Hexagonal jam jars for something a little different

Hexagonal jam jars for something a little different

When it comes to jam-making and preserving, many people like to make a real effort to make their homemade creations really stand out. The choice of jam jar and lid can really make a big difference to the overall effect, and at Wares of Knutsford we probably have the widest choice of sizes and styles available anywhere. Here we take a look at our extensive range of hexagonal jars.

Hexagonal jam jars and suggested uses

With more than 20 hexagonal jars in our range, we are certain there is a jar to suit every requirement. These jars range in size from a dinky 45ml jar right up to a 283ml jar, which is a good replacement for an 8oz jar.

Anyone looking for a vintage look will find these hexagonal jars appealing, especially the Kilner hexagonal clip top spice jar, which really gives a retro feel.

When it comes to how to use these jars, making jam is really just the beginning. Of course they are ideal for jam and look great when teamed with a gingham checked lid, but jam making is just one option. There are many other uses for these jars, as we have discovered from our customers.

Many people use the smaller hexagonal jam jars as wedding favours, filling them with sweets or homemade chocolates. For anyone choosing a traditional or rustic theme for their wedding, this type of unfussy wedding favour fits the bill perfectly. Others use these jars as tealight holders, creating a charming effect for an evening party.

One of our favourites in the hexagonal range is the Kitchen Craft hexagonal chutney pot. These pots, which have a clip top lid and an airtight sealing band, make perfect jars for dips, sauces and chutneys. With the current trend for fine dining at home, these pots would work really well holding a range of homemade sauces. For a home-cooked Indian meal, for example, they would work brilliantly holding mango chutney, mint raita and lime pickle.

Not just hexagonal jam jars

When it comes to hexagonal jars, it is not just jam jars that are available. We also have hexagonal sauce bottles that are absolutely perfect for homemade ketchup or sauces. There are also fun and fancy hexagonal drinking jars in our range, ideal for serving cocktails and juices. These delightful drinking jars come with screw lids and a reusable straw and are sold in sets of six. They are ideal for outdoor parties and summer picnics.

If you are looking for a jar that is a little different, check out our hexagonal range.

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Jam Jars – Not Just For Jam

Jam jars – not just for jam11

When it comes to jam jars, Wares of Knutsford probably stocks more sizes than any other retailer. A typical jar of jam, as seen on breakfast tables up and down the country, is normally somewhere between 350ml and 500ml; however, our range includes very small jars ranging in size from 150ml right down to a tiny 30ml. Our customers never cease to amaze us with the creative ways they find to use our jars and we thought we would share some of these ideas with you.

These tiny jars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with screw on lids, clip top lids and Kilner-style lids with metal discs and screw bands.

Small jam jars for wedding favours

One of our most popular requests comes from brides-to-be looking for small jam jars to hold sweets or other treats to use as wedding favours. From traditional sugared almonds to more contemporary twists such as smarties, jelly babies or old-school boiled sweet favourites such as cola cubes and pear drops, brides-to-be come up with all sorts of ideas to add a little flourish to their wedding tables.

One charming idea we came across was a wedding couple who filled their small jars with wild flower seeds. Each jar had a label asking the guests to scatter the seeds somewhere special to them as a celebration of the wedding.

Other uses for small jam jars

If you are not planning to get hitched any time soon, there are still plenty of ways to put our small glass jars to good use. Anyone who has stayed in a guest house or hotel will be familiar with the mini pot of jam or marmalade. These can be fun to make at home and are perfect for when you have a small quantity of jam left over from a big batch that is not quite enough to fill a full-size jar. Why not give a selection of miniature jam jars as a gift, with each jar filled with a different flavour of delicious homemade jam?

Another great idea for these small glass jars is to use them to jazz up your herbs and spices. Buy fresh herbs and spices from local ethnic shops and store them in our 4oz spice jars for a smart look on the kitchen shelf.

Our small glass jars can all be teamed with mini labels specially designed to work perfectly on these jar sizes. Our jars might be small, but the range of things you can do with them certainly is not!

