These herbs, grown under lights, should be ready by Christmas. (Mary Lowther photo)

These herbs, grown under lights, should be ready by Christmas. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Making Christmas gifts from the garden

It’s not too early to get the ball rolling on presents we can make

By Mary Lowther

I love Christmas. I love Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, the Christmas tree, dinner, visiting friends and relatives and exchanging gifts. Mom used to give me a poinsettia at Christmas. She also used to let me know when the clocks would fall back and now that she’s gone, I never know what time it is, but that’s another story.

My favourite gifts were those made by the gift giver. One year my dad made a utensil hanger, another year he repaired a turntable/radio and gave that to me. I listened to Candle Light and Wine every night on CHQM, 103.5 on the dial. My former sister-in-law gave us tea towels she had made with our initials embroidered in the corners. Sometimes she made jam.

It’s not too early to get the ball rolling on presents we can make from our gardens that might be remembered with the same fondness I maintain for gifts I’ve received in the past. Here are some ideas.

Start several pots of herbs and put them into a tray that can sit on a windowsill. Fresh herbs don’t come cheap, but if one has her own supply, one can cook like a pro. Or put together the ingredients and enclose a copy of a recipe using peas or beans plus veggies and herbs one might have dried. Speaking of dried herbs, they can constitute a great gift on their own, with enclosed suggestions on how to use them.

Root vegetable chips might be welcome. Thinly slice potatoes, turnips, carrots or beets and as you do it, soak them in a salty water solution. Towel them off and dehydrate them until they’re crispy.

One gal from Korea made kimchi for her relatives every year. Kimchi is just Korean style hot sauerkraut.

Here’s a recipe like the one she described:

1 cabbage

¾ cup kosher salt

2 green onions, sliced diagonally

¼ onion, minced

1 clove pressed garlic

1 T. honey

½ tsp. ginger

2 ½ T. chile powder

½ apple

½ pear

Chop cabbage (I like to slice it thinly like for sauerkraut), place in large bowl, sprinkle with salt, mix well and let sit for six hours. Rinse off salt, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Put into a cool place for four days, then tamp down into jars. I keep mine in the fridge. Kimchi adds a nice crunchy, salty flavour to salads and a je ne sais quoi to dinner or sandwiches.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben Maartman, left, and Murray McNab are running for regional director for Area H North Oyster-Diamond in a Cowichan Valley Regional District byelection later this month. (Photos submitted)
Preliminary Area H by-election results show Maartman up by seven votes, McNab to ask for recount

Results of the by-election to by finalized by noon on Tuesday, December 1

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Cowichan MP hosting virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MP’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Santa will be in Honeymoon Bay on Dec. 13. (File photo)
Santa to visit Honeymoon Bay on Dec. 13

Families must call ahead due to pandemic

“Say cheese, uh, apple… nine-year-old Jason Moran and mum Bonnie are all smiles over a number of sales made during “apple day” of local cubs and beavers. Jason, a wolf cub, was one of 22 boys who, with the ready assistance of mothers, sold several boxes of apples in money-raising scheme for various projects.” (<em>The Lake News</em> Nov. 26, 1980)
Flashback: Crime wave, canoe misfortune and a highway lawsuit

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Probe continues into grisly mid-Island discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
ATV rider goes over embankment and dies on back road near Nanaimo

45-year-old man from Errington died in incident Saturday afternoon

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
Fifth COVID-19 exposure reported on flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Most Read