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!
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!
- 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.
Apples. 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.
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.