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Our range of screw top jars

Lifting the lid on our range of screw top jars3

When it comes to home preserves, many people start by making jam. This is one of the easiest homemade things to try and the rewards from creating your own jam are fantastic. After their initial success with jam-making, many people look to canning and preserving to further extend their repertoire of delicious homemade recipes. This is where jars with screw tops really come into their own – they are ideal for canning and bottling all sorts of things, from pickled eggs and bottled peaches to homemade ketchup and good old-fashioned pickled onions. Our range of jars with screw tops covers all capacities and sizes; therefore, no matter what you decide to preserve, there is sure to be a jar to suit your needs.

The widest range of screw top jars

Just as lots of people refer to their vacuum cleaner as a ‘hoover’, people often refer to screw top jars as ‘Kilner jars’; however, there are quite a number of different manufacturers of jars with screw tops and Kilner is just one of these. Here at Wares of Knutsford we stock jars from Kilner in addition to Mason jars, Leifheit jars and the Familia Wiss range from Le Parfait. The jars from all these brands feature a heat sealable metal disc and screw band. From large jars for canning fruits and vegetables to terrine jars and small pots for lemon curd or salsa dips, there is a jar for every preserving task.

We also stock a full range of replacement metal discs and screw bands for all our jars with screw tops.

How to use your screw top jars

The possibilities for home preserving are endless and preserving can be done all year round, following the seasons. The summer months are perfect for canning surplus fruits, whilst the winter months are when mandarin oranges come into season – these are delicious preserved in syrup ready to be used in fruit salads or desserts. Grapefruit and oranges canned together make a perfect breakfast mix, especially if topped with yoghurt or creme fraiche.

If you lean towards more savoury options, try home-grown pesto, dill pickles or pickled peppers to keep your larder stocked with tasty treats all year round.

Whether you choose Kilner jars, Mason jars or jars from Leifheit or Le Parfait, nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a shelf full of various preserves and canned items and the knowledge that you created them all. If you have never tried home preserving before, now is the perfect time.

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Jam jar labels for a professional touch

labelsJam jar labels for a professional touch

Making jam is an enjoyable pastime for many people and the enjoyment does not stop once the jam is poured into the jars. Giving your own jams and preserves as gifts really adds to the pleasure of jam-making. Jam can be given as a birthday or Christmas gift, as a housewarming or thank you gift, or for no real reason whatsoever other than the joy of giving. Anyone who lives in the country will tell you that it is positively de rigueur in rural villages to take a jar of jam or some other homemade treat when popping round to the neighbours. With so many opportunities to spread a little happiness with jam, it is nice to complement your jams with pretty jars, lids and labels. As it is cherry jam season right now, let’s take a look at our pretty cherry labels.

Cherry jam jar labels from Words of Art

In 2011, Wares of Knutsford commissioned Words of Art to produce an exclusive range of jam and bottle labels decorated with watercolour paintings of fruit, vegetables, flowers, garden tools and small creatures. The illustrations for these labels were all produced by Rosemary Wagstaff, mother of Words of Art founder Caroline Wagstaff.

Within the Words of Art label range is a very pretty label pack featuring cherries. These cherry labels are perfect for labelling your homemade cherry jams or conserves. Each label has a central white panel to write on – just add the name of the jam and the date you made it, then peel off the label from the backing strip, stick it on your jar of cherry jam and you are good to go. Surrounding the white central area on each label is a glorious watercolour illustration of ripe and juicy red cherries. Teamed with our red gingham checked jam jar lids, these cherry labels would really set your jam off to a T. There are 18 labels per pack, which should be plenty for even the most earnest of jam makers.

Buy your cherry jam jar labels while stocks last

July is cherry season, which means there are undoubtedly pans of cherry jam bubbling on stoves up and down the country right now. All our jam making equipment is very popular at this time of year and these cherry jam jar labels are no exception. Make sure you order soon to avoid disappointment.

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Homemade cherry wine, the perfect summer drink

Homemade cherry wine, the perfect summer drink

July is cherry season and the perfect time to learn how to make cherry wine. Cherries make one of the very best homemade wines and learning how to make cherry wine could make you very popular indeed! Head down to your local greengrocer, stock up on cherries and get cracking with a delicious homemade tipple.

Our cherry wine recipe

This is our favourite cherry wine recipe by far. Make sure that you have the right equipment before you start – you will need a fermenting bin, a fine sieve, a gallon jar or two, a fermentation lock and enough bottles to decant the wine into. As a rough guide, you should get five bottles of wine from this one-gallon cherry wine recipe.

