Jam jar craft ideas

Jam jar craft ideas

Pink roses in jars on rustic wood shelf for Valentines DAy.

January can be such a tricky month. After the expense of Christmas, the next payday can seem such a very long way off; in addition, with the weather distinctly chilly and the evenings still dark so early, it can be difficult to know how to fill these evenings – especially if you have children. Fear not, as in today’s blog post we have come up with some budget-busting ideas for how to transform some old jam jars with fun and inspiring craft projects.

Turn a jam jar into a fairy house

Our first idea, which children will absolutely love, is to transform a humble jam jar into a tiny fairy house. For this project you will need polymer clay, such as Fimo, in several colours, which many children already have; if not, you can source this from craft stores or toy shops. Of course, you will also need an old jam jar. First, roll out a flat panel of polymer clay and shape it around the jam jar, cutting out a panel for the door and two small windows. In brown clay, cut out a shape for the door, with a tiny heart-shaped window, and fix this into the gap you left for the door. You can score lines in the door to give it a wooden effect, and stick on a tiny button as a doorknob. Decorate the sides of the fairy house with Fimo, shaping it into trees, flowers, or anything else you wish.

Next, take the lid and build up a roof for the fairy house, again using polymer clay. If you make the roof pointed, you will be able to lift the roof easily to pop in a tealight. Again, decorate the roof using Fimo and scoring the clay in whatever design you wish. Shaping and colouring the roof to look like a toadstool can be a fun idea. When you have decorated the jar and added any finishing touches, leave the clay to harden in accordance with the instructions on the pack. Once it is fully set, pop in a tealight for a cute and whimsical effect. For safety reasons, never leave a tealight unattended or in a child’s bedroom.

Turn a jam jar into a pincushion

If your children love sewing, why not help them to create their very own pincushion and sewing store? Fill the jam jar with needles, thread, buttons and other bits, then glue a piece of foam onto the top of the lid and cover it with pretty fabric for an instant pincushion.

Who knew jam jars could be such fun!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Kilner jars for marmalade

Kilner jars for marmalade

Pumpkin butter on concrete background, selective focus.

The new year always brings with it a sense of optimism and excitement for the coming year. We start to plan what we might grow in our vegetable gardens and think about all the things we would like to make in the kitchen. With Seville oranges in season at this time of year, making marmalade is the perfect way to kick-start all those good intentions for your home preserving activities, so today we take a look at what is involved and what equipment you need to make some amazing marmalade.

Why Kilner jars are the perfect choice

With Seville oranges only available for a limited time each year, it is important to get cracking if you want to make some marmalade. It is essential to get it right first time, as these oranges will not be in the grocery stores for long. This is why a Kilner jar is ideal for this task – the airtight seals and trusted quality of these jars will keep your marmalade safe and away from harmful bacteria that could cause it to go bad.

Aside from a good supply of jars, the equipment you need is the same as for making jam. You will need a good-quality maslin pan, a jam thermometer, and a wooden or silicone spoon for stirring. As marmalade contains shreds of peel, you won’t need a muslin cloth or strainer for this preserving project.

Show off your produce in Kilner jars

When you have put in the time and effort to make your own delicious marmalade, it makes sense to show if off to its best advantage. By choosing a Kilner jar for the job, you will have homemade marmalade that you can be proud to display on the breakfast table. The iconic Kilner jar just oozes quality and will help show off the quality of your marmalade and other preserves; in contrast, if you reuse an old jam jar from the supermarket and just stick a plain white printer label on the jar, it will suggest that you have not made the preserve with love.

Why not check out our range of Kilner jars to see which fit your project best? Choose from screw cap jars or clip top jars, and be sure to select enough jars for the quantity of marmalade you intend to make.

If you plan to make your own marmalade this year, why not share photos of your efforts with us on Facebook or Twitter? Feel free to share your recipes and triumphs – or failures! – with us, and feel free to ask for tips or advice.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Blending essential oils in oil bottles

Blending essential oils in oil bottles

Herbal oil and lavender flowers on wooden background

It is widely known that essential oils have unique powers to affect our mood and sense of wellbeing. Some oils invoke feelings of calm and tranquillity, whilst others leave us feeling uplifted and rejuvenated. Some oils can help with relaxation and promote restful sleep, and others can help with mood swings and irritability. You can also make scents to spray on clean laundry or on your pillowcases, or creams to use as hand creams or body moisturisers, which can all be enhanced by the use of the right combination of essential oils.

Oil bottles filled with your own unique blends

Whilst some oils work brilliantly on their own, the results can be much better if you blend two or three oils together. Each adds its own unique qualities; combined, they can bring out more subtle influences. The best way to get to know how essential oils work together is to blend your own. By investing in a core set of oils and some good-quality oil bottles, you can practise your own bit of alchemy and magic to produce tailor-made blends that really work.

It is a good idea to keep a blending notebook when you create your own new mix. In this way, you will know exactly what you have added to each oil bottle, and in what quantities. When you find something you like and that works for you, you can easily grab another oil bottle and mix up another batch.

