Homemade Edible Gift-Giving Ideas for the Holidays

If you’re caught up in the holiday shopping frenzy this time of year, it can be easy to forget that some of the best presents are those edible gifts you make yourself. How many times have you received something that you treasured using or savored eating because it was homemade by a family member or friend? Items that have plenty of thought, effort and love put into them—like a hand-knit scarf, framed photograph, or jar of homemade jam—will be remembered for much longer than a gift card or pair of socks ever will.   


Sweet & Smokey spiced nut mix.alert1 medical alert systems



So, this year, consider giving edible goodies produced in your own kitchen for some or all of your holiday gifts. Not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself, but you’ll also avoid the long lines at the mall. You also won’t have to worry about whether or not someone else has already purchased your intended recipient the same gift. Whether the present is for a child or a senior, edible gifts are perfect for any age. Plus, the project itself is a fun way to spend a few hours of time over the holidays, and you’ll likely end up with some delicious treats left over for yourself.

Homemade With Love

Pickled Cucumbers

Homemade cookies, quick breads, brownies and brittle all come to mind as classic holiday food gifts, but what if you want to make something edible that isn’t necessarily meant for dessert? Consider the following edible gift ideas instead:

  • Custom spice rubs
  • Preserved lemons
  • Infused oils
  • Flavored vinegars
  • Trail mix
  • Pickles
  • Mustard or ketchup
  • Granola or muesli
  • Dried herbs from the garden
  • Brine mix
  • Fruit preserves or chutney

Make A Batch

Bottles of Jam

Depending on your skill level and the amount of time you have to spare, you can make a large batch of the same thing for each person or make several smaller customized batches to better suit a variety of tastes.

But whatever you decide to make, be sure to set aside ample time for preparation and packaging. If needed, give yourself one afternoon to cook and another to wrap it all up. Don’t underestimate the ability of canning jars, craft paper, wax paper, ribbon and butcher’s twine to elevate a homemade holiday food gift. Sometimes the simplest, most budget-friendly materials are also the most visually appealing.

The following recipe for Sweet and Smoky Spiced Nut Mix is easy to prepare, stays fresh for at least a week or more and satisfies a variety of taste buds, young or old. In lieu of butter, beaten egg white helps the spice mixture adhere to your favorite combination of nuts so that every bite is coated in flavor without the extra calories. The final product is a little salty, a little smoky and a little sweet, with just a hint of heat. If you can resist eating them all by yourself, these nuts make a nice senior-friendly addition to a cheese plate or hors d’oeuvres spread, and of course, make an excellent hostess gift.

Sweet and Smoky Spiced Nut Mix

If you want to make a lot a large quantity of nuts, don’t be tempted to scale this senior-friendly recipe up by more than double the listed amounts. Your best bet is making multiple individual batches to ensure that the spices are properly distributed and that the nuts are evenly divided among the baking sheets. If baking multiple sheets at a time, be sure to rotate them between the oven racks midway through cooking.


Ground Cinnamon

5 Tbs. dark brown sugar

1 Tbs. smoked paprika

1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 egg white

4 cups unsalted raw mixed nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds and cashews

Cooking Instructions

Egg being whisked

1. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add the nuts and spice mixture and stir until evenly coated. Pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in a single layer.

4. Bake until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant, stirring once halfway through baking, 28 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on the pan.

Makes 4 cups.