NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Holiday Food Gifts

Holiday Food Gifts


          Creating and giving away popular homemade food gifts may be a great way to share your talents, your favorite recipe and often save dollars, but for food safety’s sake there are a few food safety tips to keep in mind.

          If making your own special food gift, choose only safe, tested recipes from research-based resources when creating homemade gifts. Use USDA researched recipes for any jams, jellies, pickles, relishes and any and all canned products that you plan to share. Keep food safety in mind at all times when preparing your food gift.

          Some food gifts are best when they’re not a surprise. If a product is labeled “Keep Refrigerated,” this means during transport also. Refrigeration is needed to control bacterial growth, and keep the food safe. The last thing you want is to spoil people’s holidays by giving them gifts they may become ill from or have to throw out. Homemade cheesecake is one food that fits in this category; another is jellies or jams made with gelatin.  They cannot be stored at room temperature because they do not have a sugar content high enough to slow down mold growth and so must be stored either in the refrigerator or freezer.

          Include instructions.. Nothing is worse than to open a food package and not know if it is safe to eat as is or be confused as to how to prepare it.

          When wrapping homemade food gifts, be sure the label includes:

  Date you made the products

  List of ingredients (useful for people who have food allergies)

  Storage and handling instructions

  Ideas on using the food gifts

          Package safely. If you’re packing your own perishable food gift, freeze it solid first, then pack for transport. Be sure to fill any empty spaces in the packing box with crushed paper or foam “popcorn.

          Give advance notice. Regardless of how it’s sent, alert the recipient of the expected delivery date so he/she (or a neighbor) can be home to receive the gift. Otherwise, it may sit unsafely on the doorstep or at the post office for hours, or even days. Do not have perishable items delivered to an office unless you know they will arrive on a work day, and there is refrigerator space available to keep them cold.

          A classic cookie that ships well and safely, is gingersnaps.


1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tea

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar

           In a large mixing bowl combine  half the flour, brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat with an elecric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Beat or stir in remaining flour.

           Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

          Bake in a 375-degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes or till edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

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