After this, it really is a matter of experimenting. Whether you are blending essential oils to produce a scent or to create a therapeutic blend, it is best to find oils that sit well together to avoid creating something that smells unpleasant or that invokes conflicting emotions or responses. Try dividing the oils you have into distinct groups, such as spicy, floral, citrus or medicinal. When it comes to blending oils, they stand a better chance of working well together if they are from the same group. Oils from different groups could compete against one another, or one of them could overwhelm another.

The final thing to say here is that in addition to essential oils, you will need some carrier oils. Since essential oils are extremely potent concentrated forms, they always need to be ‘carried’ in a milder base oil. Suitable carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil and jojoba.

Our oil bottles

If you are serious about blending your own essential oils, it is important to use the right oil bottles for your blends. Check out our range today and get started on this fascinating and therapeutic hobby.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Buying wholesale glass jars

Buying wholesale glass jars

various jars of fruit jam on wooden table

From super-keen home preserving enthusiasts and competition jam makers to artisan producers and kitchen businesses, people up and down the country are switching on to the benefits and cost savings of buying their jars wholesale. In today’s blog post, we examine these benefits in detail to help you decide whether buying in wholesale quantities is right for you.

Why buy wholesale glass jars?

The most likely group of people to buy larger quantities of jars at one time is the small army of makers who run cottage industries at home, selling their produce at markets, craft fairs and local outlets throughout the country. These small-scale producers create delicious jams, pickles and preserves that outclass even the most expensive shop-bought equivalents in terms of taste, food miles and value for money. The quality of the produce comes from the quality of the ingredients, the careful attention to detail in the recipes, and the love and care that goes into making each jar of jam or chutney. The value for money comes from a sound business head behind the company, which means sourcing all the component parts – jars included – at the very best prices. By buying in bulk, artisan producers can keep costs low and compete with the well-known labels.

Buying wholesale is not just for people who sell their produce commercially. Subject to meeting minimum order values, anyone can take advantage of our wholesale prices. Whether you are a keen cook who likes to make all manner of jams, chutneys and other preserved delights or you are part of a WI group or a local cooking club, you can still take advantage of the savings and convenience of buying in bulk.

Our extensive range of wholesale glass jars

Most of our jars are available in pack sizes ranging from six right up to 300. Pallets can be mixed across different styles of jar, as long as pack sizes are respected. If you wish to buy a full pallet of jars that are all the same size and style, further discounts are available.

We always phone our wholesale customers to discuss delivery to ensure that the order is received at a time that suits.

It is not just our jars that are available to buy in wholesale quantities; in addition, we offer wholesale bottles, again in a range of pack sizes for mixed pallet orders. A pallet comprising a range of different jam jars, chutney jars and bottles suddenly does not seem quite such a large amount!

To discuss wholesale bottles and jars, simply give us a call.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Blending spices at home

Blending spices at home 

Health Food - seeds and pulses in jars, with reflections - lentils, split peas, pearl barley, coriander seed, black pepper, cous cous, corn, and rice - panorama.

When it comes to cooking sensational meals, lots of people think that they ‘just can’t cook’, assuming that there is some secret art to good cooking skills or that you are somehow born a good cook. Whilst we don’t pretend that everyone can reach the dizzying heights of MasterChef, or can rival the very best Michelin-starred restaurants, there is something simple that you can do to make most meals much more delicious: season and spice your dishes effectively. In today’s blog post, we take a look at how to make a few great spice blends to have to hand for any meal.

Fill those spice jars with aromatic flavours

Once you realise just how much of a difference good spices can make to a dish, it is easy to buy readymade sauces and spice mixes from the supermarket; however, homemade spice blends will always win out over a supermarket spice mix, so it pays to do some research and blend your own.

Start by assembling a good range of quality spices from which to create your blends. Try to find an Indian or Chinese supermarket or food store, as these usually have a superb range of spices that are much fresher and much cheaper than conventional supermarkets. They also come in bigger packs, so you may need to stock up on plenty of glass spice jars to store all your new spices in.

Once you have all the basic spices in place, it is time to get creative and mix some blends yourself. A Cajun spice mix is a good blend to start with and can be used rubbed on chicken wings or thighs, for example, to create a mouthwatering dish. Blend together salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme, with a little more salt and garlic powder than the other ingredients. Store in a spice jar and simply rub onto whatever meat you would like to try it on.

Another great blend to try is homemade curry powder. This contains ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, ground ginger, cinnamon and cardamom seeds. It is guaranteed to taste a whole lot more authentic than a readymade sauce that comes in a jar from the supermarket!

