Wrapping It Up

To describe the recent upsurge in people engaging in home baking, candy making, pickling, canning, pasta making and fermenting (and the list goes on and on) as a simple craze would be a vast understatement. Everywhere I go, another person is peddling goods such as homemade summer fruit jams, shortbread cookies, chocolate truffles, pickled garlic and fresh canned peaches. Each year, without fail, I receive from friends jars of locally picked blackberry and strawberry jams, homemade digestifs and hand dipped candies. Even my own fridge is so crowded with green tomato pickles, cucumber and cabbage kimchi and fresh apricot preserves (all homemade, of course) that I hardly have room for any fresh products.

While I am proficient at producing many different types of goods, I am far less adept at packaging them nicely and sometimes I actually want to offer the fruits of my labor to others, rather than just overloading my fridge with them. There are some people who have the means, both in terms of finance and free time, to custom design their own packaging, but alas, I am not one of them. Here are a few places I go to when I want to make my homemade goods look as great as they taste.

Felix Doolittle, a small printing company in Massachusetts, sells an array of beautiful labels that feature delicate, hand painted designs. When you order their labels, they also personalize them for you with your name as well as the name of your creation. These gorgeous little works of art make any simple jar or box pop. Zazzle.com also offers customizable labels in dozens of design varieties, and while they’re not as beautiful as the aforementioned, they are much less expensive.

As far as packaging your goods goes, the options are truly endless. I happen to be a fan of simple, old school mason jars and find that Kitchen Krafts sells a good variety of shapes and styles of these jars as well as a great selection of secured lid bottles for things like infused vinegars and oils. Cost Plus also sells many decorative storage containers that are good for things like homemade granolas, soup blends and spiced nuts. If you happen to live near an Ikea, (and really, who doesn't these days?) they also offer a constantly rotating collection of interesting jars and storage containers.

For other packaging needs such as decorative boxes, bags and ribbon I quite like the always adorable and tasteful things found on Martha Stewart's site. If you're not sure what you need and are just looking for ideas, take a look at Packaging Supersource and peruse their plethora of boxes, bags and containers that come in every size, shape and style.

With all of these options, you really no longer have an excuse for bringing holiday cookies to friends in your mother’s recycled cookie tins.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
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            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students.