Christmas Craftalong

Try a batch of the Bananas Foster Butter too! It’s a really cheap recipe to make at like $2 a batch, and seems all impressive when gifting.

That sounds great! But any kind of chutney or jam would make a great gift too. I came across a recipe for cranberry & orange marmelade the other day if you’re interested in something seasonal. I love edible Christmas gifts that don’t have to be eaten rightaway, because I already get plenty of those. Jam is something you can enjoy a couple of weeks later too.

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I could make the banana recipe for gifts but it might be a challenge as I really, truly loathe them myself, even just the smell. It has such a fancy sounding name though, I’m so very tempted. Thanks for the link Jenny, I’m mulling it over…

The cranberry & orange sounds good too, I’d be happy if you’d share the recipe @Immaculata :slightly_smiling_face:

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The recipe is from this year’s Good Housekeeping Christmas edition.

  • 1 lemon

  • 450g navel oranges
    -2 small cinnamon sticks
    -2 whole cloves
    -2.5 cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 900 gr granulated sugar

  • 250 gr fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 2 tbsp whisky or brandy (optional)
    Makes 1.6 kilo

  • Lay out a small sheet of muslin or cotton. Halve and juice the lemon into a large pan, then put the squeezed halves and any pips into the centre of the cloth.

  1. Cut each orange into 8 wedges, then thinly slice each wedge widthways to make small trangles about 3mm-5mm thick. Add any pips to the squeezed lemon cloth. Alternatively you can remove the pips from the wedges, then pulse the wedges in a food processor until chopped to your liking. You won’t get neat shreds but it is much faster. (I don’t know who cares that much about neat shreds …) Add the chopped orange and any juice to the pan.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and giger to the cloth, then bring up the sides of the cloth and tie tightly with a string to make a bag. Add to the pain, then pour in 1,1 l just-boiled water.
  3. Bring mixture to the boil, making sure the bag is submerged, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1hr- 1hr 15 min, stirring occasionally or until the peel has completely softened. Remove pan from the heat.
  4. Lift out the bag and set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile stir the sugar into the pan. Squeeze the cooled bag into the the pan to extract as much thick and sticky liquid from the lemon halves as you can.
  5. Add the cranberries to the pan, then stir over gentle heat to dissolve any remaining sugar crystals. Turn up the heat, bring back to the boil and bubble for 15 minutes or until the marmelade reaches setting point.
  6. Remove pan from heat, stir in the whisky or brandy, if using. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then stir once more to redistribute the fruit. Ladle into hot sterlised jars. Seal and allow the marmelade to cool and set before using.

I am a bit annoyed that they give the amount the recipe makes in kilo’s and not in ml or so many jars of this size, because I have no idea how much a liter of jam weighs so it’s hard to know exactly how many jars to expect. Usually I get about 3 x 550 ml of jam from a kilo of sugar so I would get 3 jars ready for this recipe.

@MistressJennie as the expert, is there a reason to leave the marmelade to cool for 10 minutes before putting it into the jars? My grandma always taught me to make sure it was as hot as possible when it went into the jar.

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Seal & allow to cool, no water bath? Umm… hm. The recipe sounds tasty but that doesn’t seem safely preserved to me.

As for the uncertain measurements, it’s annoying but I just keep any leftovers in a jar in the fridge for immediate consumption. That way I get to try things I’m going to give as gifts.

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On your side of the Atlantic people are much more strict with canning safety regulations. We only do water bath canning here (pressure canners are literally not available in Europe as far as I know) and that’s usually not done for anything that’s kept in sugar or acid. Our official guidelines are a lot less strict. This recipe says “store in a cool place and eat within 6 months” and I think that’s considered safe enough.

Personally when I make jam for long term storage I do put them in a water bath just to be on the safe side, but I grew up on a smallholding and my mum never did that.

I read with great interest this article @Edel posted the other day. Pretty surprising!
I don’t have a pressure canner but I want one, that technology is so cool! Or hot, with high pressure, as the case may be :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Here’s a recipe for a water bath version of the Cranberry Orange Marmalade:

https://www.sbcanning.com/2010/11/cheryls-cranberry-orange-marmalade.html

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Yes, I’m aware of the research, but for my own personal use, my risk assesment is that I don’t mind eating fresh, non-water bath canned jam. But anything that goes into storage goes in the waterbath (or in my case - in the biggest stock pot I have since I don’t have access to a canner anymore). The official recommendation here are that waterbath canning isn’t required but any home-canned vegetables should be heated for at least 5 minutes at 85 C.

The practice of “bottling” isn’t as common in my country as the article says it’s in the UK. People would think you were an idiot if you tried to preserve tomatoes that way (actually, tomatoes aren’t processed much at all here since in our climate they often fail). Canning is quite popular here, and even more so in Germany which is where I usually get my supplies. The main brand we use is Weck, so much so that the Dutch word for canning is actually “wecking”. Bottling is practiced for jam and pickles but any type of vegetable is always wecked.

