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.


Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read