The holidays are coming up quickly, and if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect gift, long lines and hordes of people are pretty much unavoidable… unless that is, you go the homemade route. Christmas cookies are always an option, but since desserts are already everywhere during the holidays, we vote for these jam recipes. They’re easy to make and low-budget—and last longer than a batch of cookies anyway.
Plus you can easily decorate a mason jar to make the present feel festive. This also works for a last-minute birthday gift, Mother’s Day present, hostess gift, you name it. Just figure out the person’s favorite flavor and you’re good to go.
For the purist or the PB&J fan, try this chia seed strawberry jam. You heat the strawberries over the stove to break them down, then mash and add chia seeds. The seeds help give the jam a jelly-like texture without adding gelatin.
The beauty of jam is that it tastes good on so many things: toast, ice cream, oatmeal, yogurt. This blueberry-based jam is full of antioxidants and is made without any added sugar, unlike most store-bought versions. The only ingredients needed are the berries (duh), plus lemon juice, honey, and chia seeds, which are also used as a thickener. If you want even more of a lemony flavor, add some zest to the mix.
This jam screams Christmas. We can see the tag on it now… “dreams of sugar plums danced in their heads.” It gets its sweetness from cinnamon and brown sugar and is a less expected flavor, giving you bonus points for creativity.
Give this one to your fancy foodie friend. They’ll appreciate the addition of herbs and be impressed with its sweet taste. Most of the ingredients are in the name, with the addition of maple syrup and lemon zest and juice. Bonus: It’ll make your house smell great as you cook it.
For your friend that lives off Fig Newtons, this sweet jam will be warmly welcomed. It’s made with purple figs, pomegranate juice, a Madagascar vanilla bean, sea salt, lime juice, and honey. This one would taste great over goat cheese or on a pizza if you want to keep a batch for yourself too.
This one’s more of a spread than a jam but can be used the same way. And it’s definitely festive. We like it because it’s easy to swap in whatever frozen or fresh berries you can find to mix with the cranberries. Plus it has red wine in it, which is a pretty genius addition. Cinnamon and ground cloves add to the seasonal feel.
Think of this one as a grown-up applesauce. It’s made with apples, apple juice, cinnamon, fresh ginger, and chia seeds. Gift it to your teacher friends or kids’ teachers as an upgrade on that whole teachers-and-apples thing.