Spices add flavour, aroma and colour to the lives of those who receive them and have many beneficial qualities which make them a precious gift.
Follow our guide to make inexpensive, easy gifts with one thing in common: spices.
Place your gifts in sterilised jars and decorate them with ribbon, fabric and personalised labels.
If you want to add a little something, accompany the gift with a suitable item: for example, a cheese or spoon for the chutney or a plate for the biscuits.
For the kitchen
Chutney is the perfect homemade gift that its recipient can enjoy all year round.
Try our recipe for apricot chutney.
For the home
The perfect present for house-proud friends is spiced potpourri which will give their home a wonderful aroma.
Go wandering through a forest and collect pine cones and purchase some essential oils.
Fill a preloved or purchased jar for a special homemade gift.
Be careful when picking elements and aromas.
Use dried flowers and herbs, such as rose petals and lavender.
You can also use citrus peels, dehydrating them in the oven at 40°C.
When it comes to spices, you can use aniseed, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, sugar and coriander.
The spices should be partly crushed to release their aroma while still looking pretty.
Place your fl owers, herbs and spices in a jar and set aside for a week, stirring every day.
Your potpourri will then be ready to place in ceramic bowls, on silver trays or in sachets.
A pomander is a ball or perforated container of aromatic substances.
If you’re looking for a charming gift but don’t want to spend too much, this is the perfect idea.
Decorate oranges or lemons with cloves and a string so they can be hung around the home.
There are many cosmetic products you can prepare for loved ones who like to treat themselves with natural ingredients.
For the body
For this scrub you’ll need cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom.
Ginger and cardamom are antioxidants and therefore help fi ght signs of ageing.
Cinnamon and cardamom are astringents and help rid the skin of dead cells.
Furthermore, these four spices aid circulation and stimulate the cells, have antibacterial properties and can help clear up acne and other bacterial infections.
Method: Mix equal parts of the four ground spices (1⁄4 tsp of each).
Add a liquid of your choice: water for normal skin; a chamomile infusion for dry skin; or rosewater for oily skin.
Acne is best treated with an aloe vera gel.
Fill glass jars with the scrub and decorate them with an instructions tag.
Rum and spice aftershave
The perfect gift for the man who has everything is an aftershave made from rum and witch hazel and scented with bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla.
This homemade aftershave is completely natural with no preservatives.
Ingredients: 1 cup witch hazel, 1 cup water, 3 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 1 orange, ½ cinnamon stick, 1 sprig of parsley, ½ tsp vanilla, 100 ml rum.
Method: Place the witch hazel and water in a small saucepan and heat over low heat.
Grate the orange zest and add it to the saucepan.
Leave to infuse over low heat for 1 hour.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and rum.
Set aside to cool.
Filter the liquid into a sterilised glass bottle.
You can decorate the bottle with a Christmas-themed bow.