Homemade Herbal Gift Ideas

Homemade herbal presents for friends and family are unique, creative and often better quality than store-bought versions.

| December/January 2000

  • Photography by Anybody Goes

Recipes: Risotto in a Jar
Warming Room Freshener
Skin-Soothing Bath Scrub
Cinnamon and Spice Roasted Nuts
Southwestern Chipotle Seasoning Salt 

I have always been a sucker for herbal gifts. My friends know this, so I not only give them, I tend to receive them as well. I line up the beautiful bottles and fancy packages with elegant names on a shelf just to admire hem. Problem is, sometimes these raffia-wrapped and tinsel-tied bottles, tins, and calico bags are almost too dazzling to use. I become tempted to save them for special occasions— like when Mel Gibson shows up for dinner unannounced.

In my long experience of collecting and hoarding herbal gifts, I’ve found that the ones I make myself are every bit as enticing as those from gourmet specialty shops and expensive boutiques. Not only are most of them surprisingly easy to put together, but they’re a creation of my own hand and garden, so they’re unique.

Here’s why your own versions of herbal gifts will be better than anything you can buy:

• Better flavor and aroma. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not love that makes homemade gifts superior; it’s the ingredients. People who make their own are particular about what they use, often combining the finest, healthiest, and most exotic ingredients they can find. Commercial producers, on the other hand, cut corners with less expensive ingredients and smaller proportions of expensive ones. Health is rarely a consideration. In your own recipes, you can use organic herbs and vegetables, natural colors, and ingredients harvested at their peak and carefully preserved for maximum flavor and aroma. Using the best ingredients naturally makes a better product.

• Unlimited combinations. Buying herbal gifts limits you to what is available. When you make your own, you are limited only by your imagination.

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