Great pickle recipes, and ideas for homemade christmas presents

Anyone have any good recipes? Or know a good relevant site?

I have a lot of people to give christmas presents to this year, and after uni finishes for the year I have a lot of free time. So, I thought, since I like cooking, I could cook presents. So far I’ve thought of cookies and pickle. And maybe cake, or slice.

If anyone has any ideas that are more crafty and don’t include cooking, don’t hesitate to post them! Also, does anyone else do this? How well does it go down with the recipients?


Burnt Sugar

This is a recipe for syrup that I have used successfully to pickle beets, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers and zuchinni. It makes enough to pickle approximately 6 quarts.
4 cups hot water
4 cups apple cider vinegar (red vinegar)
4-5 cups of sugar (I think 5 is better, but last time I used only 4 because of concerns about my flab)
1 tablespoon powdered cloves
1/4 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
Bring to a boil
Just before you pour it in, place 1 teaspoon of salt on the vegetables to be pickled.

One that I have made twice:

Feta cheese in Olive oil:

Get some of those little canning jars with the rubber seal and wire closure.

Slice feta cheese into 1/2" slices that will fit into the jar.

As you place the pieces in, sprinkle some oregano and basil on them.

I place the slices at an angle so there are little voids at the edges. Into these voids I put garlic cloves and Kalamata olives.

When you fill it, pour olive oil over to cover and let it sit for a week to meld the flavors.

I give it in a little brown bag with blue and white sisal string tied to it as a ribbon, very Greek and looks great too!

Always a hit.

We often make up some small jars of pepper jam. It’s great when you put in some bell peppers, and enough spicy ones to give you a nice little kick. Yummy with cream cheese on bagels, and it’s a pretty red in the jar.

Pomegranate jelly is also very pretty, and cheap if you have a pomegranate tree hanging around.

I made toffee one year for everyone and everyone scarfed it down like it was their last meal, lol. Fairly easy to make too. I can’t give you the recipe just now because the cat just sat on my lap, but most cookbooks should have a recipe or two. The one I use is from the Tightwad Gazette, of all places, and doesn’t even require a candy thermometer.

Okay, well since I started the thread, I thought I’d post a recipe for orange cookies. This is a good recipe because the cookies are yummy, it’s easy to make lots, and they’re not crunchy cookies, not easy to break.

Orange Cookies

250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g butter or margarine
150g caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra caster sugar for dusting

Cream the butter/marg, orange rind and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour and baking powder. It should form a dough. Mould the dough on a flat surface into a sausage shape about 5cm diameter. Wrap in foil and place in the fridge for 2 hours. (Or in the freezer for 10 mins :wink: ) Slice the sausage thinly to make the cookies, and place on non stick baking sheets. Baking in 180 degrees celcius for 15 mins. The edges should go very very slightly brown. Transfer them to a cooling rack when cooked.

Oh, I forgot to say, when I said pickle I meant the stuff you spread on the cheese on your crackers, like branston pickle. But, pickled veges (etc) is not a bad idea! :slight_smile:

It’s not really cooking, although it will involve a stove, but I think I’m going to make use of all my empty candle jars and make scented candles for gifts this year.

Another idea – last year I bought light almond oil (a gallon), scent (Rain and Sandalwood), plastic bottles and cute little gift bags, and lots of people got scented body oil.

I used the stuff all the time when I lived in Seattle – got it from The Soap Box – but no one around here has ever used it. Putting it on right after a shower (before drying) is much quicker than rubbing in lotion or moisturizer, it works great and you don’t have to use a lot. People have asked for refills, so I might do it again. :slight_smile: One person even used it on their grandbaby.

I love to cook my gifts! One of the most consistently well-received has been buckeyes. They’re pretty easy to make, just a bit time-consuming. Here’s a link with a few different recipes.
The first one listed seems closest to my own. I definitely reccomend using the parrafin in the chocolate. It helps keep them nicely shaped and prevents melting.

Thanks everyone who has replied so far! :slight_smile: Those are great ideas.

My boyfriend had an idea of making soap. Has anyone tried making soap? Any recipes?

genie, do you have the recipe for pepper jam? Sounds great!

I’m just going to post a great recipe I know for mint slice. It tastes very similar to cadbury mint chocolate.

Mint Slice*
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tbs butter
2 tsp glucose syrup
100g marshmallows
200g dark chocolate
1tbs peppermint essence

Heat sugar, milk, butter and glucose syrup in a saucepan, stirring. When it boils, keep stirring for 4 minutes, then stir in the marshmallows until melted. Stir in peppermint essence until mixture is smooth.

Put mixture into a shallow pan. melt dark chocolate and pour over the top. Refridgerate. Chop into about 1 inch square pieces (it’s very rich).

Hmmm… I had hoped this thread would go a bit better. Surely we aren’t the only few who don’t buy all their christmas presents?!

And where’s Zenster with a recipe? Paging Zenster :smiley:

I don’t know if it’s what you were looking for - but there are the “gifts in a jar” gifts:

Folks go mad for this simple half-done kosher pickle, and there’s practically no labor involved:

Make up a brine of salt water - it should be a little less salty than seawater. Make about a quart. Add to it:

1 lb pickling cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise
2 cloves of garlic, crushed slightly
1 bay leaf
1 dozen whole peppercorns

You may do this in canning jars or a rubbermaid container. Put the pickles in the fridge and resist the temptation of devouring them on the first day, as they’ll start to taste good after just a couple of hours. Let them steep for at least 2-3 days, and they’re ready to eat with a pastrami sandwich. Crunch!

Soap isn’t really something you “whip up.” It takes a lot of practice to get good at it, but it’s very rewarding. (You can use the botched batches in the laundry.)

The be-all and end-all of homemade soap is Kathy Miller. Her page is:

Good Luck!

Woah! There is definitely more to soap making than I had thought. Complicated! Think I might have to shelve THAT idea.

Good thinking…it’s really addicting too! I have enough soap to last me about 50 years, lol.

I’d be interested in a recipe for the “pickle” you describe. I don’t think we have any sort of equivilent here in the US. Is it like a relish or chutney?

I don’t have a recipe for it, I just buy it. :smiley: It’s English. But yeah, it’s pretty much like a relish. I put it on cheese and bikkies.

There’s a picture here:

I like the idea of soapmaking, but Kathy Miller wrote that she failed 9 times before she got it right! I thought it would be along the lines of just mixing soap flakes, essence and colouring in a big pot on the stove. :stuck_out_tongue:

What about jam? I don’t know what fruits are in season where you live right now, but I did a really killer batch of mango daiquiri jam once (just used a basic peach jam recipe, but substituted mangos for peaches, lime juice for lemon juice, and added a bit of rum at the end before sealing the jars). I also did blueberry-ginger and blueberry-amaretto jam this summer, and I’ve got a couple of books on the shelf with slightly unusual preserve recipes, and a killer cranberry conserve recipe somewhere.