Whether you combine them in baskets of gourmet treats or tuck them into a stocking, homemade preserves, salsas, chutneys and jams are always a welcome gift. Here are three treats made with seasonal ingredients — citrus, onions and cranberries — to make the holidays tasty.

H O N E Y - T A N G E R I N E   M A R M A L A D E

3 lbs. seedless tangerines or mandarin oranges
2 lemons
5 cups water
4 cups white sugar
12 cup honey
Place a small plate in the freezer to use later on for testing the doneness of your marmalade. Wash six half-pint canning jars and place in a hot water bath to sterilize. Scrub the citrus well (I use a kitchen scrubbie sponge) with hot water to remove any wax. Trim away the ends of the fruit, then slice each into quarters. Remove seeds from the lemon. Using a sharp knife, cut citrus flesh from the peels, then slice peels into very thin strips. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the peels only and simmer for two minutes to remove any bitter flavor from the pith, then remove from heat, drain, and set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, bring citrus flesh, peels and water to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until peels are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in sugar and honey, increase heat to medium and return to a boil. Cook until marmalade is reduced by half, begins to thicken, and turns an amber color, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. When nearing the end of the cooking time, keep testing for doneness by placing a small amount on the plate that’s been chilled in the freezer and freeze for two minutes. It’s done if a thin film develops on the surface and the marmalade stiffens and looks like jam. If it spreads out into a puddle it’s not done and needs further cooking. Remove from heat, pour into prepared jars and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Confit d’Oignon is French onion marmalade that makes a great condiment for those sandwiches made from leftover ham or turkey. This smoky version is also delicious served on baguette slices with goat cheese for hors d’oeuvres.

F R E N C H   O N I O N   &   B A C O N   J A M

112 lbs. bacon, finely chopped
3 large onions, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
13 cup dry red wine
13 cup red wine vinegar
13 cup balsamic vinegar
12 cup packed brown sugar
12 tsp. dried oregano
14 tsp. ground nutmeg
In a deep, heavy skillet, cook bacon until crisp and fat has rendered, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate. Remove and discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat in skillet. Add onions, leek, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Cook on medium heat until caramelized and soft, stirring occasionally. Add wine, vinegars, sugar, oregano, nutmeg, bacon and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook 15 minutes or until onions are very soft.

Transfer mixture to food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to four hot, sterilized half-pint jars and process according to manufacturer’s directions.
This final recipe is my favorite for holiday giving: easy to make large quantities, spicy yet sweet, and a deep Christmasy red in color.

C R A N B E R R Y   S A L S A

1 cup water
liquid from one 12-oz. jar canned jalapeño peppers
2 cups sugar
2 12-oz. packages fresh cranberries
1 12-oz. jar chopped canned jalapeño peppers
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
juice from 2 limes
Combine water, jalapeño liquid and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add cranberries; return to a boil. Gently boil cranberries for 10 minutes without stirring. Pour berries into a large mixing bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Pack into hot, sterilized jars and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about six half-pint jars.