Homemade gifts from your garden

Written by Krisy Goodwin

Hello Gardeners, welcome to our December Festive Edition! This year has been challenging for both young and old, Christmas shopping may be harder due to stock shortages, but we are going to face adversity with a smile and make our own basket of goodies to hand out to appreciative friends and
relatives. These can be made with produce from your own garden or picked up at our numerous markets here on the Fraser Coast, where the men and women work hard at producing jams, cakes & condiments to fill your gift baskets. I am going to kick off with a few recipes ideas of my own to get you started.

Sweet Chilli Sauce

3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup + 4 tbsp sugar
2 tbs rice wine
1 tbs sambal oelek or 2 tbs dried red chilli flakes
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbs water
2 drops of natural red food colouring (optional)

Place all ingredients except for the cornflour mixture in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring regularly.

Once the sugar is dissolved stir in the cornflour mixture, stirring continually until thickened, about a minute or two.

Let the sauce cool completely, pour into airtight sterilised jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months unopened or 2 weeks after opening.

Cucumber and Onion Relish

6 cucumbers 6” shredded and drained
2 ½ cups onions shredded
1 tbsp salt
2 cups white vinegar
½ tablespoon turmeric
1 ½ cup white sugar
3 ½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Soak the cucumbers for at least half an hour before scrubbing them to ensure they are clean. Cut them into quarters lengthwise, then in eighths crosswise (remove the seeds if the cucumbers are big). Place them in the food processor. Once chopped, drain for 5 minutes through colander.

Measure cucumber bits (you should have about 5 cups). Place into a bowl and add chopped onions and salt. Mix well and let stand 1 hour. Drain off liquid.

Place the prepared vegetables into a large pot. Add vinegar, turmeric, sugar, mustard seeds, and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 1 hour, stirring often. Veggies should be crisply tender.

Ladle the relish into the canning jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops.

Seal jars with lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath so they are covered by 1 inch of water. Simmer but do not boil for 10 minutes to process.

Remove from the water to a tea towel or bakers rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Test jars for a good seal by pressing on the centre of the lid.

Mint Jelly

2 cups fresh mint firmly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp powdered pectin
2 drops green food colouring (optional)

Blend mint and the water in a blender until mint is finely chopped.

Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and let steep for 45 mins. Strain mixture into a container, reserving 2 tablespoons of the blended mint, put to one side.

Return strained liquid to the pot along with 2 tablespoons of the powdered pectin, boil for 1 minute. Add lemon juice and sugar boil for 2 mins. Remove from heat. Stir in food colouring and reserved finely chopped mint. Transfer into sterilised hot jars.


All the recipes above are suitable for canning. Use the canning method in the cucumber and onion
relish recipe. Canning jars and preserving kits can be found at most major retailers in and around
the Fraser Coast. Canning is not recommended without using the proper canning jars. The recipes
I have provided can also be put into sterilised well sealed re-purposed jars and stored in the fridge
without canning.

Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…”
Dr. Seuss