The last few years, my husband and I have turned our focus from buying gifts to making gifts. We got to a point where wandering aimlessly through a store, searching for the “perfect” gift became daunting and un-enjoyable, not to mention a strain on our pocketbook. And most of the time we felt that what we chose was undeserving of its recipient. Now, around this time, we brainstorm what it is we can make for our loved ones — and we look forward to it! A plate of fresh cookies, a homemade purse or set of stationary — the possibilities are endless. It brings us great joy to put thought and time (which is more valuable than anything) into making something that shows our friends and family we truly, truly appreciate them. Below is just one homemade gift that has been a hit with many. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs. small tender green beans, or enough to fill your jars
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper (or more, if you really want them zesty)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 large heads of dill
- 4 c. water
- 1/4 c. salt
- 4 c. vinegar (I use white vinegar)
Making Dilly Beans
- Sterilize jars and lids in hot, boiling water, leave in water until you’re ready to pack with beans
- Wash and stem green beans and pack into jars
- Add l/8 teaspoon red pepper, 1 garlic clove and 1 head of dill to each pint
- Bring the water, salt and vinegar to a boil and then pour over beans in jars
- Seal jars at once with sterilized tops
- Place sealed jars back in the boiling water for about 15 minutes. Water must cover tops of jars by at least an inch. When you remove jars from hot water the lids should be concave, or seal shortly after. If the seal does not form, refrigerate and use anytime in the next few weeks.
- Once cooled, decorate lids with ribbon and labels or paint them! You can download this label design here.
- Give them away as gifts at your Thanksgiving feast
- Make a beautiful “pickled” tray for a cozy dinner party
- Dilli-tini. A yummy spin on a traditional martini — substitute olives with the beans!