1. Weck Jars
I fell in love with these jars about three years ago when I learned that there was BPA in the lining of my classic canning jar lids. I was completely devastated to learn that all the while I thought I had been canning to keep my family safe from chemicals, that I was actually still feeding them chemical laden pickles, jams, etc… I have used Weck jars religiously ever since and I have never looked back. They are very easy to can with, I have only had one or two jars not seal in the last three years. They are made of all glass – even the lids. There is a rubber ring that seals the jars that is completely non-toxic and stainless steel clamps that keep the lid tight against the jar. These jars come in tons of different shapes and sizes and although they are a little more spendy, they will last a lifetime. The clips and rubber rings are very inexpensive to replace if need be. When I first started using them, they were not available at any local retailers near me and had to be ordered online. Now they are available at William Sonoma, Cost Plus World Market and Crate and Barrel. But I still find that the best deal is to wait until the Mighty Nest has a 20% off coupon circulate and to order them from them. The MightyNest also has super fast free shipping (free if your order is over $50, otherwise it’s only $5.95). Shop non-toxic, natural & organic products for your home at MightyNest.com FYI – If your mom isn’t into canning, these jars are also awesome for keeping nuts, grains and legumes in as well.
2. Fermentation Crock
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! I haven’t made the leap to actually buy a crock yet, no one really needs a crock to ferment food because there are tons of DIY blogs that show you how to create your own. But as a gift, I think it would be well received! I’m in love with this hand-thrown one sold at William Sonoma. It’s made with a non-toxic glaze that is food safe and lead-free. If you don’t know why fermented foods are beneficial, head over to my KimChee post and read why. I specifically would use this crock to make sauerkraut. These Harsch Gairtopf ones sold on Amazon.com are also very highly reviewed crocks and would be another great option for the fermented food lover in your life.
3. Raised Garden Beds
We have TONS of bunnies in our neighborhood and they love to devour my raspberry bush and strawberry plants. Raised gardens help keep some of the pests out, they extend the growing season, they are beneficial for water drainage and taller raised gardens are easier on the back, especially for the elderly. If you are handy, building a raised garden from recycled wood would be the most cost effective option, but make sure you know what type of wood you are using and find out if it has been treated with anything. You wouldn’t want any toxic chemicals leaching into the soil! If you are not at all ready to attempt this task on your own and would prefer to buy one, I found some safe and affordable options for you at to check out at: RaisedBedGardenKits.com.
4. Cheese Making Kits
Why make your own cheese? Number one reason for me is because I can control what is in the cheese. Having no artificial ingredients or GMOs is very important to me. Plus it’s super inexpensive! I found some great cheese kit options for you here from the UrbanCheeseCraft that don’t contain any GMOs.
5. Lodge Cast Iron Cookware
The Lodge brand has been around for over a century. Their pre-seasoned cookware is built to last longer than you and I. They offer beautiful enameled dutch ovens and other cookware that unlike some of their competitors, are completely lead-free and cadmium-free. They are also a heck of a lot more affordable than other brands too. Anyone that loves to cook will enjoy cooking with any piece from Lodge.