Our range of spice jars

If you are inspired to create your own spice blends, why not check out our range of glass spice jars to get your spice collection off to the very best start? We have an excellent range to choose from and the jars are even available with different coloured lids for colour coding your collection.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Marmalade season recipe ideas

Marmalade season recipe ideas

Citrus jam in glass jar, selective focus

As the end of the year draws closer, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is little on offer for the keen home preserves enthusiast. Fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply, so there is little left with which to make any pickles or preserves; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The marmalade season is almost upon us; in fact, the first of this year’s Seville oranges are already starting to make an appearance in the grocery stores. Now is the time to hunt out some glass jars for marmalade making, think about some new recipes, and look forward to the new year with a batch of delicious marmalade. Read on for a tasty marmalade recipe idea and some tips for choosing the right jars.

Choosing your marmalade jars

We are big fans of marmalade here at Wares, so we always heartily recommend making a lot of it. Not everyone is such a fan, however, so you might want to choose some of our smaller glass jars for marmalade making so that each jar is not open for too long once it is in use. Indeed, many people opt for making individual jars of marmalade in our miniature jars in the style of a hotel or B&B breakfast. For us, however, the 8oz jam jars are perfect for marmalade, along with the Bonne Maman-style jars.

A recipe for those marmalade jars

Ingredients

1kg Seville oranges
4 lemons
2kg granulated sugar
125g root ginger

Method

Peel the oranges and slice the peel into very thin pieces.

Squeeze the juice from the oranges and add to two litres of water. Put the orange pulp and pips in a muslin cloth and place in the juice/water overnight, along with the strips of orange peel.

In the morning, tip the juice into a maslin pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the ginger, chopped very finely. Simmer on a medium heat for about one hour.

Remove the muslin cloth and leave the pan to cool slightly.

Add the sugar to the pan and bring to the boil again. Squeeze any remaining juice from the muslin cloth into the pan. Whilst the marmalade is boiling, remove any froth or scum that forms on the surface to ensure a clear preserve. Keep boiling for 15 minutes, then test for a good set. You can use the cold plate method or a jam thermometer, which should reach 105°C.

Once setting temperature is achieved, carefully spoon the marmalade into sterilised jars. Label and store in a cool place.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Vintage swing top bottles

Vintage swing top bottles 

Homemade ginger ale

If, like much of the population, you are in love with all things vintage, you are probably always on the lookout for the perfect homewares item, decorative piece or gadget to add a little vintage chic to your home. From traditional blankets in the bedroom to kitchen gadgets from yesteryear, giving your home a vintage-inspired makeover has never been easier. In today’s post, we take a look at one of our personal favourites – the swing top bottle – and rustle up some ideas for making an old-fashioned cordial to serve in these delightful bottles.

Swing top bottles

These bottles, with their iconic metal and ceramic clip top fastenings, conjure up memories of childhood for many of us. Days spent ‘playing out’ without a care in the world, until Mum called us in for a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade or some cordial she had made herself. Picnics at the beach, with sand in our sandwiches and cool drinks in the summer sun. With such memories attached to the bottles, it is no wonder we all want to recreate a little of times long gone by using these bottles today and making our own drinks.

Our range of swing top bottles

When thinking about these bottles, many people think of Kilner bottles, as they are well-associated with the swing top style; however, Kilner bottles are not the only brand to use this type of fastening. We stock a wide range of other bottles featuring the classic swing top; for example, our faceted Costolata bottles are hugely popular and come in a range of great sizes, from 500ml up to one litre. The one-litre Sorrento bottle is another great swing top choice, while the economy swing top range is perfect for anyone on a budget.

Filling those swing top bottles

If you have decided that you would like to add a little vintage chic to your kitchen with these gorgeous bottles, you may be thinking about what you will serve in them. Why not try a delicious homemade blackcurrant cordial, which is guaranteed to taste a million times more amazing than a shop-bought cordial? Put 1kg of blackcurrants in a pan with 350ml of water, and cook for 10 minutes or so, squashing the blackcurrants at the same time. Strain the juice through a sieve, pressing the blackcurrants to allow the juice to pass through. Put the juice back in the pan with 300g of sugar for every 500ml of juice. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and add one teaspoon of citric acid. Pour into sterilised bottles and serve diluted.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Le Parfait jars and their uses

Le Parfait jars and their uses 

Homemade granola muesli with nuts and dried fruits and yogurt in glasses on rustic wooden background. Healthy breakfast.

It goes without saying that we love every sort of jar here at Wares of Knutsford, from traditional jam jars to fancy jars for pickles and chutneys and decorative jars that make great gifts. We have to confess, however, that over the years we have become quite fond of one of France’s best-kept secrets – Le Parfait jars. In today’s blog post, we look at these great little jars and offer some advice on uses for them.

What are Le Parfait jars?

These jars have been firm favourites in French households for decades. In a way, Le Parfait could be said to be the French equivalent of Kilner – an iconic brand known and loved by families of all ages. Nowadays, Le Parfait has branched out overseas and its range of jars is now available here in the UK for discerning home preserves enthusiasts to discover.

The basic jars from Le Parfait are clip top jars, suitable for use in home preserving projects. Like Kilner’s clip top jars, they contain a distinctive orange rubber ring to make a good seal on the jars and keep the contents fresh and airtight, and a strong metal clip to hold the lid in place. The jars range in size from 500ml right up to three litres, so there are plenty of preserving options open to anyone who wants to try these jars.

