Great Gifts from the Kitchen: Homemade Pickles and Vinegar

Homemade Vinegar

Here are three recipes for homemade gifts from your kitchen to share with family and friends this holiday season. For a special touch, make your own gift jars!


Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.


Vinegar should be made in sterilized glass jars or bottles, with metallic or plastic screw-on lids, caps, or corks. To sterilize empty jars, boil in water for 10 minutes. Also, sterilize lids in a boiling water bath or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinegar should be labeled and dated, and stored in a cool, dark place for use within 2 months. Or, store it in the refrigerator and use within 6 to 8 months.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine ¼ cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

Find out how to make your own gift jars for the pickles and vinegar!

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Do you know how to cook

Do you know how to cook pinecones and scent them?

We have two suggestions for

We have two suggestions for preparing scented pinecones.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the pinecones on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Once cooled, gather the pinecones in a brown paper bag and sprinkle with scented oil. Shake the bag to evenly distribute the oil. Keep the bag closed for about 4 weeks. Give it a shake every week.
The other method involves glue. Once cooled, mix together several kinds of dried spices in a bowl; or use just cinnamon, or just cloves, etc., your preference. Lay the prepared pinecones on newspaper. Apply clear-drying glue to the tips of the pinecones and then sprinkle with the spice(s). Let them dry for 12 hours.