Monday, December 19, 2011

JUST IN TIME - A CHRISTMAS GIFT OF HOMEMADE CRANBERRY RELISH.


Can you believe that Christmas Day is almost here? Well, ready or not, it's nearly upon us. And, as you know, GrandmaS is always looking to share helpful tips and to encourage her readers to simplify most everything. Not surprisingly, then, that quest for simplicity includes what we do in the holiday season.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve finished your major holiday purchases. But there may still be those people in your life that need a gift from you, and you’re short on ideas and on cash. Good news! There is still time to get into the kitchen and whip up something delicious that would be  a well received gift by most anyone on your list – male or female, young or old. And. who wouldn’t love to receive a homemade treat? So, this holiday, add a last-minute personal touch to gift-giving by making festive foods to share right out of your own kitchen.

The taste of something homemade will be more appreciated than anything bought in a store. Remember, as GrandmaS always says: It’s the thought (and time and effort) that counts, and Christmas is a religious holiday that shouldn’t be confused with a consumerist extravaganza. Most important, food gifts are great because they please almost everybody and can be made with just a few dollars. And it’s fun to pack cookies, quick breads, fruitcake, and other treats in jars or metal tins, and decorated them with brightly colored cellophane and ribbons. Don't care for sweets? Soup mix in a jar, flavored vinegars, seasoned mustard, and all kinds of spices are also thoughtful gifts for cold winter nights.

Even a simple recipe - layering the ingredients, attaching a gift card, and decking it out with ribbons or yarn - will be a most attractive gift package. It’s also nice if you a attach a recipe to your gift along with instructions for its storage life and a list of the ingredients to alert anyone who may have a food allergy . Also, it’s essential to have it packaged in some way that allows for its easy transport to someone’s home. 

My husband and I have been invited to eat Christmas Eve dinner with friends at their house, and I’m going to arrive with a dish of Christmas red and green cranberry relish. I'll place the relish in a  white serving bowl and set it on top of some fresh green lettuce. That will make it look even more festive. And I’m also preparing a pretty jar of the same relish to share with my hosts as an impromptu gift.

Recipe for Christmas Red and Green Cranberry Relish

Ingredients (enough for 3-½ pint jars)
 cups of fresh cranberries
1 cup of orange juice
1-cup of sugar
Dash of salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of shredded lemon peel or 2 tablespoons of brandy.
1/3 cup of green candied cherries (If you want an spicier mix of flavors, try substituting dill pickle relish for the candied cherries.)

Directions
Wash and drain the cranberries.

In a stainless steel pot, combine juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook for 1 minute. Add the cranberries and bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently over medium-high heat for 5 or more minutes or until the skins pop and the contents begin to thicken a bit.

Remove cinnamon stick and stir in the lemon peel. Cool completely.  Place the green candied cherries or dill pickle relish on top. Spoon the cranberry relish into jars. Refrigerate. Make it the day before you plan to give it to whoever it’s destined for. Be sure to tell them to keep it covered and stored in the refrigerator for no more than a week. As an option they can freeze it, jar and all, and thaw it out – to be used right away, any time in the next 6 months.

Related posts
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ROASTED VEGETABLE SOUP IS A MEDLEY OF SUMMER ABUNDANCE
PICKLING, A TREASURED WAY TO PROCESS VEGGIE ABUNDANCE
HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SUGAR: CHEAP FOR INDUSTRIAL FOODS, COSTLY FOR HEALTH & THE ECOLOGY.
IT’S JAM-MAKING TIME – GRANDMA’S PRESCRIPTION FOR A HAPPY SWEET TOOTH ALL WINTER LONG
GREAT, HASSLE-FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER
DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER
BREAD PUDDING, AN APPALACHIAN AND SOUTHERN DESSERT THAT YOU'RE SURE TO ENJOY.

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