How to Make Gifts in a Jar How to Make Gifts in a Jar

Gifts in a jar are great for the frugal shopper. They are easy and quick, and have a long shelf life so you can make them far ahead of the holidays. And since they’re consumable, they make the perfect gift for anyone on your list.

What you’ll need
All you really need is: the jar, the ingredients, and a nicely typed gift tag with instructions. If you want to use fabric for the lid, you’ll need some cloth and a pair of pinking shears, as well as some pretty ribbon. Some people like to tie measuring spoons or other cooking accessories onto the jar.

Recipes
The attractive look of gifts in a jar comes from the variation in color and texture of the layered ingredients. Recipes that have white flour, sugar, and not much else will not be as interesting as those that contain several colors and shapes of macaroni, for example, or different kinds of chocolate chips and nuts. So as you select your recipes, think about not only how the food will taste, but also how festive it will look. Here are a few recipes to get you started, but feel free to alter the ingredients, add extras, or change the recipes.


Somebody Loves You Bean Soup
Ingredients:
Assorted dried peas, beans and lentils, totaling 14 pounds – the more variety, the better. Choose from any of these:
pink or black beans
baby lima beans
lentils or red lentils
black-eyed peas
red kidney beans
pinto beans
split peas
great northern beans
small red beans
white beans


12 Italian-flavor or beef bouillon cubes
12 bay leaves 1/2 yard print cotton fabric 3-6 yards craft ribbon 3 pieces heavy paper (for gift tags)

Instructions:
Layer beans ¼ cup at a time into clean, dry jars. Choose the most colorful bean for the bottom layers of the jar. Each jar should contain eight layers.

Finish the jar with 1 bay leaf and one bouillon cube on top of the beans.
Seal jars using lids and rings.
Cut twelve 7-inch circles from cotton fabric. Top each jar with fabric circle and tie with ribbon.
Makes 12 gift jars.

Print the following instructions on each Gift Tag:
Cooking Instructions:
Soak beans according to one of these methods.

Quick soak: Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. Add 6-8 cups of hot water. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.

Overnight soak: Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. Add 6-8 cups cold water. Let stand overnight. Drain and rinse beans.

To cook: Place beans in a large pot. Add:
6 cups water
1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes in juice
the bay leaf and bouillon cube (reserved from jar)
One piece fatback or bacon, optional
Simmer gently until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


M&M cookies

Ingredients:
For each jar:
1 cup sugar
1 cup M&M chocolate candies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For 12 jars:
15 cups sugar
15 cups M&M chocolate candies
24 cups all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons baking soda
6 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 yard print cotton fabric
3-6 yards craft ribbon
3 sheets heavy paper (for gift tags)

Recipe:
Mix together flour, soda and baking powder. Layer mixture with sugar and M&M candies into quart-size canning jars. Pack firmly.
Cut twelve 7-inch circles from cotton fabric. Top each jar with fabric circle and tie with ribbon.
Makes 12 gift jars.

Print for each gift tag:
In a large mixing bowl, stir together cookie mix, 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine 1 beaten egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix completely.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until edges are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Russian Tea

Ingredients:
1/2 cup instant tea powder
2 cups orange-flavored drink mix
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 yard print cotton fabric
3-6 yards craft ribbon
3 sheets heavy paper (for gift tags)

Recipe:
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Place in jars. This gift isn’t
“layered” like the others – but it’s still a favorite among recipients.

Print for each gift tag:
Place 2 to 3 rounded teaspoons of mix in a cup or mug. Add boiling water and serve.


Hot cocoa mix for 2-quart jars

Ingredients:

6 cups instant nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered baking cocoa
1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
½ yard decorative fabric
3 sheets heavy paper (for gift tags)

Directions:
COMBINE dry milk, sugar, cocoa and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour into 2-quart jar or tall container. Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.

Print for each gift tag:
Measure 1/2 cup cocoa mix into cup or mug. Stir in 1 cup of very hot water or milk. Jar makes 12 servings.

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