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Holiday gifts from the kitchen

Keeping gifts created in the kitchen safe.

Making gifts to give friends and family is something that has been a tradition for years. Preparing them from the kitchen is a tasty way to do that. There are breads, cookies, cakes and candy that are usually eaten right away. There are other gifts that are prepared in a jar but may not be safe unless they are refrigerated or eaten in a few days.

Here are a couple tips that help you be sure that your tasty treats that are meant for others to enjoy are not going to make them sick. Remember foodborne illness and allergies can sneak in if we don’t take care to properly preserve or identify the dangers that may cause illness or an allergic reaction.

Giving a jar or a basket of homemade jams and jellies is a great idea if they have been properly preserved. This entails following the directions of the recipe and then processing them using the water bath method. Food preservation is a science and science has shown us why and how to preserve foods safely. Michigan State University Extension recommends processing jams and jellies using the water bath method and following a science based recipe

Cakes and breads made in a jar is an adorable gift but is dangerous if stored at room temperature. They cannot be preserved in a jar because they are low acid and is the perfect place to grow potentially harmful botulism. That is a foodborne illness that you cannot see, smell or taste, it is not a gift you want to give in your jar.

Quick breads that contain nuts or other food allergens can be potentially harmful to some. Before handing out these types of gifts be proactive and ask friends and family if they are allergic to any of the ingredients contained in your recipe. They really won’t mind because they don’t want to be sick either.

One way to give these types of gifts would be to create a label for each jar. Put the name of the product on the label clearly; list any ingredients that are in the recipe, and the date it was made. Also leave storage instructions; keep this gift refrigerated, eat within two to four days.

Gifts from the kitchen are fun to give just make sure that the gift you intend to give is all that is in the jar.

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