Let’s Make Christmas Pickles, Chutneys, Jams & More!

I love the idea of giving homemade gifts for Christmas.

I’ve come across the mentality that homemade is second best; I know people who judge on monetary value and assume that shop-bought, established brands are always better than amateur efforts. Homemade to these folks is about thrift or stinginess or rose-tinted nostalgia, if they’re being generous.

But they’re wrong.

Let’s put pay to the first misapprehension straight away. Homemade gifts are not always about saving money. A bottle of decent quality shop-bought jam or chutney might set you back £2-3. But even the smaller producers, with pretty marketing images of small farms and country kitchens make far larger quantities than me. Buying ingredients and jars in bulk brings their costs down significantly. For us hobby preservers, the costs of jars and ingredients adds up pretty fast.

My homemade chocolate chip cookies of dreams cost far more than supermarket ones, even their posh ranges. Mine are stuffed full of high quality ingredients and a shockingly decadent amount of chocolate. They smell amazing coming out of the oven, and have the perfect texture too. The dough can be frozen, and baked straight from the freezer, so two ways to give them as a gift.

Of course, some people are time-rich and cash poor, but that doesn’t mean you should undervalue the gift they’ve given you by spending their time making something tasty especially for you.

My homemade spicy tomato ketchups (which I’ve made from ripe red tomatoes and unripe green ones) not only represent hours of effort in the kitchen but are usually made with tomatoes we’ve grown ourselves, nurturing them from seed to harvest.

If it’s not always about cost and it’s a huge investment of time, you might be asking why anyone bothers with homemade at all? The answer is that the results can be so very very good! And recipes can be tweaked and adapted (or made up completely, like my chutney above) to suit personal tastes, availability of seasonal fruits and vegetables and even allergies to specific commonly-used ingredients. (I’ve made an extra-hot chilli pickle because I know some of my friends are real chilli-heads!)

And, without blowing my own trumpet, I know that my homemade green tomato and raisin chutney is good, really good!

Of course, my examples above are all food but I have also been given homemade wines, ciders and liqueurs not to mention homemade scarves and other items of clothing. A friend is making me an apron with her own fair hands, at this very moment!

Feeling as strongly as I do about homemade gifts I was very happy to be invited to Vanessa Kimbell’s Let’s Make Christmas blogger event at which we’ll swap homemade goodies over afternoon tea and chat.

I’m taking along three items I’ve made, one that I made very recently and two others which I made last year and the year before, so they’ve had time to mature properly. *

I thought I’d take this opportunity to go back through Kavey Eats and highlight some recipes for fabulous homemade goodies, that would make great gifts this Christmas:

Jams & Jellies

Apple & Lemon Verbena Jelly

Apricot Jam + Lychee & Rosewater Jam

Mango & Lime Jam

Plum Jelly

Pickles, Chutneys & Ketchups

Green Tomato & Raisin Chutney

Tamarind Ketchup

Hot, Sweet, Sour, Tangy Lemon Pickle *

Hot Chilli & Ginger Pickle *

Pear & Ginger Chutney *

Pickled Gherkins

Spicy Tomato Ketchup

Baked Goodies

Banana Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookies of Dreams

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake


Candied Citrus Peel

Strawberry Vodka Liqueur

I’d love to know about the favourite homemade food and drinks gifts you’ve been given by others and which of your own always go down the best with your friends and family.

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
8 Comments to "Let’s Make Christmas Pickles, Chutneys, Jams & More!"

  1. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    You have some really great pickle recipes, which I am definitely going to make. There is nothing better than having an array of pickles and chutneys to hand and I could do with a few more!
    The one I have made recently is an aubergine, apricot and tomato chutney.
    There is no comparison between a home-made v shop bought chutney….worlds apart 🙂

  2. Miss Whiplash

    I am really really loving the chilli pickle.

    I'll definitely be making some as soon as I have some time – it's absolutely my favourite kind of thing – YUM 🙂

  3. Kate@whatkatebaked

    I couldn't agree more about homemade gifts. Yes, they take time to make, yes, the ingredients can be costly but my goodness they are appreciated. It was such a great idea of Vanessa's to get all us Food Bloggers together to showcase our gifts. And now I'm off to explore all your other great gift ideas!

  4. Karen S Booth

    I LOVE making home-made food gifts and am always delighted when I see the looks of delight on my friend's and family's face when they receive a hamper from me.

  5. Kavey

    Am very to see a good number of people who agree about homemade gifts! (I guess anyone who doesn't probably won't leave a comment here, though!)

    Laura, thanks, do let me know how you get on if you try any of the above. And you'll find lots more Indian pickles and chutney on my mum's site http://www.mamtaskitchen.com if you need.

    Jenny, so glad you are enjoying it. Very easy to make!

    Kate, it was a fun event!

    Karen, that's good, it's always nice when such gifts are genuinely appreciated.

  6. Vanessa Kimbell

    Excellently written and spot on with your sentiments!
    I only just spotted this .. so I'll add in your recipes tomorrow if that is ok? I'm almost drunk with exhaustion


  7. Aveen

    Lovely post, thanks – have bookmarked it for future pickling/jamming. I love handmade gifts, both giving and receiving. This year I'll be giving chutney, jam and sweeties, but only to people I know will really appreciate them 🙂


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