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.
Siracha sauce has become a cult product in recent years, a potent mixture of chilli, ginger, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce. But the home-made version is far superior, incredibly simple and makes for great presents in little Kilner jars.
After blitzing the chillis, garlic, salt and the sugar, leave it to ferment for 3 days. Let the fermenting concoction breath each day, taking the lid off briefly before closing it again. After three days, blitz the sauce again before simmering the sauce with fish sauce and rice wine vinegar for a few minutes. The resulting sauce will last for up to 3 months in a sealed jar.
- 600g of red chillis (stalks removed)
- 10 garlic cloves
- Four tsp salt
- Four tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 75g soft light brown sugar
- 75g caster sugar
Pear Mostarda is a fiery sweet preserve that can be made using lots of different fruit. Think of it as somewhere between chutney and candied fruit. This recipe makes the most of UK pears. We recommend making a big batch and giving some away as Christmas gifts – or you may want to keep it all for yourself! This recipe makes about 4 jam jars’ worth. Scale up if you wish.
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.
Macarons are a perfect Christmas gift, and last a good few days, so you can prepare a bit in advance. But the traditional ones are a bit fiddly. This recipe is a bit of a cheat’s version, that still results in a delicious, chewy macaron but without the fuss. The clementine curd is zingy, zesty and seriously good; it could also be used on cakes or even spread on toast.
Dark chocolate truffles are a perfect decadent Christmas present. Use really good chocolate, at least 70% cocoa. You can leave out the orange if you prefer them plain, or add a splash of you favourite booze – brandy, rum or liqueur.