I do wish pressure canners were available here, because they allow you to preserve some things that you just can’t safely can in a water bath. I have a few things I’d love to try out!

Weck! With the glass lids? Oh, how I wish we could easily get those here. It would be so much nicer than having to buy new lids each year. Can you reuse the rubber rings?

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Yes, the rings are reusable, but they don’t last as long as the jars. Some of my jars must be from the 70s, you can use them as long as the glass isn’t damaged. For jam etc I usually buy jars with twist-off lids though, because you’re not going to eat all of it in one setting. You can’t close a Weck jar again after opening it.

@MistressJennie is there a material difference between a water bath and a non-water bath version of a jam recipe? Because I usually just use whatever recipe I have on hand and chuck the jars in a waterbath for 10-15 minutes afterwards, and I have always assumed that was safe.

I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I use recipes that come from Ball, or other reputable books and sites, which all call for water bath canning, so I’ve never really compared them to non-canning recipes. On the rare occasion I’ve bumped into a recipe for something like jam on the BBC cooking site, the main difference I’ve seen is that they usually just call for fruit & sugar, without any lemon juice or pectin. So I personally, wouldn’t have tried canning those recipes, just assuming that they weren’t safe, due to the lack of additional acid.

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I think that’s because most of those recipes either call for or assume the use of jam sugar, which is sugar with added pectin. It’s not impossible to find pectin on it’s own here, but you’d have to know where to look, and jam sugar is available in every supermarket. English recipes don’t even mention canning, Dutch recipes usually include something along the lines of “optional: waterbath can for long-term storage”. American recipes are indeed much more detailed but it’s a hassle converting quantities of regular sugar and pectin to a quantities of jam sugar.

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I’ve just found this thread and am going to shamelessly steal ideas. However I won’t be doing a whole heap of homemade gifts. In general I am trying to reduce the amount of gift giving, as we all mostly have enough stuff. In general I tend to give more consumable stuff.

Having said that, there are a few people in my life who do appreciate hand made, so I am going to make a couple of throw pillows with stars similar to this, for my sisters.

And a ton of christmas crack. Which I have made every year since @MistressJennie posted the original recipe on deadster about a million years ago.

I have a lovely friend who adores green and green velvet, I have some old green velvet curtains, and I was in a holiday house recently, they had a gorgeous velvet throw, which was simply velvet on one side, with a fringe at the ends. So I will make her one.

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I just realized it’s only 50 days to Christmas!

Started these today.

Middle ones are for me and Mr. Imma, left one for a friend and the right ones for their pets! We always celebrate Christmas with them.

I have another one of those panels that was supposed to be for my family members (mum, brother, sister and BIL) but in the mean time I’ve gained a family member! I knew my brother had been casually seeing someone for a while but we were recently introduced and she’s going to spend Christmas with him.

My mum is still planning to host a big family Christmas but we’ll probably not go. With the current infection rates we don’t feel 11 people from 6 households should spend the day together in the living room of a terraced house. I have expressed my doubts but I’ve not officially confirmed we’re staying home. In my family we traditionally don’t give Christmas gifts at all @Edel but I’ve started to send homemade, mostly practical gifts, because I think pandemic life is boring enough! You’re right that most people have way too much stuff already. I wouldn’t be happy if people gifted me a bunch of plastic crap.

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Those stockings look great!

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They are from Benartex, from the Better Not Pout collection! I will probably line them with plain cotton and use fabric from stash for the back. If I have lots of time I’ll embroider the names on top.

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Recently made piles of Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors…

Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Jam

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Raspberry Rose Jam (with the addition of 1/4 tsp rosewater)

Banana’s Foster Butter

Butterscotch Pecan Shortbread Cookie Mixes

Cranberry Hootycreek Cookie Mixes

Ranch & Ras el Hanout Spice Mixes

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I decided that if I haven’t started on the stockings for a countdown to Christmas calendar than maybe I don’t actually want one as much as I want to want one. So I tabled that for 2021 and I’ll revisit in for next year. maybe. In the meantime I really DO want to make some silly Christmas socks for the 3 of us so I bought the needles that somehow I didn’t already own in my vast collection of bits and bobs and am casting on the first pair tonight. I’ll do them in order from largest to smallest, I think. Might give me a snowball momentum and I’ll actually finish them! ha!

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I’ve finished the socks for my mum!


They’re slightly darker irl.

As I didn’t get to craft last weekend, today will be my big Christmas crafting weekend. Plans for this weekend:

  • finish stockings
  • finish towels
  • cut fabric for tablerunner
  • start cards
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