Now's the time to start preparing your Christmas jams and chutneys - which can make perfect gifts for the person who has everything! Something homemade will be much appreciated and it will show you've put a lot of effort into the present.
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You can create your own your homemade Christmas hamper for a special friend or family member, including other items you've made such as cakes, biscuits, sweets and even home-brewed wine. Using home-grown fruit and vegetables is a great idea for creating jams and chutneys, giving them an extra-special taste.
You'll find they taste far fresher and have more flavour if you've picked them fresh from your garden, instead of buying them from the supermarket.
Even members of the royal family have been known to give homemade goodies as Christmas gifts. In particular, it was widely reported how the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, gave the Queen a special Christmas present in 2015.
Spending her first Christmas at Sandringham, Kate wanted something extra-special for Her Majesty, who really is the person who has everything! So, she prepared some home-made chutney from her own grandmother's special recipe, she revealed later in a television documentary.
Kate said she was thinking about the type of gift she would give her own grandparents and decided chutney would go down well - although she did worry it could all go horribly wrong if she didn't prepare it properly! However, she said the chutney was on the Christmas dinner table the following day, so the Queen seemed to genuinely like it.
The recipe was thought to be for Granny's Marrow Chutney. The BBC Good Food website published a similar recipe for marrow chutney, described as "fruity" and with a total preparation and cooking time of 65 minutes.
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson describes chutney as the "cornerstone" of her Christmas pantry. She says cold cuts of meat and Christmas day leftovers are "impossible to contemplate" if they're not served with chutney.
She finds it so easy to prepare that she can create several presents by spending less than one hour in the kitchen. Nigella has her own recipe for Christmas chutney, which she stores in decorated jars.
If you're giving chutney or jams as Christmas gifts, it's always best to put it in festive jars. This needn't be a big task either - Nigella suggests using simple snowflake ribbon, which can be bought from craft or haberdashery shops. Then, wrap it around the jars in bows.
There are also plenty of recipes for Christmas jam - another homemade favourite that's ideal to give as a gift. It is usually made with cranberries and strawberries so that the sweet flavour of the strawberries contrasts with the sharp taste of the cranberries.
Once you've made the jam, you can always go one step further and turn some of it into jam tarts, or use it for jam roly-poly as an alternative Christmas dessert.
There are no limits to the fun you can have trying out new recipes for both chutney and jam at this time of year, to make Christmas gifts to remember.
There's nothing like growing your own fruit to produce the best-tasting jam! Make sure you harvest your crop before the birds eat it by using Henry Cowls' fruit cages and bird netting to protect your berries. Please contact us for further details of our products.
The Henry Cowls team would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!