Every year I put a basket of home-canned goods in the gift exchanges at my in-laws welcome to the story of the 2017 gift basket.

Some of my earliest memories include watching my grandmother canning salmon at her summer home and making, (and eating), blackberry jam and canned peaches, and I have gardened since I can remember in whatever capacity my living arrangements have allowed. A few years after joining the in-laws’ gift exchange, which encourages local, homemade, gifts if possible, I was lucky enough to get a space in the local community garden. When my garden started to over-produce I turned to canning, and when I was short a gift in the gift exchange one year I dove into the pantry. At our gift exchange people steal gifts after they are unwrapped and when my first pantry gift was stolen more than any other a new tradition was born: the basket of canning in the gift exchange.

“Work” on the year’s basket starts in January or February, whenever I get some citrus and make some marmalade, and continues, often, until just before Christmas when I’m looking for one last thing to add to the basket. I’m starting to have a collection of recipes and ideas, so it’s time to share them. This blog is the story of everything that goes into the basket this year, from growing in the garden through harvest, processing, and maybe even giving. It’s also a place to write about things related to producing the basket: gardening, canning, fermenting, cooking, baking, food, the environment, and finally, eating!

Welcome to The Basket’s journey from idea to gift.