Gifts Everyone Will Relish
If you love giving unique, homemade holiday gifts to coworkers and neighbors, here’s a whole new idea worth trying—DIY condiments! Homemade chutneys, holiday-inspired relishes and sweet compotes are easy to make and fun to give. In one enjoyable afternoon, you can create all sorts of delicious shareables with a few basic ingredients…and a little help from your kitchen elves.
We’ve rounded up three winning recipes and a few expert tips guaranteed to turn your holiday gift-making into an afternoon full of memories everyone will “relish.”
CREATE A KITCHEN WORKSHOP
Call in the helpers! DIY gift-making is a great way to get the whole family involved—there’s a project for everyone. Kids who are not old enough to use a knife can create custom labels or help measure ingredients. Set up a station just for them, with all the supplies needed. For labels, remember to include the date the recipe was prepared, along with the name of the recipe. Try to come up with playful names to call your unique blend, and offer serving ideas on the label as well.
Assign older elves to prepare the fruits and vegetables, whether it’s hulling strawberries with the versatile CHICAGO CUTLERY® FUSION® 5″ PARTOKU KNIFE or dicing onions with a classic chef knife, like the ultra-sharp CHICAGO CUTLERY® DESIGNPRO™ DUAL MATERIAL 8″ CHEF KNIFE. Of course, you’ll also need an easy-to-clean CHICAGO CUTLERY® WOODWORKS™ 14″ X 20″ BAMBOO CUTTING BOARD for each cutting station.
SWEET PEAR RELISH
Say good-bye to the green stuff—that’s for summer. Relish can be made with any pickled, cooked or finely chopped fruits and vegetables, not just cucumbers. A seasonal relish like our winter-inspired Sweet Pear Relish instantly enhances sliced turkey, carved ham and side dishes, such as potatoes and squash. It’s also just the thing to add tang and zest to holiday leftovers. And if you’re heading to the in-laws’ place for the big meal, spoon some into a jar—it makes a lovely hostess gift.
YIELD: 3 cups*
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes + cooling
4 pears, peeled if desired, diced
1 small sweet, red or yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots or mangoes or a combination)
1/4 cup sweetener (sugar, honey, agave nectar or maple syrup)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
- In 2-qt. saucepan, stir together pears, onion, dried fruit, sweetener and vinegar. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. Remove from heat; cool. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spoon into container; cover. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
SPICED FRUIT CHUTNEY
Chutney is a fruit and vegetable condiment made with vinegar, spices and sweetener. It’s commonly eaten as a condiment with various meats and sandwiches, but its fiery and fruity flavor makes it a delicious appetizer spread for crackers and crostini. Many commercial versions are made with mangoes, onions, raisins, chiles and brown sugar, but you can make your own seasonal chutney using our recipe for Spiced Fruit Chutney.
YIELD: 4 cups*
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes + cooling
6 cups chopped peeled apples and/or pears
1 cup diced yellow, red or sweet onion
1/2 cup sweetener (brown sugar, honey or agave nectar)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño chiles or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground spices (combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg)
1 teaspoon mustard seed or 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, mangoes or a combination)
- In 3-qt. saucepan, stir together all ingredients except dried fruit. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat; stir in dried fruit. Cool. Spoon into container; cover. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Compote is basically whole fruit or pieces of fruit that are cooked down with a sweetener to form a jam-like topping. It can be spooned onto French toast, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, ice cream, flan, pound cake—you name it! Show up with a jar of this Jumbleberry Compote as a hostess gift and you just might receive a seat at the head of the table. Here’s how to customize your own compote.
YIELD: 2 cups*
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes + cooling
3 cups fruit (cut rhubarb, apples, pears or plums into large chunks; leave cherries or berries whole)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, lime juice or grated orange peel
1/4 cup sweetener (sugar, honey or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- In 1- to 2-qt. saucepan, stir together fruit, lemon juice, sweetener and ginger. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool. Spoon into container; cover. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
HANDCRAFT YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTING
With freshly bottled batches of relish, it’s time to create a giftable worth sharing. Tie your jar of relish with a bow and tuck it into a beautiful basket with the following coordinating components to create a unique and useful gift package.
- CHICAGO CUTLERY® WOODWORKS™ RUBBERWOOD 2-PC CUTTING BOARD SET
- CHICAGO CUTLERY® FULLERTON™ 2-PC SANTOKU/PARER KNIFE SET
- Decorative towel or table runner
- Artisanal bread or crackers
- Selection of local cheeses
- Gourmet nut mix
We hope these relish recipes and easy gift ideas help make this busy season extra easy. Unique and fun to make, they’re a great way to share the flavors of the season and deliver homemade holiday goodness to friends, coworkers and neighbors.
- CHOP LIKE A PRO. Learn how to slice, dice and julienne vegetables properly with these 5 Ways to Cut Vegetables, Choosing the Right Knife.
- WRAP IT UP. Once your relish is ready to share, use one of these Hot Ideas for Holiday Gift Wrapping to package your presents with style.
- MAKE EVEN MORE. While you’re in the homemade holiday mood, use this clever recipe to Make Your Own Stocking Stuffer Candies, too!