If you live in a major metropolitan area, you probably have at least one food swap group near you. It can be a great opportunity to meet foodies, swap recipes, and try some new flavor combinations.
How a Food Swap Works
Here are the general guidelines for a food swap.
- You find a local event and sign-up online, or get a group of friends together and pick a date.
- You can bring any amount of food. The more you bring, the more you can swap
- Food should be made from scratch, not purchased
- Stick to your strengths, make something you know is tasty
- Package food into ready to trade containers
- Have food samples so people can try it out and see if they like it
- As a nice touch, include the recipe
- People will have cards describing their food item/s and lines below for people to sign-up if they’d like to swap
- Once the swapping begins, both parties must agree to a friendly swap
- The more attractive your packaging and your display, the more enticing your food will be to others
- Keep in mind your food has to get there intact, think about ease of transportation
That’s it! The social part is towards the beginning, so come at least 30 minutes before the actual swapping part so you can meet some people and talk all things foodie. Be friendly and open to suggestions from others, especially if this is your first event.
Types of food to bring
You can bring ANYTHING! The Boston Food Swappers had a few suggestions:
- Baked goods (breads, cookies, cupcakes)
- Seasoning mixes (think TexMex, or for popcorn, etc.)
- Homemade sausages
- Backyard eggs
- Booze (I traded for some fantastic hard cider)
My First Food Swap
I’m not going to lie; I was sweating what to make. Candied nuts? Cookies? Anything sugar-related would work, right? I wanted something bright and spring-like, so I made three kinds of citrus cookies, orange, lemon, and chocolate orange. The recipe came from Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning. You can see my Sponge Cake Recipe from this great cookbook.
I packaged the cookies three per foil container and wrapped them in plastic wrap with a bit of silver ribbon. I brought over 60 cookies, way more than most other people brought. (I always overcook, running out is my biggest foodie fear!) Extra food turned out to be a good thing because I was swapping 2 or 3 packages for larger items (like a yummy loaf of bread) and one package for smaller items (homemade coconut marshmallows). I had a blast and will go again. My only snag, I stalked some granola, but the woman brought only five servings and wanted to swap for other items. Bummed, I took a pic of her recipe, so I’ll be able to make my own later.
Food swaps are fun and easy. Relax, enjoy the process and spend some time with like-minded foodies. If you have any tips for a successful swap, let us know in the comments below. We always love to hear from you.