Infused Syrup Gift Jars

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I do it to myself every single year. The holidays roll around and I find myself in a complete frenzy – not buying gifts, but making them. All of them. Like I am some kind of spectacular, one-woman craft factory. Hand-dipped beeswax candles, beaded earrings, woolen mittens, porcelain teacups, or how about personalized lino block monogram stationery? And every year I curse myself for being unable to achieve a true likeness in the watercolour painting I did of your cat.

Well, this year that’s all about to change. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the first four weeks of motherhood, it’s that I am not only unable to maintain spectacular, one-woman craft factory status, but that I am lucky to take a shower on a regular basis. I surrender.

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A few weeks back, before baby, I had a dear friend and fellow foodie over for dinner. She brought with her a small jar of mysterious, yet delicious-looking matter that turned out to be dried apricots and spices in a lime syrup that tasted amazing on, oh, just about everything that came out of my kitchen. Needless to say, I copied her. And then the wheels of the craft factory got to turning and I whipped up a second batch with honey, nuts, and a whack-load of holiday spices that I dig. It came together so quickly and effortlessly, that I realized this would be a perfect gift to give this holiday season – inexpensive, simple ingredients, and best of all, totally achievable to make with a baby on the hip (or in the blink of an eye that he’s napping for). Hoorah!

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So far I’ve tested this versatile delight on salads, cooked whole grains, grilled cheese (to die for), savoury crepes, and roasted veggies. It’s kind of like the exclamation mark that every dish deserves. And as a die-hard fan of anything with the salty-sweet balance, I am looking forward to all the semi-bland meals I can punctuate with these incredibly simple little syrups. If you’re looking for some sweet-on-sweet action, the adventurer in you would surely love either one of these delicacies drizzled on oats, yogurt, pancakes, French toast, or ice cream too.

There aren’t really “recipes” for these jars of goodness, just guidelines. If you don’t like a certain ingredient, omit it and maybe find one that suits your tastes and if you are really a fan of something in particular, add lots. Be intuitive, be creative, and enjoy the process of crafting something special for someone you love.

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Infused Syrup Gift Jars

Maple + Apricot
pure maple syrup
dried apricots (please ensure they are sulfite-free – they should be dark brown in colour)
pink peppercorns
rosemary sprig
star anise

Directions:
1. Roughly chop apricots into small chunks and place in a jar. Add all other ingredients in the amount you desire.
2. Cover with maple syrup. Store in the fridge.

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Honey + Nuts
raw liquid honey
walnuts (lightly toasted, if desired)
pistachios (lightly toasted, if desired)
orange peel
fennel seeds
cloves

Directions:
1. Roughly chop nuts into chunks and place in a jar, keeping some of them whole. Add all other ingredients in the amount you desire.
2. Cover with honey. Store in the fridge.

 

Here are a few more ideas for MNR holiday edible gifts. Out of all the crafting I do, these are my favourite things to give any time of year.

Superfood Haute Chocolate Mix
Holiday Granola
Simple Gourmet Granola
Orange Cranberry Hazelnut Cantuccini
Zata’ar Spice Blend
Chai Tea Spice Blend
Detox Tea Blend

Keep in the fridge until giving:
Superfood Nut Butter Cups
Chocolate Fudge
Hazelnut Butter
Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip
Fig Lavender Walnut Jam
Chlorella Cream
Green Giant Cilantro Pesto
Energy Orbs

And because I’ve been receiving emails from readers about what to serve at a healthy holiday feast, I’ve rounded up my favourites from the last year that would combine to make a great meal. Don’t forget to check out my past post about this topic, with a few complete menu plans: Holiday Menus

The Life Changing Loaf of Bread
Beet & Black Lentil Borscht
Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries
Blood Orange Braised Cabbage on Barley
Spaghetti Squash Baby Cakes with Crispy Sage
Cinnamon Wreath

I wish you all the very best this year from me and my very new family! Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday everyone.

Love, light, and gratitude,
Sarah B.

54 comments

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  4. Jenn

    You mentioned a jar with Lyme Syrup? Do you have a recipe for that–I am very curious! Lovely blog by the way, thank you for the inspiration.

