You’ve heard time and time again that, when it comes to gift giving, it’s the thought that counts. And what’s more thoughtful than a homemade present? With a bit of planning, you can include some homegrown holiday gifts under your tree this year. Luckily, Edible Orlando is here to help!
The fun begins in your garden. Gardeners know that their bounty is often plentiful — too plentiful to enjoy on their own, in fact. Cold-weather crops, like winter squashes and pumpkins, can be used to create a beautiful gift basket. Or you can tie your leafy greens, such as kale and collards, with a ribbon and present it as an edible bouquet. But the possibilities don’t end there!
Be Inspired to Create Homegrown Holiday Gifts
Below, we offer five ideas to inspire you during this season of giving.
- Herb-infused oils and vinegars: Grab some plain organic olive oil from a local store; pick up a few decorative bottles; and collect your favorite herbs from your garden. To start, sterilize the bottles by dropping them into boiling water for a few minutes. Secondly, drop a few sprigs of your cleaned herbs into each bottle. Rosemary, oregano, and thyme work well together and can be used directly from the garden. Water-rich herbs, like basil, may need a day or two to dry out first. Thirdly, add the oil to a saucepan and warm it on low. Pour it into the bottles and cap tightly. To finish, add a sprig of rosemary and gift tag with a beautiful ribbon.
- Holiday wreaths: Take your vine trimmings and weave them into a beautiful wreath. Passionflower works beautifully here. You can even use long sprigs of a healthy rosemary as your base. Add in a few dried flowers or decorative tidbits for a festive flourish.
- Bouquets: The stems, branches, flowers, and seed pods from your garden make the perfect gift for your holiday host. Gather the wildflowers around your lawn into a stunning flower arrangement. Additionally, if you have extra brassicas, like broccoli, you can let them flower and add them to your bouquet. Parsley, kale, and beet greens all add a beautiful pop of green to your homegrown bundle too. To keep things simple, repurpose a mason jar as a vase. Add some red ribbon or rustic twine and a gift tag for a personal touch.
Plan Ahead for These Homegrown Gifts
- Potted containers: Plant some extra seeds in a beautiful pot and grow them as container plants to give to friends or family. Herbs work especially well, as you can often fit two or three types in a single large pot. This gift is sure to keep giving long after the holidays end!
- Gifts from gourds: This one requires some advanced planning, as gourds need to be planted in late summer or early fall. Fortunately, it is said that they thrive on neglect — so after you plant them, the hard work is done! Find a corner of your garden where they can run wild. Once they start growing, you have an endless source of craft ideas. After you harvest and clean them, add a little paint or carve them to create birdhouses, lampshades, and more.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Edible Orlando.