Gifts from the Kitchen
By Kate Yerxa, Extension Professor and EFNEP Coordinator
Are you looking for fun gifts to share this holiday season? Homemade food gifts are inexpensive and fun ways to get the whole family involved with healthy and delicious gift giving. UMaine Cooperative Extension staff have created recipes and gift tags for you to create your own Gifts From the Kitchen. A couple of my favorites from these recipes are the Minestrone Bean Soup Mix and the Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookie Mix.
When decorating your homemade food gifts, be creative! Use what you have on hand – small remnants of fabric, ribbons, buttons or beads. For seasonal decoration, use what nature has available by using greens, pinecones, or hearty fresh herbs like rosemary. Other ideas for decorating your gifts would be to include a utensil that would be used to prepare the recipe such as a mixing spoon, spatula, potholder, or small whisk. Don’t forget to label your gift and include a gift tag with the recipe directions and use by dates.
Food safety is important when giving and receiving homemade food gifts. Our team has put together food safety best practices for you to use:
- Follow good hand hygiene and food safety practices when handling food.
- Start with a clean and sanitized work space and equipment in your kitchen.
- Don’t eat raw cookie dough. Flour is a raw product and needs to be cooked prior to eating.
- Make sure to use food-grade containers. Food grade containers are ones that are suitable for contact with consumable food or drink.
- When giving a perishable food gift, give friends and family advance notice that you will be dropping a gift off.
- If you receive food that should be refrigerated and it is NOT cold, our recommendation is to not eat that food for safety’s sake.
Happy holiday gift giving!