One of the easiest and most meaningful gifts to give any holiday season is a gift in a jar. You can give these gifts to neighbors, friends, family members, older people, teachers, and more. Everyone always appreciates the present and the effort you put into gifts in jars.
Making gifts in a jar is very simple. You can adapt almost any quick bread recipe into a gift in a jar recipe. People also enjoy getting seasonings, spice mixes, drink mixes, jams and jellies, fruit butter, flavored oils and vinegar, and extracts to use. Another suggestion is to make baking mixes life muffin, brownie, bread, or cookie mixes to give in a jar.
One of the most appreciated gifts that I have given is a quick bread in a jar. Older people especially enjoy this gift. When giving a bread in a jar gift, you can include a jar of jam or jelly to have with the quick bread. A suggestion for giving bread in a jar as gifts is to make it as close to the time of giving as possible. These gifts are best when fresh.
Banana Bread in a Jar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup organic, pure cane sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut or olive oil (both work equally well)
- 1 1/2 cups flour (I use a mixture of 100% whole wheat and unbleached white flour, but using either on their own works great too)
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup (2 medium) bananas, mashed
Preheat the oven to 325⁰ F.
Combine eggs and sugar together. Add oil and mix well. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. The mixture will be thick. Add the mashed bananas and mix well.
Grease 6 half-pint jars with butter or a fat of your choice. Fill the jars halfway with the banana bread batter. Place the jars on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes, testing for doneness with a clean toothpick.
Put canning lids and rings on the jars right away to create a seal. You will hear a ping as they seal. These will keep for a week in the ‘fridge for up to three months in the freezer.
You can make almost any kind of quick bread in a jar for a gift. Muffins also work great as a gift in a jar recipe. They will all need to bake at 325⁰ F, but the baking times will be longer for some bread. You should always test for doneness with a toothpick. Some other suggestions for quick bread to make in a jar are:
- Zucchini Bread
- Poppy Seed Bread
- Pumpkin Bread
- Blueberry Bread
- Lemon Blueberry Bread
- Apple Spice Muffins
Other Gifts in Jars Ideas
Some gifts in a jar have to be planned out in advance. If you are making extracts or flavored vinegar and oils, you will need to start now. These items need time for the flavors to develop and the item to be usable. To make extracts is very easy. Vanilla extract is made with 2 cups of vodka or another clear spirit and 4 – 5 vanilla beans. you add the two items together in a pint jar, set in a dark area, and leave alone for six weeks. Mint extract is made the same way using 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves in place of the vanilla beans.
Another gift in a jar that gift recipients really enjoy is jams, jellies, and fruit butter. Apple butter always goes over well, especially when you use homegrown apples. Strawberry jam is another favorite gift in a jar that people greatly enjoy. If you have a special jam, jelly, or fruit butter that you are known for, by all means, give that as a gift in a jar. When giving these types of gifts, always observe safe canning methods in order to not get anyone sick.
Another popular gift in a jar is seasonings. Taco seasoning is a popular gift in a jar and is often looked forward to. The recipe below is very simple, very good, and spicy. You can always add a little bit of cayenne pepper to make it hotter.
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup onion powder
- 1/8 cup cumin powder
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
Mix together and store in a jar. Makes approximately 1 cup.
To use, add 1 – 2 tablespoons per pound of cooked, ground beef. Add 1/2 cup of water or tomato sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes or to desired consistency.
Other good ideas for seasonings to use for gifts in a jar would be steak seasoning, ranch seasoning, pumpkin pie spice blend, apple pie spice blend, and Italian seasoning blend. If you have a special seasoning you like to make that could be used as a gift in a jar, I would suggest making it for your family and friends. Those kinds of gifts in jars usually go over very well.
A word of caution: Be aware of any food allergies or intolerances. You should provide a recipe and/or list of ingredients for any gift in a jar that you make.
A few suggestions I have for giving gifts in jars is to always label the item clearly, give suggestions for using the item, and include the gift in the jar recipe. you can use a gift bag or box to give the item. You can use fabric, burlap, and/or ribbon to make the jars pretty. My favorite way to give gifts in jars is to use a box, shredded colored paper, and wrap the present with paper and/or tie a pretty ribbon around the box.
Whatever you choose to give as gifts in a jar will be greatly appreciated by the person receiving the gift. Most people love having homemade gifts and gifts in a jar suit that perfectly. Won’t you try making gifts in jars?
Guest post by Erica Nygaard. I live in north central Iowa on a rural acreage with my partner, Rob, raising children, chickens, pets, and a garden. We are always trying new ideas and things in order to make the homestead better and make the garden successful. I am the main writer and creator at Living Life in Rural Iowa where I talk about prepping, homesteading, sustainable living, and frugal living. When I am not doing that and working a full-time job, I like to read, organize, play in the water, cook, and learn new things. Come visit us at Living life in Rural Iowa.