How to Personalize a Homemade Food Gift Basket

by : Janet Vogel

Gifts of food can be given to anyone for holidays or other special occasions. These gifts will be appreciated by family, friends, coworkers, or anyone else on your gift list. Creating your own food gift basket can be a very special gift as you can personalized it with the recipient's favorite candy, cookies, wine, or other food or beverage items.

When selecting foods to place in your gift basket, make sure they are fresh and check any expiration dates. It's difficult to include foods that are perishable and require refrigeration, so keep that in mind when you are choosing items to place in a food gift basket. Fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderful items because they are inexpensive, colorful, and readily available. However, it's better if you choose fruits that are not yet ripe; oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and apples are good choices because they are more hearty.

In addition to wicker baskets, there are many other containers to choose from. Unbreakable bowls are appropriate for most food themes and it is easy to assemble your gifts in bowls. If you are trying to stay within a budget, shop at your local discount or dollar store. My local dollar store has a nice variety of large plastic bowls and serving trays that are sturdy and attractive. If you decide to use a serving tray, choose one with sides as the assembly will be easier.

Breakfast Basket:
This make a great gift for a hostess when you are an overnight guest, or as a housewarming, anniversary or wedding gift. It's also a nice gift idea for a large family.

Choose a wicker tray or basket with handles as it will be easier to work with than one without handles. Fill the container with shredded brown paper, straw, or purchased shred. If desired, add a couple of rolled napkins. Select food items that one would eat or drink for breakfast; herbal tea, coffee or coffee beans, small bag or box of pancake mix, bottle of maple syrup, jams, jellies, and a small jar of honey for the tea drinkers. If there are small children in the family, include several serving size boxes of dry cereal. Add several fresh oranges or grapefruits and a couple of lemons. Since an overflowing gift basket looks better than a sparse one, fill in any empty spaces with colorful silk flowers or greenery. A nice decorative touch is to include a wooden spoon or a wire whisk tied with curly ribbon or a bow.

Pizza Basket:
Create this gift basket for a student going away to college or anyone setting up their first home.

Use a pizza pan or pizza stone as a container to hold the food items. Place several red checkered napkins or tea towels on the pan or stone to help position and anchor the other items. Include gifts such as pizza dough mix, pizza sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder or a bulb of fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, a small bottle of olive oil, grating cheese, a cheese grater, and a pizza cutter. If you prefer an easier method, use a wicker basket instead of the pizza stone or pan.

Asian Food Basket:
Make this gift basket for anyone who enjoys Chinese food. It's also a great gift for a bridal shower or wedding.

Use a wok or bamboo steamer as the container and fill it with the makings of delicious Asian cuisine: soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, ginger grater, a bulb of garlic, cornstarch, Asian noodles, duck sauce, a stir fry spatula, and a cookbook. Tie curly ribbon or raffia around several sets of chopsticks and position them throughout the basket. Don't forget to add some fortune cookies.

After you have completed your food gift basket, you may want to place it in a cello bag or wrap it in cello paper; the bags are much easier to work with. This will help in transporting your gift basket and keep it dust free. If you choose to use cello, you can place ribbon or other decorative items before placing the basket in the bag, on the outside of the cello wrapped basket, or both. A nice idea is to place a decorative item amongst the food items before placing it the cello. You will need to use ribbon or raffia to tie the bag closed above the basket. It looks really nice if you allow curly ribbon or steamers to cascade down the front of the completed basket.