Preserved fruits and vegetables work brilliantly in these jars, from preserved cherries in the smaller jars to preserved lemons or apricots in the big three-litre jars. If you are looking for savoury ideas rather than sweet ones, pickled red cabbage would work well in the smaller jars, whilst pickled eggs and pickled onions would be ideal stored in the larger jars.

In addition to the clip top jars that we have described, Le Parfait produces a range of charming storage jars with eye-catching orange lids. Use these for storing dried kitchen goods such as pasta, flour, rice and dried fruits, or even as a cookie jar to stand on the kitchen counter. These storage jars are available in one-litre, two-litre and three-litre sizes.

Le Parfait jars from Wares of Knutsford

If we have tempted you to investigate what all the French fuss is about over Le Parfait, head over to our online store to check out the gorgeous range of jars we stock. We are sure that you will soon find yourself falling in love with this brand, just as we have!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

The useful 50ml bottle

The useful 50ml bottle image1

When it comes to miniature bottles, we think it is fair to say that our range is second to none. If you read our blog because you are a home preserves enthusiast or a keen cook, you may be wondering what on earth such a small bottle can be used for? Read on and all will be revealed, as the 50ml bottle is hugely popular and ideal for a wide range of projects.

Uses for a 50ml bottle

These miniature bottles are not designed for actually making things in, of course, but they are perfect for decanting your homemade drinks and infusions to use as wedding favours or to give as gifts to friends and family. Many wedding couples choose to give individual drinks to their guests as favours, such as a small bottle of infused gin or vodka, or perhaps a dram of the finest single malt whisky.

Once you have decided which miniature bottles you want to use for your wedding favours or gifts, you also need to think about presentation. A cute label, handwritten with the details of the contents and the recipient’s name, will add a warm and personalised touch. Set the whole thing off with a pretty ribbon around the neck of the bottle for the perfect finishing touch.

A 50ml bottle – the choices

We have quite an extensive range of miniature bottles to choose from here at Wares, so there is bound to be a bottle that perfectly suits your project or creative idea. The most popular bottle in this range is the 50ml Gladstone bottle with its dinky cork stopper. These gorgeous little bottles appear to have come straight from Harry Potter’s chemistry lessons, and they look so charming when used as gifts or wedding favours. Try them filled with traditional sloe gin or go a little more contemporary with rhubarb gin, which is really on trend at the moment.

Another great choice in a 50ml size is the miniature whisky bottle. Looking every inch like a scaled-down version of a traditional whisky bottle, this one is particularly popular with wedding couples who are getting married in Scotland and want to keep a Scottish theme running throughout their big day.

Our third 50ml pick is the flask-style bottle that looks like a miniature hip flask bottle. Again, these work brilliantly for homemade drinks such as sloe gin. They are also suitable for infused spirits such as apricot brandy, strawberry vodka, and blackberry and apple gin.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

A Christmas punch recipe for drinking mugs

A Christmas punch recipe for drinking mugs

ice tea with slice of lemon in mason jar on the wooden rustic background

If you have rashly invited all your friends and neighbours around for Christmas drinks this year and you are now wondering what on earth you are going to serve them, fear not. We have the perfect solution – a deliciously warming fruit punch that gets the party moving and leaves everyone full of festive cheer. If you are also wondering what you are going to serve your Christmas drinks in, we have this covered too. Read on to find out how to make a sensational Christmas punch and how to serve it in the most charming of ways.

Drinking mugs are the answer

Let’s start by tackling the question of how to serve your festive drinks at your party. Instead of a ramshackle collection of wine glasses and other drinking glasses, why not invest in glass drinking jars this year? These are essentially jam jars with lids and handles that are designed to be used for drinks. Handles make warm drinks easier to hold, and the lids – with straws – mean that you don’t have to worry about fruit punch making its way onto your lovely carpets and sofa. You could use simple jam jars instead, of course, but we think the advantages of lids and handles make special drinking jars well worth the investment.

There are all sorts of Christmas punch recipes available; however, for us, this kind of punch has to have a rich, deep red colour and a spicy kick. Add a bottle of full-bodied red wine, 500ml of cranberry juice, 100ml of brandy, 150ml of elderflower liqueur, 150g of blackberries, 150g of sliced black grapes and three sliced plums to a large bowl or jug. Add two teaspoons of allspice and a stick of cinnamon. Put in the fridge for at least two hours to allow the flavours to blend. Just before you are ready to serve the punch, heat it gently in a pan for a few minutes. The purpose of heating is simply to warm the drink – not to boil off the alcohol or make the punch too hot to drink!

Our range of drinking mugs

Over in our online store, we have a comprehensive range of drinking jars and mugs to choose from. Some are available just as they are, and some have lids and straws to suit your personal requirements. We love the basic Mason jar types; however, we are also charmed by the more decorative jars, such as the pretty coloured Kilner jars and the ones with the bunting design. There is even a jar shaped like a little owl – how cute is that?

