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    Quick, Homemade Jams and Applesauce in Beautiful Jars Make Special Holiday Gifts

    Want to make your own food gifts for the holidays? Here are two recipes - one for homemade cranberry jam courtesy of Whole Foods, one for homemade applesauce courtesy of me - that are simple, delicious, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who receives them to lick her lips!

    CRANBERRY JAM

    Cranberry jam This recipe cooks up in minutes. I made a version of it as a cranberry chutney for Thanksgiving, adding a sprinkle of ground ginger rather than nutmeg to give it a little zing.  Spoon it into clean glass jars, and wrap in a lovely tea towel - or just crisscross a ribbon around it and add your personalized gift tag.

    By the way, I make gift tags by recycling Christmas cards I received the previous year. If you cut out rectangles with pinking shears, they're quite cute!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (16 ounces) bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 apples (Fuji, Gala and/or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and grated
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    HOW TO PREPARE

    Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until cranberries have popped open and mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to small jars, if desired. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    You can find more DIY food gift recipes from Whole Foods here.

     

    APPLESAUCE

    INGREDIENTS

    ApplesApples. That's it. I usually use a combination of Honey Crisp and Winesap, but you should use whatever you like to eat. If you're not sure, just go to your farmer's market - chances are they'll have lots of apples and will be happy to cut you some slices so you can choose one or a combination.

    HOW TO PREPARE

    Peel all the apples. Cut out the core, then slice into eighths. Put into your food processor and puree.

    That's it.

    I like applesauce made this way more than cooking down the apples and then pureeing them or mashing them up. They're more flavorful, and easier, too, as it saves me a lot of time not standing over a boiling pot of apples making sure they don't burn.

    One tip: Once I have a big pile of apple peels, I put them in a pot of water and add a couple of cinnamon sticks and some whole cloves. I turn the heat to low and just let the aroma from this apple "potpourri" fill the house. It's heavenly.

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