Home-canning as Christmas gifts

We’ve been doing the homemade thing for Xmas gifts the last few years. In our circles, that translates to food for most gifts.

We do various candy, quickbreads, etc. - but we want to do something new this year and are leaning towards doing more “real food” type items. We’ve done salsa in the past, but our tomatoes and peppers didn’t do well this year and we didn’t get in gear to buy a crate from the farmers’ market before they closed.

The discussion is currently about chili. We have a really yummy, unusual chili recipe that is extremely popular (as in, first crockpot empty if you take it to a potluck), and a good recipe for a more standard red chili. This would only be for extended family and close friends. We were going for canning rather than freezing because it makes transport and storage so much easier.

However, my SO thinks this is a bad idea. He says he wouldn’t eat home-canned gifts, even from people he knows, for fear they did it wrong. This hadn’t occurred to me - I’ll know we did it right, so I wouldn’t be concerned, but I don’t want to give something that people would be uncomfortable with.

So what say you - what would you think about receiving gifts of home-canned food?

I would like jelly and jam; don’t know about chili. My husband is such a picky eater I don’t think it would ever get eaten, so I’d prefer something with more shelf life.

Jelly is great.
Honey from your bees great.
Pickles could be ok if you know the person really likes the ones you make.
Canned corn no thank you.
Canned chili no thank you.
Canned bean melody no thanks
Canned venison really no thanks.
20 pounds of packaged meat from your cow or pig good.
Home smoked cured ham or jerky great.

There is a pickle I love and would like as a gift, but I only have known one person in the last 30 years that made it besides me.

In your specific case, is the chili recipe designed for canning? That’s one that, as a recipient, I would want to be very assured that you were faithfully following a canned chili recipe, not a great chili recipe that you happened to can. It’s not worth the botulism risk to me otherwise.

If you know what you’re doing, and great! Bring it on!

I am also planning on giving food gifts, but I’m only giving away canned stuff that people are used to seeing and likely won’t have safety concerns about (jams, jellies, apple butter, brandied peaches, etc.). The most adventurous item I’ll give is canned tomato sauce, but that’s a recipe from a book that the recipients also read (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).

If we are talking chili, I would ask the giver about how it was canned (hot water bath or pressure) and if it wasn’t pressure I would say thank you and in the garbage it would go.

Husband would probably want to eat it regardless - he loves chili!

I have found jellies make great gifts, especially if you grew it yourself. I have had to assure vegetarians that it was made with pectin not gelatin. (I didn’t even know you could can a jelly made out of gelatin!)

mmmm . . . pepper jelly . . .

Definitely pressure canned, you can’t water-bath chili!

We will probably do apple butter, that was very popular last year.

Unfortunately, this summer was nuts for us, so the garden didn’t do well and the farm market closed before we knew it, so we don’t have anything homegrown to can. :frowning:

Pickles is a thought, though.

I don’t think I’d have any problem eating a home-canned gift. I figure most people who are into canning know what they are doing.

My dad was a home canner. He was well known for his pickles and his jams and jellies, and people really appreciated when he would give them as gifts. He definitely knew what he was doing (grew up on a farm). And most of what he canned came out of his own garden.

I’ve given hundreds of jars of pepper jelly as gifts. If they were leery of it, nobody ever said anything.

ETA - okay, I didn’t read your OP. Not sure I’d eat your canned chili, no. Especially if I knew this was your first time pressure canning.

I am a lifelong bachelor. I like to eat. I don’t particularly like to cook. If you give me something edible, odds are good I will at least attempt to eat it. You’ll get thanked politely regardless of whether I like the food or think it would gag a maggot.

neighbor twice removed likes to give out canned items. only problem is that she uses washed out mayonnaise jars and lids. Not proper canning jars/lids.:eek:

maybe she thought that she could grow some botox? :rolleyes:

I don’t worry too much about getting sick but the only time I brought home a canned present my roommate threw it out because they said it look improperly canned. Some people are weird about that kind of thing me if some one would eat it as food I’ll at least try it.

I’d probably eat jelly or pickles, but not “food” like chili.

Food given as a gift should be luxury foods, not staples. Jellies or jams are fine, candies are fine, cookies are fine, fancy or homemade cheeses or sausages are fine. But I don’t think that I’d consider something like chili, that would be eaten as a main course, to be an appropriate gift.

Oooh, I only wish I was set up to make homemade cheese!

Hmmm, this is sounding iffy. Drat.

But I’m TIRED of sweet stuff. Cookies, candy, muffins, jelly, blah blah blah. SO didn’t even want to do the apple butter this year, but I pushed for that. Apple butter yum!

I wanted to do a bunch of chile stuff - dried chile strings, chile vinegar, roasted chiles, that sort of thing. We planted 16 pepper plants and didn’t even get enough for us. :frowning:

I make hot pepper jelly using peppers from my garden and other organic ingredients collected from U-pick-em farms around here. So people often give me other jellies to try for comparison.

I’d sooner gnaw my own foot off than eat another friggin jar of pepper jam, I’ve made so much of it.

But generally, they go over very well as gifts. I’ve been known to lug three cases into work and give each coworker his or her very own pepper jam. People who don’t like hot & spicy foods can give it away or share it with guests who do like hot & spicy. (I am very careful to include warnings on the labels to let people know this ain’t your gramma’s sweet jam–it’ll melt your ear wax right outta your head!)

This exactly. Pickles, jams, I’d go for it unless it looked obviously weird.

To each his own, of course, but I’d be happy with chili, unless it was maybe a half-pint jar, so too small to do much good as a main course. I like the idea of trying something that someone else made, and the effort and time that goes into it is enough to make me appreciate it, no matter what it is.

redtail23, how are you at baking? Could you put together something like a combination of the chili and crackers to eat with it? Or maybe something like the chili and a jar of the dry ingredients for corn bread or some other nice type of accompaniment? Nice decorative topper and the instructions tied on and voila! I’d love it.

It’s like someone cooking for me. Always good.

I will generally make ginger snaps, cumin-cured olives, and specialty mustards for Christmas gifts. Well, those and bourboned cherries. The latter go over the best. :smiley:

brandied spiced peaches make a fantastic gift, as does apple or pumpkin butter, and oddly enough the soup or cake or cookie ingredients in jars layered decoratively make great presents. I like to do 7 bean soup, and add dehydrated celery, onion and herbs separating the layers of beans. Think of it as edible sand jar art :smiley:

Why oh why are there no recipes to go with this thread? I’ve got all of my Christmas canning done, but my jellies sound pretty mundane next to some of these.