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Indulging my interest in food and flavor, I love to write about cooking, gardening and life's bounty. My new book - "Discover Cooking with Lavender"- is now available

Friday, December 04, 2009

Holiday Gifts: Five Affordable & Memorable

Five inexpensive luxurious one-of-a-kind gifts that are perfect for teachers, neighbors and relatives who you want to remember this holiday season.

1. A small jar of home-made jelly sends a sweet message anytime of the year. I like to make apple lavender jelly because it is easy, inexpensive and a special treat. My recipe makes approximately 4 six ounce jars.


Apple Lavender Jelly

Sweet and delicate, this simple jelly lets us enjoy the taste of apples and lavender’s fragrance all year round. Use organically locally-grown apples for best results. You can use any variety of apples. Fuji, Rome and Delicious all will work well.

6 pounds apples
1 ½ cups fresh lavender buds, or 2 tablespoons dried buds
½ cup water
3 cups sugar (amount may vary depending on juice yield from apples)
½ cup cassis or Grand Marnier liqueur

1. Quarter apples (don't peel or core).

2. Place apples in large saucepan, then add lavender and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are tender, about an hour.

3. Meanwhile, sterilize 4 (six-ounce) jars.

4. Line a colander with 3 layers of cheesecloth, and place colander over a large bowl.

5. Pour apple mixture into cheesecloth and allow the juice to drip overnight. Depending on the juice content of your apples, you will have approximately 3 cups of juice in the morning.

6. Pour juice into a large saucepan; add sugar. If you have 3 cups of juice, use 3 cups of sugar. If not, use 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice.

7. Bring juice and sugar to a rapid boil. Continue boiling until the temperature reaches 220ºF, or a drop of the juice forms a hard film on a cold spoon.

8. Stir liqueur into hot juice.

9. Pour hot mixture into sterilized jars and seal with paraffin.

Yield: 4 (six-ounce) jars of jelly


2. I love to give pure lavender honey. Olympic Lavender Farm offers pure lavender honey in 3 ounce jars. You can order this honey on line and it will arrive on your front porch. I like to keep several jars of honey in my gift box to have on hand for hostess gifts or when I want to sweeten someone's day.

3. A gift of fine chocolates delights nearly everyone. Eat-Chocolates offers hand-made chocolates made with the best quality ingredients. My favorite is an elegant box of truffles. The little box contains six beautiful candies that are nice to look at, and sinful to eat. One of these six truffles is dark chocolate with just a hint of lavender, and best of all it is decorated with purple luster dust.

4. Home-made marshmallows, packaged in a cellophane gift bag and tied with a bright ribbon, are perfect for topping a nice hot cup of chocolate. These are easy and inexpensive to make.

5. Lavender sugar, so simple to make, brings back memories of summer sunshine. I like to give small jars of lavender sugar along with my favorite way to use it either in a recipe of simply sprinkled on fresh fruit.


Debra said...

Love that idea. Does it matter what kind of apples you use?

Kathy said...

Good question, I like to use local apples - almost any variety will work - Delicious, Golden Delicous, Rome or Gravenstein. They are all good. You also may want to try Honey Crisp --- these are my favorites.

sevenoakslavender said...

Very nice recipes! Looking forward to your book!