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Christmas scenes in jam jars

Christmas scenes in jam jars 

Christmas tree in jar. Christmas concept illustration for web, cover, postcard.

December is almost upon us, which can only mean one thing – it is time to start thinking about decorating the house ready for the festive celebrations. We all have our favourite, much-loved decorations that have been in the family for years, of course, and these always have pride of place in every home; however, it can still be fun to spend a day on Christmas crafts to create some new decorations that show off your talents and add a homemade touch to Christmas. Today, we are tackling Christmas ornaments that use glass jars, so get your craft kits ready!

Jam jars for creative crafts

If you read our blog regularly, you will know that we are big fans of using glass jars for creative craft projects. They are just so handy and versatile, and the sheer range of sizes available makes them perfect for craft ideas. From the tiniest jars that hold just a single tealight to gallon jars that you can really go to town with, jars really are your crafty friend at Christmas. Check out our range today to see what type of jar takes your fancy for your Christmas decoration project.

Jam jars make great ornaments

You don’t have to be an accomplished artist or designer to make effective and stylish decorations with glass jars; for example, here is a simple idea that anyone can make. First, choose a jar and make sure that it is spotlessly clean, inside and out. Take a piece of white paper and cut it to the size of the jar – wrap it around the jar to get the width, and make the height the same as from the base of the jar to start of the neck. Using a sharp craft knife, carefully cut out a scene along the bottom edge using basic paper-cutting techniques. Fir trees are easy to start with, or why not add a house, or an animal such as a donkey, if you are more accomplished? When you have cut out the scene, carefully paste the paper onto the inside of the jar using spray mount, pressing all the cut edges into place to make sure they stick down, and add a little snow powder or glitter whilst the spray mount is still tacky. Add a tealight candle and you have your very own magical Christmas decoration.

If paper-cutting sounds too complex, simply take a walk outside and find some festive greenery, such as holly, fir cones or pine branches. Carefully place them in a jar, surrounding a candle. This is so easy, but so effective!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Grow your own to fill your jars

Grow your own to fill your jars 

Fresh picked rainbow carrots including different coloured carrots. Colourful carrot varieties that are fashionable now.

With the current chilly days and long hours of darkness, you could be forgiven for not thinking too much about gardening; however, now is the perfect time to start planning for next year, perusing the seed catalogues at leisure and deciding what you might like to grow next season. In today’s blog post, we take a look at growing your own fruit and vegetables to give you your very own year-round supply of fresh ingredients for your jams, pickles and preserves.

Grow the ingredients to fill your jam jars

Growing your own fresh and tasty fruit and vegetables is the ideal thing for anyone who loves home preserving. From jars of classic strawberry jam to homemade chutney and bottles of rhubarb gin, you will save money and have the satisfaction of knowing that you were responsible for absolutely every stage of the process.

If you only have a small garden, or even no garden at all, don’t be put off having a go at growing your own. There are all sorts of options for gardening in a small space, with plenty of fruit and vegetables suitable for even the tiniest window boxes. There are even varieties of strawberries and cherry tomatoes that grow brilliantly in hanging baskets, so you really only need an outside wall!

Another option for those who do not have any space at home to grow fruit or vegetables is to get an allotment close to your home. As growing your own food is so popular right now, allotments often have long waiting lists; therefore, if this is something that appeals, make it your early New Year’s resolution to get your name down for one as soon as possible. If the thought of a full-sized allotment is a little daunting, why not team up with a friend or neighbour to share the allotment?

Having decided that you want to grow your own, it is time to start thinking about what to grow. The key here is to grow things that you know you will love eating and that will thrive in your local climate. It is no good deciding to grow melons unless you have a greenhouse, for example, and carrots won’t do well if your soil is very stony. Take some time to prepare a plan of what you would like to grow, along with the harvesting dates for each crop.

Jars and bottles to the rescue

Every gardener has a glut at some point, of course, so make sure you have plenty of jars and bottles ready to turn your produce into delicious pickles and preserves.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

A preserving pan for Christmas

A preserving pan for Christmas 

Jar of tasty homemade strawberry preserve. Strawberries harvest needed to preserve.

There are still a few weeks left until Christmas, but for many of us the time has come to work through our Christmas gift-giving list to try to come up with some inspired ideas for this year’s gifts. Whilst children are relatively easy to buy for, adults are another matter entirely, with many hours spent in households around the country deliberating what to get Uncle Bob are Aunt Susan. Over the next week or two, as the festive season draws closer, we will be sharing some ideas for stylish and practical gifts for all members of the family. Today, we are looking at our maslin pan range, so let’s see why this particular kitchen item makes such a wonderful gift.