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  6. Julie

    Happy New Year! I just finished making my first batch with local honey, Australian nuts, cinnamon sticks and lemon rind from our back yard lemon tree! Cannot wait to start using with the quinoa / millet breakfast! I have also made some gift pots for January birthdays. They look adorable (and yummy)! Thanks for the inspiration (as always). x

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  9. Cherie Scott

    I can’t wait for your new cookbook….seems like you have two new children in your life – personally – your sweet son and professionally – your amazing cookbook!
    Cherie

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  15. Simone

    For years I wondered why I was so knackered and out of money in January. Then I realised that we have 4 birthdays (of close relatives) and Saint Nicolas and Christmas in December. For Saint Nicholas the school of our children requires that the gifts are homemade (all the children get the same type of gift) This year it was not clear if my eldest would get a bought gift or get a handmade gift. Part of me felt sad, these gifts are really the most beautiful and cherished things they have (in my mind). My daughter thanked me the other day for all the beautiful gifts now she knows Saint Nicholas’ secret.
    What could life be if it is not personal?
    For a truly beautiful and moving story about gifts: http://karenmaezenmiller.com/the-hidden-gift-of-macaroni/
    Happy holidays, and I wish you so much joy and love with your baby boy, please take your time for him because even though it might be or seem so much and so overwhelming -such a small being- it will change before you know it. Every moment will never come back in that way every moment is different and new.
    Kind regards;
    Simone

    P.S. I loved you cranberry christmas cake, I might make it again for christmas this year. I always find homemade Granola in a nice jar a great gift. Also felting once you get the hang of it is great, thick and sturdy (or thin and supple), warm, beautiful colors, and quicker than knitting. And sooo much possibilities.

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  18. Olivia

    Anyone have advice on where to cheaply buy glass jars in Canada like the ones Sarah is using? I always have a hard time tracking them down.

    Thanks, Sarah. The recipe is very elegant!

  19. Jana

    THANK you for another food-heaven-inspiration:-)) I made few weeks ago my first skin salve with home infused olive oil (with fresh lemon balm leaves from the balcony herb-garden) and cacao butter and some organic bea way…these skin treats are my special xmas presies this time…tons of love and smile to you+Finn and happy holidays!

  20. Raphael

    Love your blog.
    I’ll be going to Copenhagen for a few days on Monday.
    Any suggestions what I could check out food wise?
    Live vegan and raw stuff, and especially interested in fermentation.

    Best, Raphael

  21. Sierra

    I just adore your posts, and your experiences shared about your new motherhood role. Congratulations!! So, I would love to make this for christmas gifts and wonder how long it can go without refrigeration, and what the shelf life is so I can put that in the card for the receiver. Thank you again!

  22. Lisa allen

    Sarah, just checked into your site after some months …oh my, Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy! You have been an inspiration to me, I hope to be able to photograph as well as you, but that’s a tall order! All the best to you, Lisa

  23. Laura

    Dear Sarah, oh what did you do with this post! I have become a full-time infusion creatress – your photographs and descriptions sparked an explosion of fruit and spices combinations – can’t believe just how wonderful these concoction fragrances create Christmasy thoughts and feelings! Thank you so much!

  24. Natalie parks

    The recipes sound fabulous. Can’t wait to try these. Must say the photos on your blog are absolutely spectacular! So beautiful, tranquil and inviting.

  25. Melva

    Gifts that are natural in every sense – healthy, eco-friendly, wallet-friendly, and easy! Thank you, Sarah for “de-commercialising” Christmas “re-wrapping” in a wholistic package. These jars can be my anytime-give-a-gift-in-a-pinch solution!

  26. Jasmine

    Lovely idea! I’ve been trying to brainstorm to come up with some good Xmas gift ideas with a budget. This might does the trick! I’m going to be hosting a Xmas dinner party at my house, just wondering if you have any good reccomandations for what to make? Something that’s simple yet pleasing at the same time :) Thanx!

  27. Lauren W

    I love this idea and I just finished making a batch of your orange cranberry hazlenut cantuccini to give as gifts – delcious :)
    Thanks for the inspirations and good ideas!

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