No pressure, but there’s just under a hundred days left until Christmas. Fortunately, with the bounty of the garden available to us, we can get a jump on some gourmet gifts from the kitchen.

I feel a bit foolish churning out lots of jars of relish when the cucumbers and peppers are at flood stage, knowing that I could buy a fairly acceptable jar of relish for just over a dollar. But then guests in my home left behind an assortment of jars of fancyland condiments: hot dilled carrots, garlic scape relish, sauerkraut and various jams, with price tags in the $7 to $9 range, and I decided my canning efforts would be considered luxury items in a Christmas stocking.

The left-behind carrots I sampled were a bit too vinegary and hot for my taste, but here’s a recipe for sweeter, yet tangy pickled carrots that can be made from either smaller-sized roots or from larger ones cut into spears. It makes four pint jars, but can be doubled so you’ll have some for giving.

S P I C Y   P I C K L E D   C A R R O T S

812 cups peeled small carrots
512 cups vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. canning salt
3 Tbsp. pickling spice
4 pint jars
Wash and rinse canning jars. Keep them hot until ready to use by placing them on a baking sheet in the oven, set on the lowest temperature. Prepare the lids and sealing bands according to manufacturer’s directions.

Wash carrots well and peel. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and canning salt in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for three minutes. Add carrots and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat until the carrots are half-cooked, five to ten minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them, and then remove. Divide pickling spice evenly between the jars, then fill still-warm jars with the hot carrots, leaving a one-inch headspace. Cover carrots with hot pickling liquid, leaving a half-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by running a clean knife through the carrots and liquid. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel, place the canning lids on, and process the jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.

Another golden jar of goodness is ginger carrot relish, a condiment that raises sushi rolls, tacos and wraps to another level. This recipe makes about three pints.

G I N G E R   C A R R O T   R E L I S H

2 lbs. peeled carrots
2 cups unseasoned rice wine vinegar
112 cups water
9 3- to 4-inch strips of peeled, fresh ginger root
3 whole star anise
3 1-inch pieces cinnamon stick
34 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. canning salt
Sterilize jars and lids as above. Use a julienne blade on a mandoline or food processor or a vegetable peeler to cut carrots into matchstick pieces about three inches long. In a stainless-steel pot, combine the vinegar, water, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the star anise from the brine and divide them evenly between the jars. Add the carrot sticks to the brine and bring the liquid back to a boil, about two minutes. Remove from heat and quickly use tongs or a slotted spoon to divide the carrot sticks between the jars, also adding three strips of ginger to each jar. Leaving a half-inch of headspace, ladle hot brine over the carrot sticks, being sure to cover them. Run a knife through the jars to release air bubbles. Moisten a paper towel with hot water and wipe the rims of the jars. Place a lid on each jar and screw on rings to fingertip tightness. Place jars in a canner filled with boiling water to cover the jars by two inches. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the jars to a cooling rack or towel-lined counter to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

Sungold or red cherry tomatoes are clustered like grapes on the vine these days, pumping out their fruit before frost cuts them off at the knees. We roast them for sauce, eat them in omelettes, quiches and gratins, and still it seems that bowls of them cover every kitchen surface. Cook them into this maple jam, which can be used in place of catsup on burgers or fig jam on a cheese board. Best of all, no peeling is needed. Just stem and rinse the tomatoes and you’re ready to go. Makes four to five half pints

S U N G O L D   M A P L E   J A M

312 lbs. Sungold (or red cherry) tomatoes
3 cups maple sugar
12 cup bottled lemon juice
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
12 tsp. each red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper
Prepare a boiling-water bath and sufficient jars as above. Cut the tomatoes in half and heap them in a stainless pan with the sugar, lemon juice, ginger, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the pot over high heat and bring contents to a vigorous boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring regularly, until the jam reduces and begins to get thick and glossy. Stir constantly as it thickens to ensure that jam doesn’t burn. Remove the pot from the heat and funnel finished jam into hot jars, leaving a half-inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes. When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.