Every December, I share ideas and recipes that make delicious food gifts. These ideas have ranged from tags and bags to suggestions for food gifts that include homemade treats, kitchen tools, and of course my books.
This year, I’ve added to the food gift ideas with a meal-in-a-jar recipe in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. It was surprisingly straightforward to adapt one of my favorite fresh soup recipes so that it could be gifted in a jar, ready to by pulled from the cupboard and made on a chilly night with minimal added ingredients. It still packs all of the flavor of the fresh recipe without relying on salt-heavy bouillon cubes or store-bought seasoning blends. It’s also easy to scale up or down for larger or smaller households and to make multiple jars to cover everyone on your gifting list.
Learn more about adapting soup recipes and get the complete recipe for Mixed-Bean Soup as a mason jar gift in my column.
Twice as Tasty
The recipe in my column includes all of the instructions you need to share when you gift a jar of this soup mix. If you’d rather not write them out by hand, you can print them out as a two-sided recipe card instead; just click here.
When you’re packing this soup into mason jars, a few of these tips and tricks may come in handy:
- For the onion and garlic, I prefer flakes to powder for the texture they add to the soup. Both are easy to slice and dry in a dehydrator and then pulse into flakes in a food processor or electric coffee grinder. Onion flakes are also easy to find with other dried herbs and spices at a natural food store; garlic may be more easily found in granules than flakes.
- A quart jar of this soup seems an ideal gifting size for most families, especially because the soup keeps well once it’s made and the leftovers can be even tastier than the first night’s meal. If you prefer smaller portions for a couple, cut the recipe in half and pack it into a wide-mouth pint jar. If you have a 24-ounce jar, the same style I often use for pickled asparagus, put in 1/3 cup of each type of bean and slightly less of the spice blend for a pretty, midsize presentation.
- When filling multiple jars, I set up an assembly line of jars and then went down the row adding each type of bean before I moved on to the next layer. But I found I got the most consistent spice blend if I filled each bag separately, rather than making a master mix and dividing it.
- The instructions I include in my column and on the recipe card are for a quick soak and stovetop cooking, but the beans can be soaked overnight in cold water and the soup can be made in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or multicooker. Since such tools can vary widely in their settings and timings, it’s best to refer to the machine’s manual, or a favorite bean soup recipe you already cook in it, for cooking instructions.
- This soup hits all the right notes for vegetarians and vegans, but the mix can be enhanced with a ham bone, turkey carcass, or other meaty bits. I love it with a dollop of Homemade Sour Cream and a side of crusty Sourdough Cabin Bread.
Learn more about using dried beans in this blog post.
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic; it’s only available here.