Friday, November 26, 2010

Herbal Preserves

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and everyone's being good consumers and strengthening the economy with their holiday shopping (and providing free entertainment by fighting over socks), and I'm still in a feasted-stupor. Alas, I won't be venturing out on Black Friday.

But, it's good to be relaxing at home, because lounging around lazily -- still in my pajamas at 6:00 PM -- actually has its productivity: I get to contemplate Christmas gifts!

I like to give people Christmas gifts that are actually useful and functional, and what's better than to give something to spread on toast in the morning? Unfortunately, I missed Huckleberry season and didn't have a chance to hike in the Mt. Hood National Forest to pick those yummy berries, so homemade Huckleberry preserves are out of the question this year. However, herbal preserves and the similarly-related are, basically, the next best thing (at least, in my humble opinion). For an herb jelly, you can use thyme, lemon thyme, lavender, rosemary, mint, or lemon balm with this basic recipe:

Herb Jelly:

2 1/2 lbs. (5 cups) tart apples
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar (optional)

Lavender is great to add to honey.

Another great idea to jar is to make herb honey.

I'll make little baskets containing these jarred concoctions along with herbal sachets and other little goodies. Then, I'll hand them out merrily as I dance around in a santa hat.

I guess I better get in the kitchen soon!