Q. How can I treat my friends and family to special homemade gifts this year?
Julie K., Atascadero
A. One of the most amazing ways to show someone how special they are to you is to share homemade gifts that you’ve thoughtfully created. And if you’re like me, you prefer to get an early start on the holidays to keep your stress at a minimum.
You needn’t look any further than the beautiful Central Coast for local ingredients to help you build a basket of wonderful gifts for the holidays. The opportunities to make homemade preserved gifts are virtually endless. Perhaps you’d like to give a gift of a flavored vinegar, make homemade salsa or a spicy mustard. Dried herb flavored salts also make fun and unique gifts.
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When we give gifts from the kitchen, we combine a touch of that DIY spirit with a bit of glamour and fun to create unique offerings that are well received in the hectic holiday season. If you need some inspiration to get started, the UC Master Food Preservers in San Luis Obispo County have just the class for you!
A “Holidays in July” workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 22, at the UCCE auditorium at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. This workshop, offered by the UCCE Master Food Preservers, will focus on creating quality gifts using preservation techniques such as water bath canning, drying and/or dehydration. There is a $5 fee to attend. Register online at http://ucanr.edu/holidaysinjuly.
If you ever have questions about canning, preserving or food safety, you can ask a Master Food Preserver who will offer qualified, well researched and knowledgeable advice. To reach the helpline, call or email the following:
Phone: Master Food Preserver (MFP) helpline 805-781-1429, Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. to speak to an MFP or bring in your home product
Email: SLO MFP program at email@example.com.
Stephanie Hill is a UCCE master food preserver.
Got a gardening question?
In San Luis Obispo call 781-5939, Arroyo Grande, 473-7190 and Templeton, 434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 781-5939.