10 Easy Items to Make for a Food Swap

Photo: Robin Shreeves.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be going to another Philly Food Swap where I’ll be swapping food that I’ve made for food that others have made. I’ll leave home with 10 jars filled in my kitchen and come home with 10 different items made in other people’s kitchens.

When I say I’ll be taking 10 jars of food, I don’t mean those jars will be filled with foods that I’ve processed or canned. I still haven’t canned a single item. I’ve frozen plenty of foods to preserve them, but hot water bath canning still hasn’t happened. Maybe this spring.

That doesn’t mean I can’t participate in a Food Swap, though. There are many things that can go in jars or other containers that are swappable. If you want to get in on the food swapping culture, but you’re not sure what you can contribute, here are 10 easy ideas.

  1. Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions – Everyone loves caramelized onions. Although they’re easy to make, they are time-consuming. It’s really nice to have a jar of them already cooked in the refrigerator or small portions of them in the freezer. Slow cook a big crock of these onions, divide it into jars, and label with refrigeration instructions for a food swap. (Shhhhhh.... Don't tell anyone. I've got a slow cooker full of these outside right now for tomorrow's swap. Yes, outside. They create quite a stink while cooking.)
  2. Taco Meat Seasonings Mix –If you quadruple this recipe, it will fit perfectly in a pint jar. Affix instructions that say use three tablespoons of mix per one pound of ground beef or turkey as well as the specific cooking instructions.
  3. Spicy Oven Fries Seasonings Mix – This recipe has been wildly popular here on MNN. Quadruple all of the seasonings needed for this mix and put in sealed jar. Attach the instructions, making sure to note that 5 1⁄2 teaspoons of the mix, four russet potatoes and two egg whites will be required for each batch.
  4. All-Natural Thin Mint Cookies – If you want everyone to covet what you’re swapping, take the time to make these cookies. A healthier version of everyone’s favorite Girl Scout cookie will be a big hit, especially since Girl Scout cookie season is winding down and people are trying to figure out where to get their fix.
  5. Homemade Crackers – Four basic ingredients are all that’s needed to make homemade crackers that are great for pairing with soups or topping with one of the jars of jam you’re sure to get at a food swap.
  6. Spice Mix for Olive Oil Bread Dip – Double this recipe and place it in a jar. Attach directions.
  7. Peanut Butter Granola Bars – These bars are easy to make and one batch can easily make four swapping items when cut into bars and packaged attractively.
  8. Mini Pumpkin Breads – Any quick breads are good for swapping, but this is a good recipe for a swap because it makes six 5x3 pans of moist, delicious pumpkin with one recipe.
  9. Chocolate Almond Bark – Good dark chocolate, roasted almonds and dried cranberries are all that are needed for this decadent treat.
  10. Hot Buttered Rum Batter – This is what I made to take to my very first food swap. It was a big hit before the holidays. This easy recipe is perfect for winter food swaps.

Before you take any of these items to a food swap, make sure you’ve tried them yourself. You need to be able to explain with confidence what you’ve made, and if you haven’t given your swapping items a try yourself, that’s going to be hard to do.