gotham kitchen


the ultimate edible DIY gift guide

the ultimate edible diy gift guideEvery holiday for me is the same struggle. I typically wait up until Dec. 15 to even start thinking of gifts, then it’s a crazy stressed-out 2 weeks to get everything for everyone on my list. Well, last year I had a total breakthrough that changed the way I do gifting. I made things easier on myself by choosing an overarching theme for all of the gifts I give. For example, you could do a book theme and give everyone on your list their favorite genre of book, along with DIY bookmarks and cozy blankets and mugs for tea. Or a cooking theme and give everyone the best gadgets to make their favorite foods (i.e. my sister once got a ravioli maker with semolina flour from Italy and a jar of truffle pesto).

This year I’m going all-out DIY. I love receiving DIY gifts, especially ones that are food-related. They’re so thoughtful and you know the person put in the time to make it just for you. Plus, we all know that homemade jams are a million times better than the jellied versions you buy in the store.

See below my favorite gifts for diy-ing this year:

  1. Preserved Lemons
    f you’re not familiar with preserved lemons, you need to be ASAP. They’re used primarily in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking but can be used in a variety of recipes (basically anything that calls for a salty lemon). These are extremely easy and cost-effective to make.
    easy preserved lemons - gotham kitchen
  2. Homemade Fruit-Infused Vinegars
    Sure, you could go to a fancy olive oil store and get a fruit flavored vinegar OR you could make it yourself. Easily. These would be so great for making homemade vinaigrettes.

    Courtesy of Hello Creative Family (
  3. Flavored Salt
    This is one of my favorites because, well, everyone uses salt. And you can get as crazy or traditional on flavors as you want (like red wine and rosemary!). And think of all the creative ways you can package these!

    flavored salt
    Courtesy of Chew Town (
  4. Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend
    My mother-in-law gave me a DIY jar of Cajun seasoning once and i use it ALL the time. It’s great for jambalaya, gumbos, and as a standalone chicken and potato seasoning.

    Courtesy of Sprinkles and Sprouts (
    Courtesy of Sprinkles and Sprouts (
  5. DIY Mushroom Risotto in a Jar
    A great gift for your fellow foodies, this jar is filled with arborio rice, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and a variety of dried mushrooms. Just add broth and parmesan!

    Courtesy of Enjoy Tribute (
  6. Homemade Cashew Butter
    Anyone who doesn’t love cashew butter is crazy. This stuff is the Cadillac of nut butters. Gift this liquid gold with a homemade jam (see #8) or a hearty bread mix. 

    Courtesy of Fit Mitten Kitchen (
  7. Roasted Sweet Vanilla Pecan Butter
    Speaking of nut butter, this sweet pecan version is sugar-free and perfect for your health-conscious loved ones.

    Courtesy of Strength & Sunshine (
  8. Raspberry Chia Jam
    Chia seeds are super trendy right now and make a great replacement for gelatin in puddings and jams with a major health boost.

    Courtesy of Garlic + Zest (
  9. Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn
    Bacon+booze+popcorn=can’t go wrong. 

    Courtesy of Bless Her Heart Ya’ll

  10. Homemade Popcorn Seasoning
    If you want a gift with a longer shelf-life, gift these unique popcorn seasoning jars. Flavors include gingerbread, chocolate, and a spicy fiesta flavor. YUM. 

    Courtesy of Real Food Real Deals (

  11. Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie in a Jar
    Cookie mixes in jars have been circulating around Pinterest for a while, but this version takes it to another level with the chocolate-on-chocolate-on-coconut combo. 

    Courtesy of The Pretty Bee (

  12. Chocolate Cherry Oat Scones in a Jar
    It’s no secret how much I love scones. Gift this chocolate cherry version with an artisanal tea and a big cozy mug. 

    Courtesy of Simple Seasonal (
  13. Hot Cocoa in a Jar 4 Ways
    Don’t underestimated the gift in a jar. These four cocoa recipes are amazingly decadent (like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup) and easy to throw together.

    Courtesy of Gringalicious (
    Courtesy of Gringalicious (
  14. 5-Minute Gingerbread Butter
    Yes, you head that correctly. Gingerbread butter. For spreading on toast, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, and pretty much everything.

    Courtesy of Treat Yourself Sweeter (
  15. Guinness Glazed Nuts
    Have a beer fan in your life? These Guinness glazed peanuts are super simple to make and would make a great gift paired with a 6-pack and pint glasses.

    Guinness glazed nuts
    Courtesy of ZagLeft (
  16. IPA Pickles
    Another great gift idea for beer lovers. These homemade pickles are simmered in your favorite craft IPA and would be perfectly accompanied by the rest of the 6-pack.

    Courtesy of Draft Magazine
  17. Strawberry Flavored Vodka
    For the more hard-core drinker in your life, you can DIY your own flavored vodka. Serve in a corked bottle with a custom label and their favorite mixer or drinking game.

    Courtesy of Delicious Everyday
  18. Homemade Chai Concentrate
    Skip the Starbucks gift card and make this super simple Chai concentrate that you can keep in the fridge for several weeks. Just add warm milk!

    homemade chai concentrate
    Courtesy of Whitbits Indian Kitchen

easy preserved lemons

Now that it’s winter, or at least cold and snowy, I’ve been going crazy making Moroccan stews, or tajines. They’re easy, fast, and OMG-level flavorful. But every time I make them, I come across an ingredient I never have on hand and always substitute: preserved lemons. What the heck are those? They’re basically lemons pickled in a brine of salt, spices and lemon juice and are considered a delicacy in North Africa. Had I known how simple they are to make, I would’ve made them ages ago and not substituted them for fresh lemons. We were snowed in this weekend for the first snow of the season so what better time to crank the oven and watch my lemons roast? I suggest using the pulp for marinades and chopping the soft rinds to add to your stews and even a roast chicken!

Also, these make great holiday gifts or stocking stuffers!

easy preserved lemons - gotham kitchen

easy preserved lemons with salt

easy preserved lemons
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy way to preserve lemons used for Moroccan stews, marinades, and more!
Recipe type: Ingredient
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 2 16oz jars
  • 5 lemons
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 16 oz canning jars
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice lemons in half then cut into about 8-10½" wedges.
  2. Spread lemon wedges evenly in a glass 9x13 pan. Cover with water. At least ¾ of lemon should be covered. Sprinkle salt over lemons and roast in oven for 3 hours.
  3. Add optional spice mixture to 2 separate 16 oz canning jars. Pour lemon and water mixture into jars, divided evenly. Use your preferred canning method. I always use the boiling water bath method demonstrated here.
  4. Once cool, refrigerate for up to 6 months.