Once upon a time people did a lot of things for themselves. Harry and David’s was not the end-all and be-all of fresh fruit preserves and corn salsa.People canned, preserved, and pickled all kinds of delicacies and used mason jars to keep them stored. Growing up, my grandmother made pickled watermelon, by using its rind – the kind of thing you do to make the most of your money. That pickled watermelon wasn’t half bad. Neither were thepeach and apple preserves lining the kitchen cabinets. Now before you go purchasing a butter churner, there’s no need to turn the hands of time back quite that far, but during the holiday season it can be fun and useful to break out those old mason jars and fill them with a few handmade and store-bought goodies. It may just save you some change and give you a little taste of the”Do it yourself” nostalgia of yesteryear.
Mason Jar #1
Here’s a quick little gift you and the kids can make. Go to the store and buy a load of candy. We’re talking jellybeans, lemon drops, Swedish Fish,Gummi Bears, Now & Laters, M&M’s. There is no wrong combination. Keep in mind these are to be given away, so make sure you get the type of candythe gift recipient likes. Fill the jar with three equal levels of candy. You can separate the levels by cutting out the center of a coffee filter or cut wax paper in rounds for a buffer. Voila! That was easy.
Maybe you don’t want to do three levels of candy, well you can always fill it up with one candy. Here’s a fun idea. If the gift recipient is a little adventurous, try candy from another country. Here are a few examples:
• Canada: Maple Syrup Candy is a hard candy made from pure maple syrup.
• Turkey: Turkish Delight or Lokum is made with starch and sugar and flavored with rosewater, mastic, or lemon and dusted with icing sugar
• Japan: Botan Rice Candy is a soft and chewy lemon-orange flavored candy with an edible rice paper.
• Middle East: Halvah consists of honey and ground sesame seeds or nuts, sometimes with the addition of rose water and saffron.
• England: Toffee is a confection that is made by boiling molasses or sugar along with butter and in some instances flour is used in the recipe as well. It can be mixed with nuts or raisins. This one is a great one to try making at home. Click this link for a recipe for English Toffee
• South American/Asian/Caribbean: Tamarind Balls are a confectionary made from the tamarind tropical seed pulp. The pulp is extremely tangy in taste. Tamarind pulp is shaped into balls then rolled in granulated sugar and white pepper (sometimes cayenne and black pepper are used as well). Click here to try this simple tamarind ball recipe.
Some of these candies can be found at international stores.
And sometimes you can find a promo code or two for international treats.