Don’t have time to try new recipes? Want to have homemade value-added products on hand, but don’t have the time to make them all? The next time you and a group of foodie friends get together, make it a food swap.
You may be familiar with a recipe swap; I belong to an online recipe swap blog for local bloggers. A food swap is similar. Its a party where, based on pre-established guidelines, all guests provide multiple portions of food items, and each guest takes home a number of different items made by others. Food swaps are a great idea for two huge reasons: you can try foods/recipes you might not be familiar with or have thought of, and you can save a huge amount of time by making a large quantity of one item, but get the benefits of coming away with a variety of dishes and foods.
This can take many forms and themes. Here’s five themes to get you started, after the jump…
- Nerd’s Eye View attended a soup swap. Each guest made six frozen portions of a homemade soup. The hosts then drew numbers, and each guest took turns picking a container to take home until each had six. The host even had prizes for the first soup selected and the last.
- If you’ve got several gardening friends, try a harvest produce swap. Many gardeners have something that produces more than they need. For us (and many others), it’s basil. For others, tomatoes or zucchini. Bring your surplus and swap for what you didn’t grow. Think about it: if everyone planted different tomato varieties–you can take home those zebras that you might not have planted, yet make sure your extra beefsteaks find a good home.
- Indulge your DIY side with a value-added swap. Maybe you jar your own salsa, pesto, or pasta sauce or can your own jams and jellies. These make great swap items It doesn’t take much to bottle your own flavored oils or vinegars, and I bet jars of marinated feta would be hot items. Even non-cooks can make spice blends or dip mixes.
- Rookie Moms recommend parents who make their own baby food participate in swaps. That way, you can get a variety of foods without the mess of multiple batches.
- For busy households, a frozen dinner swap is the homegrown version of those meal-prep shops–at a fraction of the cost. Each person brings enough four-serving portions of a freezable dinner for each guest: think casseroles, pastas, perhaps a pan of enchiladas. Presto! You’ve got several dinners on hand for busy nights when you don’t have time to cook