submitted by Priscilla Paras-Huerta

The season of giving is upon us again (my how 2009 has gone by so fast). Instead of running around trying to find the perfect gift for friends and family, I have started an annual tradition of giving homemade gifts in a jar. There are many recipes on the internet, but I would like to share two of my best received ones. This allows me to spend time with the kids and make unique presents to share.

Healthy Eating,
Priscilla Paras-Huerta

12 wide-mouth pint (2-cup) canning jars with lid and rings

14 lb assorted dried peas, beans and lentils, at least 8 different varieties
    Choose from pink beans, black beans, baby lima beans, navy beans,
    black beans, lentils, red lentils, black eyed peas, pinto beans, great
    white northern beans, split peas, small red beans, white beans

12 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes (OK to use low sodium)

12 bay leaves


  1. Wash, rinse and dry canning jars.
  2. Layer beans in jars. Add 1/4-cup of each type of bean to the jars, layering the beans. Choose the most colorful bean for the bottom layers of the jar. Add eight 1/4-cup layers to each jar.
  3. Place 1 bay leaf and one bouillon cube on top of the beans in each jar.
  4. Seal each jar using lids and rings.
  5. Print appropriate amount of copies of gift tags. Cut gift tags apart and attach to jars with ribbon.

Gift tags to include these instructions:

  1. Set aside bouillon cube and bay leaf.  Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. Add 6-8 cups of hot water. Bring to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain soak water and rinse beans.
  2. Place beans in a large pot. Add 6 cups water, 1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes in juice, bay leaf, and bouillon cube.
  3. Simmer gently until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.