Every year for some time now I choose to make some type of consumable gift for friends and family. I do this not out of some protest against our "american" holiday consumer culture (because I buy all of the ingredients to make these gifts from a grocery store) but out of a desire to provide people with an experience with no stuff strings attached. I also like to make food crafts, so it is not completely altruistic.
This year, based on some feedback from my non-embibing friends, I decided to make mulling spice as part of my holiday assortment. Providing friends and family with a choose your own adventure sort of gift, as you can put mulling spices in apple cider, hard apple cider, wine, and coffee.
It was also a great opportunity to prove the utility of my oh-so-neglected (but greatly loved!) food dehydrator.
Many slices of dried orange and ginger later I was ready to put christmas cheer in a bag. I followed a recipe from a magazine clipping as a guideline, but then wandered off from it quite a bit. I ended up making enough for 1 to 2 servings of mulling spice for 15 people plus a large quantity for me for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and miscellaneous "holiday" beverages on the homefront. It also works for an emergency aroma therapy session. The recipe below should make just a little bit less than my experience as I found I have quite a bit of mulling spice on hand after all my gift bags are complete, and one large vat of mulled wine at Thanksgiving.
8 juice oranges, sliced thinly
2 large fresh ginger roots, sliced thinly
1 cup star anise
1/2 cup whole black pepper corns
1/2 cup whole allspice
1/4 cup whole cloves
Using a food dehydrator dry the orange and ginger slices. The ginger slices will only take a couple of hours, but the orange slices will take quite some time.
If making the mulling spice mix as a gift or gifts – evenly distribute the orange slices, ginger slices and cinnamon sticks into piles on a flat surface or into individual containers.
Take the black pepper corns, the allspice, cloves and star anise and disperse each evenly across all the different containers.
Congratulations you have a wonderful gift for friends and family.