Why a preserving pan makes a great Christmas gift

For some reason, many people mistakenly think that making jams, jellies or chutneys is both complicated and time-consuming; in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Making a simple strawberry jam or a Seville marmalade is both fairly quick and straightforward. Like any hobby, home preserves can be taken further and there are certainly more complex recipes and methods to try once you have learned the basic skills; however, once most people have seen how easy jam-making is and how little special equipment they need to get started, they are hooked. With a good maslin pan, a jam thermometer, a wooden spoon and some jam jars, anyone can start making some incredible-tasting jams and preserves.

Choosing a preserving pan

To make good jam, you need to use a proper maslin pan rather than simply using a big saucepan. We have written about the qualities of a good jam pan before, so it only remains to outline the pans in our range.

A full-sized pan is typically around eight to nine litres in size, and we have three different styles to choose from. The classic stainless steel design has stayed the same for decades and looks just as elegant and beautiful today as it did in our grandmother’s kitchen. For those who fancy something different, we also have an eight-litre pan in black enamel, and a Kilner-branded pan in a lovely deep red colour. If you think that an eight-litre pan might be too large for the person you are planning to give it to, we also have a half-sized pan made of durable stainless steel. At four and a half litres, this pan is ideal for people who want to make smaller quantities of jam or those who might struggle to lift the full-sized pan.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Christmas pudding recipe

Christmas recipe for a pudding basin 

Christmas Pudding decorated with holly leaves on red background

Do you have fond memories of Christmases past, with a big family gathering on Christmas Day and a huge turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a rich and delicious Christmas pudding? Sadly, many people now choose to buy a Christmas pudding from the supermarket to save time and effort. If you fancy a change from this approach this Christmas, you are in luck. Today we are sharing a fabulous recipe for an amazing Christmas pudding that might just convert you to homemade puddings every year.

Our range of pudding basins

Before we plunge into our recipe, we need to mention pudding bowls and basins. We have a vast range of basins in stock, including brands such as Falcon and Mason Cash. We also stock plastic pudding basins, which are suitable for use in both microwaves and pressure cookers. These are the perfect solution if you want to make your puddings in advance, ready to heat up on Christmas Day.

Pudding basins at the ready

Now we have talked about the basins to use, it is time for the recipe!

Ingredients

2 large cooking apples
50g chopped almonds
200g mixed peel
1/2 nutmeg
900g mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants) 50g breadcrumbs
3 eggs, beaten
200g plain flour
150g brown sugar
3 tbsp brandy
250g unsalted butter

Method

Peel and core the apples, and chop into pieces. Chop the mixed peel and grate the nutmeg. Place the apple, mixed peel, nutmeg and mixed fruit in a large mixing bowl, and pour on the brandy.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Slowly add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour and add the breadcrumbs. Add the contents of the other bowl and combine thoroughly.

Butter a three-pint pudding basin and cut a circle of baking parchment to fit in the bottom of the basin. Use a spoon to fill the basin with the pudding mix, pressing it down firmly. Cover the basin with a pleated piece of baking parchment, tying firmly with string around the edge.

Place the pudding basin in a steamer over a pan of water and steam for eight hours with a lid on the steamer. Remember to check the pan of water regularly and top up as needed.

After eight hours, remove the pudding basin from the pan and allow to cool. Remove the paper and replace with fresh. If you are using one of our plastic pudding basins, you could now seal with the plastic lid.

On Christmas Day, reheat by steaming for two hours.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Kilner for Christmas

Kilner for Christmas kilner bottles lemonade 2

Ho, ho, ho – tis the season to be jolly! If your Christmas gift list is long and complicated, and you hate having to trudge around the shops looking for the perfect gift for each friend and family member you have to buy for, we may just have the answer – at least for those who love cooking or making things, or those you feel could be persuaded to take up home preserves or other kitchen activities. In today’s blog post, we take a look at all things Kilner, highlighting the best Christmas gift ideas from the range.

Christmas gift ideas from Kilner

Everyone has heard of the Kilner jar, of course. These ubiquitous jars are instantly recognised by many, even if they have never made a jar of jam in their lives. In recent times, however, the firm has branched out to produce a much wider range of goods, all staying true to the original design aesthetic and quality standards that the brand has come to epitomise.

In addition to the standard Kilner jar range, there is a huge assortment of more unusual items to choose from, with many of these making superb gift ideas. The nine-piece drinking mug and straw set is a great idea and will go down well with those who like making homemade drinks. Mulled wine around the Christmas tree will be extra special when served in these great mugs. There is also a lemonade set, which includes decorative drinking mugs with lids, straws and a recipe booklet to help set you on the road to making your own refreshing lemonade.

The Sloe Gin Kit contains everything needed to get started making sloe gin, including a two-litre clip top jar to make the gin and four 250ml sloe gin bottles to decant it into once it is ready. There is also a funnel, a muslin cloth and a recipe leaflet, with everything presented in a delightful gift box.

