Something that you find in pretty much every hamper, is a type of jam or chutney. Preserves are great gifts as they last for a long time, and one big batch can make several jars. I particularly like this chutney in a homemade hamper as its something savoury to go with all those sweet things, and its got ingredients that are in season in winter and liked by most. No worrying if you chucked in too much chilli for granny or where you're going to buy figs in December. Giving preserves as gifts is also a great reason to clear out the fridge of all those jam jars with a tablespoon of mouldy jam left in them and use them for something new!
1kg cooking apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
500g eating apples, peeled and cut into large pieces
450g sliced onions
50g fresh root ginger, chopped
250ml cider vinegar
Add all the ingredients apart from cranberries to a large saucepan and pit on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for around 50mins. Until the apples are tender and no watery juice remains.
Add the cranberries and cook for another 10mins until the cranberries have softened and turned the chutney red, but only a few have burst.
Spoon the chutney into sterilised jam jars and seal. To sterilise the jars, wash them in hot soapy water then put in the oven at 120C/gas mark 1 until completely dry.
Wack a bit of ribbon round the top with a little label, and you're done!
I'm not a big chutney person myself but I always keep a jar back for me to make a few cheese, chutney, ham and salad sandwiches (in that order of course, no one wants chutney making your bread soggy)