Do you have a foodie on your holiday list?

Ideas for shopping.

If you have a “foodie” on your shopping list this holiday season, you’re not alone! It seems like more and more people desire to be “in the know” when it comes to food and its preparation. There are many things you could purchase, just be sure to keep food safety in mind when making your list.

If you have someone who has a garden, or wants to start one, the ideas are endless – a bucket filled with hand tools, seeds, and starter pots is a good place to begin. Garden books are a great addition to anyone’s library, and planning can be done over the winter for the next growing season. If home food preservation is on their bucket lists, how about a supply of jars and lids, pectin, or canning salt. A good, research-based canning recipe book is also a must. “So Easy to Preserve” by the National Center for Home Food Preservation covers everything they would need, from canning and freezing to dehydrating. You might be in a situation that you could gift a canner, or even the Michigan State University Extension online Food Preservation course - the course is inexpensive and covers the basics of canning, pickles, jams and jellies, pressure and hot water bath canning, and dehydrating.

A dehydrator makes a great gift! You could pair it with an herb garden or supplies to make jerky, like liquid smoke and various spices. Either way, they will get a chance to make good foods in their own kitchen.

Cutting boards are a very important part of preparing foods safely. You can now purchase packs of boards in different colors so the cook can avoid cross contamination. The green one can be for vegetables, the red one for red meat, the yellow for poultry and white for fruits, etc. The pack could be paired with some knives, and wrapped in holiday towels to complete the gift.

Thermometers are very important as a way to ensure safe food. Refrigerator and freezer thermometers could be included in a box with fancy ice cube trays or food-grade freezer containers. Instant read meat thermometers are easy to use when checking if meats are cooked to a safe temperature – and bimetallic stem thermometers are relatively inexpensive. Tied in a bow above a casserole dish would be a good way to encourage proper cooking temperatures.

No matter what you get the “foodie” on your list this holiday, Michigan State University Extension recommends that you keep food safety in mind. If you would like more information about food safety, contact your local MSU Extension office, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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