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.