For Mother's Day, Make Her Something to Eat
Make Your Own Salsa, Too
Use Food as a Gift
Condiments make great Mother’s Day gifts and if you make samples of several kinds, you can give enough of each to make them love it and want more. When that happens, it’s a recipe for a new tradition; you never have to wonder what to make for Mother’s Day gifts, or anytime again. Make whatever else she likes during the rest of the year, but save the sample pack favorites for the big three: Mother‘s Day, Christmas and her Birthday.
Here are some suggestions of creative handmade gifts that are easy to make and easier to specialize in make unique; be creative.
Flavored sea salts or spiced salts make an exotic and tasty food gift as a sample collection. Two delicious and popular, easy recipes are fennel seed sea salt and basil salts, and most people have a canister or box of sea salt since it’s so cheap in small bulk. First you’ll want to have a pretty jar or dish for your finished product. Something with a lid is best, and a small set of three different flavors of salt is even better, so get at least three jars.
To make fresh Basil Salt use fresh basil or any kind of spicy fresh herb, fennel seed, lemon zest or garlic (or pure 100% garlic powder). Give fresh sorrel a try for a tart ‘n salty goodness. You‘ll want half the amount of salt you’re using after processing. So, for ½ cup of (preprocessed) sea salt use ¼ cup flavoring (after processed), except for fennel seed, which needs only 1/8 cup.
Try Rosemary Salt or Lemmon Salt
To process most leafy herbs, stack the leaves on top of each other. Then, starting at the stem end of the stack, roll the leaves into a log shape and snip off very thin sections at the tips so you are left with tiny ribbons of basil (or other herb, or citrus zest).
Now take these little ribbons and gather them so they’re going in one direction in a tiny bunch, and snip their tiny tips into pieces all the way to the ends. Basil has a naughty habit; basil turns black when it’s cut, so for this reason many chefs like to tear it. But, for the purpose of making basil sea salt it makes sense for proper flavoring and perfuming and distribution to make the pieces of leaf minute.
Now, put the minced leaf into a mortar and pestle large enough to hold a half a cup of sea salt and grind it together until there’s a color and texture change throughout the resulting seasoning. The salt almost dries the basil leaf instantly, but after it’s finished, leave it to sit out over night (stirring occasionally), just to make sure.
How Strong are Those Flavored Salts?
This part is where you regulate the condiment’s strength of flavors by tasting and adding more salt if it’s too strong on the basil, etc. Grind it with the pestle until it’s all the same color and mixed thoroughly. If other spices are to be added to this mix, this is the time to add them, remove the contents of the mortar into a larger bowl and wipe it clean. Grind the flavors one at a time before combining them and taste it as you go.
This is important: You must write it down as you go and when something great comes out, you can make more of it later and have it come out tasting the same because you can make it the same way.
Some chefs like to put a hunk of a cracker or bread into the vessel and then fill it the rest of the way with the salt mixture. However, if it’s surely dried completely before it‘s jarred, only the smallest of pieces of cracker or bread can be used, enabling more salt to fit into the vessel.
Find Dietary Freedom in Homemade Condiments
Other good ideas for flavored salts; use your own discretion when it comes to measuring these, but start with half a cup of sea salt and a quarter cup of processed:
- Lemmon balm
- Fennel seed
- Fresh tomato with water squeezed out, or fresh tomato paste
- All citrus (use only the colored zest, none of the white pith, for all citrus flavors)
- Jalapeno or Habanera pepper, minced and the liquid squeezed out (experiment carefully, adding in small amounts that will get hotter as time goes on. Not so with the jalapeno; how it tastes when it‘s done is how it‘ll taste later.
Aside from making flavored salts, there are so many pepper sauces, salsas, bbq rub recipes, dry spice rub recipes, pasta sauces, and other hearty combinations that all one has to do is type the term, “good recipes,” in their search bar and choose from the list of millions that populates the screen. Tweak each recipe you try (to make it yours) and again - write it down; add more, muddle and stir and taste again before writing it down, as many times as necessary until it tastes really good to you.
It’s important to note that sometimes it’s easy to go too far with the additions and we can ruin something beyond repair just before time to eat. It happens. Don’t feel too bad, even Bobby Flay started somewhere.
Of course, anything that isn’t dried, like steak sauces, cream pasta sauces and salsas will need to be canned, or at least hot-water bathed in sealing jars or bottles to preserve them. That way, these unique specialty gifts can be made when the food is at it’s prime ripeness with quality flavors to be given year around. Be sure to find out if something you’re making needs to be pressure-cooked for preservation, like meats.
People get known for their homemade wines, sauces, cheesecakes and all kinds of recipes, and these recipes are often handed down from generation to generation like an heirloom. One thing the family won’t complain about is testing out all the tries you come up with before finding favorites.
Hop to any of the other 10 Mother’s Day gift how-to’s easily by clicking below to get to the next one in line, or returning to the page with the index on it.
- The old Coupon idea taken further
- Scented and colored mineral salts in beautiful glass vessels
- Original spice mixes and condiments
- Homemade Artisan Pasta
- Craft supplies (is *enough craft supplies* even a real thing?)
- Natural cosmetics, cleansers and moisturizers
- Bedazzled candles and tea lights
- Handmade blanket
- Photograph album that’s a paper album, not digital
- Cedar birdhouse
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