Homemade culinary gifts are one of the best presents to receive! Store-bought gifts are always welcome and appreciated, but there is something special about the extra effort a loved one makes to create a gift from scratch. If you’re looking for edible gift ideas, we’re talking about our favourites today, along with some recipe inspiration to get you started.
First, a few things to consider as you select your edible gift ideas:
- Aim for dry goods that will last. During the holiday season, food tends to be everywhere as people attend parties and holiday meals. Edible gift ideas offer recipients the opportunity to consume their present at a later date.
- Explore savory edible gifts. Sweet treats are in abundance during the holiday season, so choose something savory or sour to offset the sweetness.
- Include a recipe. Make a little recipe card to go along with your gift so recipients can make the deliciousness again.
- Consider storage containers. We’re not fans of plastic here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, so we recommend choosing a glass mason jar or stainless steel container for gift-giving.
And now, onto our 8 favourite edible gift ideas!
1. Granola + Granola Bars
Homemade gluten-free granola is one of the easiest things in the world to make. All you need to do is toss gluten-free oats, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together and bake until golden. Once baked, you can add in dried fruit, shredded coconut or chocolate.
The other benefit to this one is you can bake granola in huge batches and divvy it up into multiple gifts. It’s holiday multi-tasking at its finest!
2. Spiced Nuts + Seeds
Spiced nuts and seeds are an elegant gift, plus they’re loaded with nutritious fats, protein for healing and repair, and fibre that supports our digestive tract (few gifts are better than the gift of a good poop!). This edible gift idea can be customized based on the recipient’s spice preferences, and you can season them to be sweet or savory. Some of our favourite spice combos:
- Curry powder + maple syrup
- Sea salt, basil, oregano + thyme
- Turmeric, coconut oil + honey
- Cayenne pepper + cinnamon
- Cacao + cinnamon
- Smoked paprika + sea salt
You can also use any combination of herbs and spices to roast chickpeas for a wonderful snacking gift.
These edible holiday gifts take some foresight and planning, but they will be greatly appreciated and they’re certainly unique presents. Since the holidays tend to coincide with cold and flu season, you could create an immune-boosting tincture with ginger, turmeric, or oregano.
Your tincture doesn’t have to be complete in time for gift-giving – provide a date along with the tincture for when it’s ready to go.
4. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is a tincture of the less medicinal variety. Everyone loves vanilla, and homemade vanilla? Magic. Purchase vanilla beans, alcohol and some small glass bottles and you’ll be ready to go. You could even add extra herbs such as lavender or chamomile to make the extract extra special.
5. Infused Vinegar or Oil
A vinegar or oil infused with herbs is the kind of gift that seems super fancy to the recipient, but is actually incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is add your herb or flavour of choice with the vinegar or oil, seal it up, and let the flavours meld for two weeks. It’s effortless, right? But it will seem as if you slaved away in the kitchen.
And, if you’re wondering what are the best oils for cooking, check out this handy guide to cooking with fats and oils.
6. Herbed Sea Salt
Fresh herbs take regular sea salt to a whole new level. Chop up your favourites – we like parsley, cilantro and dill – and blend them into a bowl of sea salt. You can also toss in extra flavours like lemon zest or minced garlic. This is also a great way to use up leftover herbs!
For more condiment ideas, check out this list of 12 Homemade Condiments You’ll Never Need to Buy Again.
7. Gluten-Free Baking Mixes
Layer the ingredients for gluten-free baked goods into a glass jar – they look incredibly pretty, and give your loved ones the chance to make their own treats without resorting to processed baking mixes or frozen cookie dough. There are so many variations you can give and this edible gift idea is also a good one for making in large batches.
If you don’t want to give a sugary gift, you could make soup mixes in a jar instead! Add a variety of beans, grains, and dried herbs into a jar and your edible gift is ready to go.
8. Dairy-Free Chocolate
Our holiday edible gift ideas list wouldn’t be complete without some dairy-free chocolate! You can make your own chocolate with cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut oil and a natural sweetener (maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar). Or, you can buy dark chocolate and melt it into all sorts of goodies like almond butter cups, chocolate turtles and chocolate nut clusters.
And seriously, who doesn’t love the gift of chocolate?