Make your own Kilner gift set

If one of the ready-made gift sets from Kilner does not appeal to you, you could always put together your very own gift set, tailored exactly to the recipient you have in mind. If you think someone would like to get into jam making, for example, why not buy them the gorgeous red enamel jam pan from Kilner and fill it with additional jam-making equipment, such as a thermometer, funnel, muslin cloth and one of the delightful chalk labelling sets? Browsing through the range in our online store will be sure to give you more great ideas to build customised gifts that are well received and appreciated.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Roasting pans for those turkeys

Roasting pans for those turkeys

Aerial view of christmas feast on the table

Are you the type of person who glides through Christmas Day like a military commander, with every detail precision-planned and executed to a strict schedule to deliver an amazing feast for 20 guests? Or are you more like the rest of us mere mortals, getting distracted by friends and family, forgetting to put the sprouts on in time, and worrying whether the turkey will even fit in the oven, let alone be cooked in time? A happy medium between these two extremes is perhaps the most desirable state to be in. Whilst we can’t guarantee that your Christmas Day cooking will go smoothly, we can offer a few words of advice on how to make sure your turkey is cooked to perfection.

Roasting pans to the rescue

With so many Christmases under our belts, you would think that most of us would have learned to think about the baking pans we will need on the day; however, all too often we buy the turkey, plan the roast potatoes and roast root vegetables, and only remember on Christmas Day that we don’t actually have enough baking pans in the right sizes to cook everything we had planned. This Christmas, it is time to get organised and to ensure you have the right pan for your turkey and for anything else that needs to go in the oven at the same time. Make sure you choose a pan that is big enough for your turkey to sit in comfortably, as it will need plenty of space around the sides to cook well.

You will also need a pan for your roast potatoes and any roast vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots, or Jerusalem artichokes. If you have any vegetarian guests coming for Christmas lunch and you plan to cook them a nut roast or similar, you will also need a pan for that.

Roasting pans

We have a range of stunning roasting pans that will do your turkey proud this year. Our heavy duty deep roasting pans are superb and really look the part on Christmas Day. They are suitable for all heat sources, apart from induction hobs, so you can use them to make the gravy in once the turkey is cooked and resting. Starting at 32cm x 23cm, these pans go up in size to a whopping 37cm x 27cm – big enough for even the most substantial turkey! They also come with a 10-year guarantee, so you know they will perform for many Christmases to come.

For fattier birds, such as goose, you may also like to consider a roasting rack.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Candles in glass jars

Candles in glass jars

Custom and eco candle holders with jars and paper labels printed for a Christmas dinner

Can there be a more cosy and romantic image than sitting by an open fire on a cold, wintry evening, with music in the background and candles flickering gently on the hearth? As Christmas approaches, it is time to start making our homes warm and inviting to charm our Christmas guests and get the whole family in the festive spirit. In today’s blog post, we talk about how to use jars for candles to create unique and charming displays. Follow our tips and you will be well on the way to filling your home with festive and romantic good cheer in no time at all.

Glass jars make great candle holders

When they want to add a few pretty candles to their home, many people simply head out to a homewares store or department store and buy something off the shelf; however, using simple jars for candles is a much better idea, as you can create your very own display that shows you have put love and care into it.

One great idea for homemade candle displays is to invest in a can of snow spray. This clever spray can be applied to the outside of your jars to give a wintry effect. Add a candle inside the jar and the effect of the flame flickering through the snowy coating will be magical. To get your candle to stay in position in your jar, drip a few drops of hot wax into the bottom of the jar and then press the candle down onto the wax. You will obviously need to use two candles for this – one for the melted wax and one to place in the jar!

Another fabulous idea is to take some sheet music or a page from an old book and cut it to size to go around your jar. Carefully cut out a couple of small shapes in the paper, such as hearts or stars. Paste the paper around the outside of the jar, and again add a candle in the jar. If these candles are for Christmas decorations, you could choose the music for Jingle Bells, or perhaps a Christmas carol, a festive poem, or a page from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

Our range of glass jars

At Wares we have jars in every conceivable shape and size just waiting for you to get creative ready for the festive period. Why not browse our range today to see what inspires you? Don’t forget to share your creative ideas with us on Twitter and Facebook, as we love seeing your photos.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

A recipe for Christmas sauce bottles

A recipe for Christmas sauce bottles

tomato sauce with raw ingredients

The secret to a stress-free Christmas Day is preparation, and we have all heard the trite saying that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Whilst this might do little more in an office environment than irritate your co-workers, it is not without merit when it comes to a smooth and enjoyable Christmas dinner. For the full traditional Christmas celebration, there are several meals to plan, including starters, main courses and desserts, and plenty of leftovers to use up. This means that having a range of different sauces to hand can really help to turn an ordinary meal into something special. From bread sauce to cranberry sauce and from sage and onion sauce to salted caramel sauce, both sweet and savoury dishes can be enhanced by a good sauce. In today’s blog post we take a look at a recipe for cranberry ketchup, which is guaranteed to surprise and delight.

Sauce bottles at the ready!

This recipe will make around 500ml of sauce, so be sure to get your sauce bottles ready in advance.

