If you’re planning to give people hampers, you really do need to be planning to give people hampers because filling them with food made by you from ingredients you’ve harvested yourself is both cheap and endearing but it needs to be done in season. You may have:
- Fruit you can jam and vegetables you can pickle
- Lemons to preserve or make lemon butter with
- Herbs to dry
- Neighbours with bountiful crops (Non-cooks will often be happy to give you a bucket of their excess plums if you’re making jam and will tithe them some)
You can round out anything you can get for free with things that you have to pay for but if you build the bones of your hamper collection from your own surplus, you can keep costs down nicely.
So if you think you’d like to make hampers for your family and friends this year, start a new list in your list book of potential contents.
Book club was at Sharon’s house last night. Her new kitten (which came from an animal shelter, thus covering all the items on her wish list) was outrageously cute but I do wish we’d spent more time talking about “The Return of the Soldier” than marveling at kitten antics.
 Within reasonable limits. Auntie Margie used to pickle watermelon rinds and swear that they were good with pork chops but Uncle Geoff called it pig food and refused to eat it. It was a sore point between them and the only subject they disagreed on more was football.
 Do the preserves early in the year because they last a long time but lemon butter has a fridge life of two months so don’t make it till December.
 Actually, people who have buckets of excess plums are usually happy to give them to anyone who’ll take them.
 There are plenty of biscuits that keep well enough to hamper-ise. (Gingerbread and shortbread are particularly hardy.)