Ingredients

2.7kg sour and sweet cherries, mixed
1.2kg sugar
Campden tablets
Wine yeast and nutrient
Water

If you can’t source sour cherries, you will need to add the juice and zest of a lemon instead.

Method

– Remove all stems from the cherries and wash thoroughly.
– Put the cherries in the fermenting bin and crush them until they are well pulped.
– Add 2.3 litres of boiling water, stirring well.
– Once cool, add a crushed, dissolved Campden tablet.
– Add the sugar to 2.3 litres of boiling water and continue to boil until the sugar has dissolved. Once cool, pour this liquid into the pulp mix.
– Add the yeast and nutrient, then cover the fermenting bin and leave to ferment for about a week. Stir the mixture every day.
– After a week, strain the mixture and pour the liquid into a clean fermenting bin. Cover it again and leave for a further four days.
– Carefully pour the mixture into a gallon jar, using a fine sieve to ensure only the liquid is used.
– Top up the gallon jar to the neck, using boiled water that has been allowed to cool.
– Fit the fermentation lock and allow fermentation to finish.
– Rack the wine as many times as necessary. Add a Campden tablet after the first racking to halt the fermentation process.
– Siphon the wine into sterilised bottles.

This cherry wine is best stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year to allow it to fully mature.

Dry cherry wine recipe

If you would prefer to make a drier type of cherry wine, try tweaking the recipe a little. Reduce the sugar to about 750gms and replace the wine yeast with port wine yeast.

This time next year, you could be sipping your own homemade cherry wine. Cheers!

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The ultimate guide to cherry jam

The ultimate guide to cherry jam

July means that delicious, juicy cherries are in season and ready to be enjoyed. Few of us are lucky enough to have a cherry tree in our gardens, but cherries are widely available from good greengrocers, farmers’ markets and farm shops. Cherries are often available in small crates, which means there are enough to enjoy as they are and to make into jam. If you have never made it before, now is the time to learn how to make cherry jam.

Our favourite cherry jam recipe

Making cherry jam could not be simpler. Here is our favourite recipe:

1,800gms fresh cherries
300ml of water
Zest and juice of four lemons
1kg of jam sugar

Method

Pit the cherries and set the stones aside. Place the cherries in a large pan with the water, lemon zest and juice. Split all the cherry stones, tie them in a square of muslin, and add this to the pan. Heat gently until the contents are almost boiling, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the muslin with the cherry stones and set aside. Pour in the jam sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, bring the jam to the boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

Take the jam off the heat and test whether it has reached setting point by spooning a small amount onto the back of a chilled plate. Leave for a moment or two, then press your finger into it. If it is ready, it will wrinkle as you press it; if the jam is still runny, continue boiling it for a few minutes longer and then repeat the test.

Allow the jam to cool for 10 minutes, then skim off any scum and pour the jam into sterilised jam jars. Seal and label the jars and store them in a cool, dark place.

Cherry jam recipe alternatives

Whilst this recipe is our firm favourite, there are plenty of alternatives for the adventurous cook. Once you have learned how to make cherry jam, you can get more inventive with your recipes. Try cherry and cinnamon jam, or cherry and hazelnut conserve. Whatever recipe you choose, remember that cherries are low in pectin and you will therefore always need to use jam sugar rather than standard sugar.

Once you have made your cherry jam, it is time to get creative with how to use it. Try melted camembert with cherry jam for a delicious supper treat, or bake an indulgent Black Forest gateau. Whichever way you enjoy it, cherry jam is always a popular choice.

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What’s in season in July?

What’s in season in July?

With Wimbledon in full swing during July, it is impossible not to notice that the great British strawberry is in season right now. Nothing beats the delicious, juicy taste of a freshly-picked strawberry; however, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables in season this month. With so much choice at this time of the year, July is one of the easiest months in which to eat seasonally.

Fruits in season in July

There is a huge variety of fresh fruit available in July, with many soft fruit coming into season. Raspberries, loganberries, blueberries and gooseberries are all ready to be picked and devoured; alternatively, they can be made into delicious jams and preserves.

