect time for cooking beetroot relish – it needs to rest for a month before eating to let the flavours mellow. This full-flavoured ruby red condiment goes well with festive food such as terrines and game.
Way more than the sum of its parts, sticky onion marmalade turns the humble onion into something rather moreish, and pairs perfectly with mature cheeses.
In addition to traditional pickles, one that you may not have thought of is sauerkraut. Not just a tangy flavour that goes well with a cheeseboard after lots of heavier meals, it is also packed with naturally occurring probiotics to support your digestive system.
Making home fermented food can seem a bit daunting, but Riverford chef James Evans has made a great ‘how to’ video as part of their Veg Hacks series that will talk you through the do’s and don’ts, plus show how you can create a quick spicy kimchi, and you can view the video here.
Last minute makes
For a present that kids can help make, festive rocky road is simplicity itself; sweet, rich, deliciously crunchy chocolate packed with nuts, fruit, marshmallows and biscuit. The recipe is super flexible depending on what you have in the cupboard: swap cranberries, glacé cherries, sultanas or raisins for dates, if you prefer. Vary the ingredients according to who it is being made for, too. You can mix milk and dark chocolate together for a rich but not bitter tasting mixture that can be made lighter or darker as needed.
Ginger spiced Christmas biscuits are a classic for a good reason – they can be made in 40 minutes, make your house smell of warm spices while they cook, and taste incredible. If you have time to settle down with a mulled wine and get creative, they can be turned into wonderful edible Christmas decorations if piped with icing patterns and strung on ribbon or string.
Everyone loves being given a cake, so your organic veg box can even help here. Not everyone is a Christmas pudding fan, and who would guess there’s a dose of veg in this light, delicious chocolate beetroot mousse cake – beetroot just adds subtle depth of flavour and moistness. Again, this is one to make the day before eating, great for last minute gifting.