Ingredients

350g frozen cranberries
1 red onion, finely chopped
450ml water
175g sugar
225ml apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
5 allspice berries
½ tsp peppercorns
½ tsp mustard seeds

Method

Put the cranberries, onion and water in a large pan. Cook on a medium heat for around 15 minutes until the cranberries burst. Allow to cool and then pour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the sugar, vinegar and salt, stirring to combine. Place the cinnamon, mustard seeds, peppercorns and allspice in a muslin bag and secure the top, then add this to the mixture. Cook on a medium heat for around 30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

Remove the muslin bag and allow the sauce to cool. Pour into sterilised sauce bottles, seal and label, and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Our range of sauce bottles

Here at Wares, we have quite an extensive range of bottles for sauce to choose from. The 250ml hexagonal bottles for sauce have a certain vintage appeal, whilst the round sauce bottle has a very chic look and will appeal to artisan producers in addition to home cooks.

Whilst this recipe will not guarantee a smooth and stress-free cooking experience this Christmas, it will deliver a great-tasting treat that will liven up that cold turkey and Christmas ham!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Recipe for an enamel pie dish

Recipe for an enamel pie dish

home made traditional irish fish pie in an blue and white enamel bowl

Few dinners are so comforting during the colder months as a classic savoury pie served in a traditional pie dish. Since game season is in full swing, we thought we would cover a traditional game pie for an easy-to-cook supper that is a little special.

Our game pie recipe for an enamel pie dish

Ingredients

700g game (your choice of pheasant, venison, partridge, pigeon) 250g frozen puff pastry 125g mushrooms 250g diced bacon 500ml red wine 175ml pale ale
1 onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper
chopped thyme

Method

– Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

– Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper in a shallow dish, then toss in the meat and ensure it is coated evenly.

– Put the bacon, mushrooms, red wine and pale ale in a pan and heat until simmering. Put the meat into an enamel pie dish and pour the heated sauce over. Add the bay leaves and thyme and cover with a double sheet of tinfoil, making sure the edges are sealed well. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 140°C and cook for another two hours.

– After two hours, remove the dish from the oven and turn the temperature back to 200°C. Roll out the puff pastry so that it is a little larger than the size of the dish. Lay the pastry over the dish and press the edges down firmly. Cut a small hole in the middle of the pie to let any steam out, then brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

– Return the pie to the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and flaky.

Our enamel pie dish range

Our enamelwares range is extensive, with a dish, bowl or basin to suit every need. The iconic blue and white dishes from Falcon are instantly recognisable and we recommend the 22cm round enamel pie dish for this recipe. If you would prefer to make a slightly smaller pie, we have 18cm dishes in the same range alongside 16cm oblong dishes, again from Falcon.

To see more of our enamelwares, simply pop over to our online store today. In addition to pie dishes, we carry a large number of Falcon pudding basins, flat plates and bake pans.

If you have any favourite pie recipes that you would like to share with us, send us your recipes and photos via Facebook or Twitter. We love to see your fabulous culinary creations!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

The history of the Le Parfait jar

The history of the Le Parfait jar

Chicken liver parfait with apple and date chutney on a stone plate

When we think of preserving jars, the number one brand that most people mention is Kilner, possibly followed by Mason and Ball. These iconic brands have rightly earned a place in preserving history; however, there are a few other names in the world of home preserves that are less well known – at least in the UK – but are just as worthy of recognition. One such company is Le Parfait. We have decided to turn the spotlight on this premium brand in today’s blog post to highlight how the brand has developed over the years and what it has to offer.

The origins of Le Parfait jars

Founded back in the 1930s, in Reims, France, Le Parfait has been a household name in France for decades. Building up a loyal customer base over the years through France’s traditional grocery stores and artisan food producers, the firm has much the same reverential following in France as Kilner has in the UK and Ball has in the US. Le Parfait jars typically include an embossed logo on the front of the jar and a distinctive bright orange rubber seal on the clip top jars; in addition, the company produces a range of screw top jars under the Familia Wiss name.

Over the years, the range has evolved to meet the needs of a changing customer base and to stay on trend whilst retaining the iconic good looks and superb functionality that made these jars so well-loved. More recent additions to the range include striking ‘orange top’ jars for storing tea, coffee, pasta or rice.

Our range of Le Parfait jars

We stock a range of Le Parfait and Familia Wiss jars in both traditional and contemporary styles. The smallest clip top jar is a 500ml jar, with jars in the clip top range varying in size right up to a whopping three-litre jar perfect for larger pickling projects such as pickled onions or preserved lemons.

There are some quite distinctive shapes in the Familia Wiss range, making these jars perfect for terrines and more unusual preserves. The smallest Familia Wiss jar is 200ml, with other sizes including 350ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1,000ml. If you like the vintage French look, these jars are perfect for you.

The orange top jars we mentioned earlier are available in sizes ranging from one litre up to three litres. These will look fabulous lined up on an open kitchen shelf displaying dried goods such as pasta, rice, flour and oats.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest