I love the look of natural and food-related Christmas tree ornaments, but it rubs my thrifty nickel-pinching soul the wrong way to take good, edible food and turn it into decorations that end up in the garbage after the holidays. So, I make Christmas knick-knacks that can be eaten right off the tree or enjoyed when the tree comes down, or I use parts of food I would be feeding to my compost pile or my goats.
My tree varies from year to year, but in the past, it's sported gingerbread people, sugar cookie wreaths, popcorn or crisp rice cereal balls, and bells decorated with dried cranberries or other colorful dried fruit, along with colorfully painted blown eggshells, which can be saved from year to year. I've also hung small whole apples, tiny yellow kumquats, golden brown whole walnuts, and dried red peppers and silvery bulbs of garlic. In case you haven't guessed, my very favorite edible decorations start in the garden or produce department and make it to the tree via the oven or the food dehydrator. Here's how to make them.