Gifts - Do it Yourself or Buy

frugal, coupons, save, DIYDIY or Doing It Yourself, is making a comeback. Some folks think it is all about saving some Benjamins. They are the same folks who think 'frugal' is all about money. It isn't It is about getting VALUE for your money.

When it comes to Doing-It-Yourself in the kitchen, there’s the frugal factor, but there are even better reasons.

- A handmade gift is the most thoughtful gift you’ll ever give. Friends will be pleased knowing the gift came from the heart, not the pocket book.

- It is a fun family project. Kids pitch in. They’ll be lot involved. They will get a feeling of pride when it is done no matter if it is eaten some month down the road or given as a gift.

- These days knowing where something came from has value. It may have been grown in the family garden or the family supported a local farm or business.

With holidays or birthdays or any event worthy of a gift, the best gifts may simply be already in your pantry, especially if a little planning was done.

And all that little planning means is making big enough batches while the summer produce is coming in.

Here are a few frugal Yankee tips.

PRESERVES – They are hard to justify on simple monetary basis. A lot of time is put into making these, but if you've ever gotten homemade jams or jellies, the specialness of them cannot be discounted. People are impressed and they will enjoy every delicious moment.

Jelly is time-consuming, but not difficult. Make 2 or 3 varieties, add a bit of fabric tied on the top. Tie it off with a ribbon, presto - a great gift.

Tomato sauce is also simple. It requires a fair amount of simmering, but once done it can be enjoyed all winter long. For personal consumption, freeze it. But for gift-giving, follow recipes for canning. It may sound difficult, but it isn't.

Obviously, tomato paste takes longer to cook.

This year the Frugal Yankee explored. The result? Ketchup! Friends and family were clamoring to get a jar. It wasn't very hard. It just took, like said before, a lot of simmering.

Two other preserves of note, are spiced pears or applesauce are a treat. Find a good recipe, EPICURIOUS.COM always has some good one, but then again so does the old dtand by THE JOY OF COOKING.

PICKLING – is very simple. It is important to make them as crops come in because they need to age.

Pickled peppers (called vinegar peppers in a lot of Italian families) are easy and great looking.

Of course, pickles are made with cucumbers, but many things can be pickled - carrots, ginger, eggs, onions, and probably a dozen other things.

Piccallily is traditionally made with green tomatoes. It’s mostly about chopping, then pouring your hot vinegar mixture in.

The Frugal Yankee suggests, find a good web site or cook book follow the recipes and have fun. Remember, just about anything can be preserved, pickled or frozen.
frugal, DIY, Christmas gifts
Here is a new fad that makes terrific gifts -INFUSED DRINKS

Infused vodkas are big. Start with a good basic vodka. The amount of fruit or flavorings varies as does the time it needs to rest. Look at the articles on Planet Green or Wired.com

Try this, make limoncello. It is adding lemon and sugar to vodka. The Frugal Yankee found a recipe on the Cooking Light website.

When considering these ideas as a gift, packaging counts. Perhaps put a few jars in a basket. Maybe add a few other tidbits, nice chocolate or kitchen tool, a pretty plate, coffee cup or something which makes the presentation more robust.
frugal, Christmas gifts, DIY
In keeping with the DIY theme, create gift tags. The Frugal Yankee found some nice, free printable ones at ALL RECIPES.com has a grood primer on how to that.

So when it comes to DIY or BUY, do it yourself. There are lots of reasons, none of which means you'll save money, but the rewards are so much greater. Think about it, if you don’t usually do these things, friends will be amazed. They will also know you truly care. Enough so, you put the thought and effort into their gift.

In the Frugal Yankee's family, it’s a tradition to exchange DIY food gifts. They all expect jelly or pickles or cookies. Then again, when a tradition like that gets started, everyone expects, jelly or pickles or cookies. And that's a good thing, a very good thing.

CHECK OUT FRUGAL YANKEE LOUISE on NE Cable News, talking about this very topic.

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