With a mere seven weeks until Christmas, it’s time to start thinking about gifts.
If your budget is tight this year, then at least time is on your side.
Plenty of cheap, tasty and impressive food gifts need a few weeks of prep time. They’ll be ready for the lucky recipient to chow down on come December.
For starters, consider making infused alcohols, vinegars, salts and other gift-worthy items from our guide to infusions.
Canned Apple Pie Filling
Think of it this way: With a jar or two of this homemade apple pie filling, your recipients are much closer to a homemade pie, without the hassle of mailing it.
Homemade Bottled Cocktails
Liquor.com perfected a trio of cocktails that can be prepared and bottled up well in advance. They might work well for a holiday party, as well as gifts.
Sprinkle this chocolately truffle dust on top of brownies, cakes and other desserts, says Pamela Braun of MyMansBelly.com.
Switch up the freeze-dried fruits for variety.
Blackberry and Apple Jelly
Alys Fowler, author of “The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It, Too,” suggests using slightly unripe blackberries if possible.
“Very ripe blackberries can be low in pectin and are difficult to wash,” she says. “I think the smaller wild berries have a better flavor than the large ones.”
To make the jam, wash four pounds of berries and place them in a jam pan with a quarter-pint of water. Simmer until tender.
Core, peel and dice a pound and a half of cooking or wild crab apples and simmer in a separate pan with another quarter-pint of water until tender.
Stir the fruit together and strain the mixture through a sieve or jelly bag to remove the seeds and pulb.
Return the strained fruit to the pan with five pounds of sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
Pour into clean, dry, warm jars and seal.
Think of this peach vodka like your signature drink, says Cheryl Najafi of CherylStyle.com.
Layer dry ingredients for cookies in a Mason jar. Tie on instructions to make them.
Charred Chili Hot Sauce
Making your own bottle of hot sauce takes little more than charred peppers and a bit of vinegar.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.