Summer in a Jar: Christmas Gifts You Can Prepare Now

Blueberry buckle. Blueberry strudel. Blueberry cobbler. Blueberry muffins. Blueberry pancakes. Blueberry and walnut salad. Do I sound like any relation to Bubba’s shrimpin’ family, of Forrest Gump fame? I wouldn’t qualify, because blueberry preserves (or any berry preserves) is the still a staple I haven’t yet attempted.

But it’s time to turn over a new leaf. My mom’s got pickles perfected, and has a storied past with strawberry preserves, so I will take it up with her. Blueberries and strawberries are a great canning starting point, and for once, I’m actually thinking ahead. As in Christmas.

Christmas-cardsChristmas? Not Christmas cards, just Christmas gifts. Summertime is a great time to get a jumpstart on budget-friendly, original and useful gift giving ideas. That’s one theory, anyway. I’ve done homemade chocolate fudge sauce to death in years past. (This is a GREAT candidate if you haven’t tried it before, and a winning one for last minute procrastinators.)

You can preserve the best of summer’s fruits and berries now to give as gifts later this year, and they will keep for up to a year. By learning how to “can” the berries I can’t seem to stop eating in the form of baked goods, the benefits are twofold:

  1. I will stop fooling myself about getting antioxidants by eating the muffin/cobbler/pancake-cloaked berry goodies, AND
  2. I can create mouth-watering recipes that my kids’ teachers, scout leaders, babysitters, the mail carrier, my stylist (kidding! just want to see if you are paying attention)–all the important service providers I am thankful for will actually be able to use and enjoy.

So I’ve done some preparation online to get an idea of who is an authority on the subject. A great starting point for beginners like me is with the makers of famous Ball jars.

In their easy to follow Getting Started Guide, it’s clear I want to start with the process called Waterbath Canning, which is appropriate for preserving the fruits of summer we are talking about here, and best for beginners. Waterbath canning also doesn’t require too big an investment in equipment. Probably the three most basic things I will need are:

  1. Jars
  2. Stock pot with rack
  3. Pectin

Plus, the recipes seem short and simple, such as:

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Jam

Blueberry Syrup

To put a finishing touch on your gifts, tie a hand-printed tag onto your Summer in a Jar naming the item and sharing the recipe.

If you really want to get ahead, start perusing the growing collection of Christmas cards and other holiday invitations available on LookLoveSend.com. We are always adding to our professional designs and print exclusively on high quality papers. Share with us your get-ahead holiday ideas! Join our email list and receive 20% off your first order.

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