Rhubarb is still very much in season and makes the perfect accompaniment to fresh mackerel, which is also in season during July. Cherries, another classic summertime favourite, make their seasonal appearance this month. A bowl of fresh cherries is one of those quintessential signs of the British summer, just like those strawberries at Wimbledon. Whilst they are delicious eaten fresh, cherries also make a brilliant ingredient; for example, they can be used in cherry jam, liqueurs, cakes and pies.

With so much delicious fruit available in July, it is the perfect time to get out the maslin pan and jars, find some new preserving recipes and rustle up some new jams, compotes and preserves.

Vegetables in season in July

Alongside all the fruit available in July, the vegetable season is really taking off this month. New potatoes finally arrive on our dinner plates, as do peas. These are both irresistible when cooked with some fresh mint straight from the garden.

Salad days are here again, as July sees many salad crops ready for the table. These include lettuce, celery, radish, cucumber, beetroot, mangetout, spring onions and rocket; in addition, those with a greenhouse may also be able to enjoy their first tomatoes of the year during July.

With so much produce available, it is easy to feel swamped. Just as with fruit, preserving can solve the issue of seasonal gluts and can provide a wide variety of tasty treats for months to come. All sorts of vegetables can go into chutney, including tomatoes, celery, courgettes, runner beans, onions, carrots and cauliflower. Piccalilli is another option and is perfect to spice up a ploughman’s lunch or a cheese platter.

Whether you eat July’s produce fresh from the garden or make preserves for the months ahead, there is no excuse not to indulge and enjoy all the tasty fruit and vegetables that are in season in July.

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Making gin in jars

Refreshing cocktails in mason jars over wooden background

Refreshing cocktails in mason jars over wooden background

Making gin in jars

Drinking ‘jam-jar cocktails’ is all the rage these days, but indulging can be a costly business when out and about. Instead, why not make your own, and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home? One of the most popular choices is delicious gin in a jar. It’s the perfect drinks party tipple or antidote to a stressful day at work.

What you need for gin in a jar

You won’t need a lot to make this cool taste of summer; just a large jar or individual serving jars with lids, 50ml of gin, two small bottles of tonic water and some fresh strawberries.

The cocktail experts at Revolution suggest using Bloom gin, or swapping this – and the strawberries – for Beefeater gin and a grapefruit and lemon garnish. Of course, what you prefer will depend on your personal taste and you can have lots of fun trying to find out what you like the best.

As well as the jars and the fresh ingredients and gin, you might also need a little outside space and a deck chair. There’s no better way to enjoy a gin, after all. Even in the rain, gin in jars can bring your inner sunshine out.

The method for making gin in a jar

Gin in a jar is really, really easy. In fact, it has to be one of the easiest cocktails to try. This means that you’ve really got no excuse not to give it a go – if you’re a fan of gin, of course!

Start by filling a large jar or several smaller serving jars with lots of cubed ice. Add your chosen gin and your strawberries, or other fruits. Then, simply top with the tonic water and start to share it around.

Using individual serving jars can make the whole process of making gin in jars as simple and mess-free as possible, although there’s nothing quite like opening the fridge to the sight of a gloriously large jar of gin nestling within.

Once you’ve mastered the delicious gin recipe, you could try out some other jam jar cocktails. It would be rude not to, especially if you’ve invested in some great drinking jars.
These open the door to a whole realm of possibilities; from decadent cocktails and mocktails served up with the summer barbecue to an unusual mulled wine serving suggestion. Who said that drinking from jars could only be a summer pursuit?

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Making homemade lemonade

Making homemade lemonade

You cannot guarantee that the sun will shine every day, but you you can inject some sparkle into your life whenever you want by making a jug of fresh homemade lemonade.

There is nothing quite like the taste of lemonade made at home and it is much more versatile than you may think. The seven-piece Kilner Lemonade Set, for example, includes a handy recipe booklet to help you tap into some of the endless possibilities. Sets such as this make it easy to make lemonade and to serve it up in a traditional-feeling, fun way.

Homemade lemonade: what you need

Making lemonade is surprisingly easy. Even if you choose to add extra flavour injections, such as strawberry or orange, it rarely ever gets difficult.

