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Home-canned food gifts

Make sure the food is processed correctly so you’re not also gifting a food-borne illness

Canning has become popular again and jars of your homemade food can make wonderful gifts. It’s a good idea to know who you’re giving it too because some people are skeptical of home-canned products and are afraid they’ll get sick. It might be the best tasting stuff ever, but to a leery recipient it looks like a scary science experiment.

Elizabeth Andress is the director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. She says this is not the time to try new recipes. Stick to the tried-and-true products that you’ve had good luck with and are safe to produce.

"I know as some examples, people often think of maybe a wintery-kind of food like a pumpkin butter, a sweet potato butter, and we just don’t have any safe home canning process times to give people for those," says Andress. "But look at maybe jams and jellies, chutneys are nice. And along with that of course we do have some fruit butters like apple butter, pear butter, peach butter, and those kinds of things. But not in the vegetable category."

Besides the name of the food, Andress recommends putting a meaningful label on the jar so the recipient knows exactly what’s in it, and where you got the recipe.

"I personally create little tags for my own gifts so I can give them actual ingredients if it is a mixture of foods," she says. "I list all the ingredients in there because I also happen to have people that have allergy concerns. I would definitely put a date on there as to when you made it."

You could also include a tag that has tips for how to use the product in different ways. A jam or jelly is pretty obvious, but maybe you know that this recipe also makes a good meat glaze, or perhaps a teaspoon of your marmalade makes a nice flavoring for hot tea.

Find more tips for gifting your home-canned recipes

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