There are many different recipes to try, including one from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection, which is the one featured here. All you need for making this basic lemonade is a lemonade set or serving jugs and a bowl, six large lemons and 150g of granulated sugar. How simple is that?

You’ll need to scrub the lemons with warm water and thinly pare three to remove the yellow outer zest. Use a sharp knife to remove any pith to stop your lemonade from tasting bitter and then place the juice of the lemons, the sugar and the zest into a large bowl or your choice of jugs. Cover and then leave it somewhere cool overnight.

Stir and taste, adding some more sugar if it doesn’t seem sweet enough. Once correctly flavoured, strain through a coarse sieve and pour into your lemonade jugs or bottles. Chill well and then serve up, either straight or with soda water and lots and lots of ice.

Homemade lemonade; try something different

You can easily transform homemade lemon drinks into barley water – and many other tasty combinations. For barley water, it’s a case of basically following the previous recipe for making lemonade, with the addition of a couple of extra steps.

Start by rinsing 110g of pearl barley under the cold tap and then cover it with 5cm of cold water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for three to four minutes.

Drain the barley through a sieve before rinsing it with cold water and draining it again. Then mix it with the lemon juice, sugar, zest and boiling water and follow the lemonade recipe.

Strain and put it into jugs or bottles as you would ordinary lemonade and serve it up to instantly bring a little sunshine into your life – whatever the weather.

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Benefits of Allotment Gardening

Benefits of Allotment Gardening

Allotments have been enjoying a resurgence in the last decade as people have discovered the immense pleasure they bring. It’s thought that the idea of common ground for growing food can be traced as far back as the Anglo Saxon period. The ‘modern’ allotment dates back to the 19th century when land was provided to the poor to enable them to grow food to improve their health.

Allotment benefits

Today’s allotment owners come from all sorts of backgrounds. The appeal is enormous. Not only can you grow your own fruit and veg, which definitely tastes much better than shop-bought alternatives, but there are other benefits to be had.

Firstly, you know exactly what you’re growing and where it’s come from; there’s no need to worry about food miles when you’ve got an allotment. Secondly, gardening is good for the body and soul. According to the National Allotment Society, just 30 minutes of gardening will burn 150 calories.

In addition to being great exercise, which improves physical and mental health, being outdoors will also improve your vitamin D levels (just don’t forget the sun screen and hats for when the sun finally comes out). And finally, the allotment is a place to meet up with like-minded fellow allotment owners. And a bit of chat over the garden fork is a lovely way to lift the spirits.

Allotment benefits in your kitchen

You do need to put in the effort but thousands of allotment owners will tell you that it’s definitely worth it, even when the weather is being less than clement. Once you’ve nurtured and tended your crops, it’s time for the best part: the harvest, and the eating.

Eating produce fresh out of the ground is of course fantastic, but this isn’t always possible. Preserving is a very old custom, and as a nation, we are famous for our jams, conserves, chutneys and pickles. Not only can you continue to enjoy your harvest throughout the year, but it’s also a great way to deal with a glut if you’re lucky enough to have one. And a jar of home-grown, home-made jam or chutney in a pretty jar makes a perfect gift – if you can bring yourself to part with it.

You don’t have to stop at pickling and preserving as your fruit and veg can play a starring role on the table in the form of casseroles, curries, cakes and pies. Ultimately, your meals will be all the more enjoyable for your allotment gardening efforts.

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How to Make Peach Punch

hage-peach-vrijstHow to Make Peach Punch

Peach is great in desserts, fruit salads or just eaten on its own, but it’s also a great ingredient for drinks. Liven up your end of summer barbecues with a peach punch or peach wine recipe for some very adult refreshment.

Summer peach cocktail
This sophisticated cocktail tastes deeply of summer.
To serve eight:
4 tablespoons caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 and a half lemons
75cl bottle of rose wine
150ml peach schnapps
1 peach
Half a lemon
Ice cubes
1 litre of soda or tonic water

Add the sugar and lemon zest to a saucepan with 100ml of water and heat gently, stirring regularly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool then add to a serving jug with the lemon juice, rose and peach schnapps. To serve, pour over ice and top up with soda or tonic water to taste. Garnish with slices of peach and lemon.

Sunset raspberry and peach cocktail
This summery cocktail looks as good as it tastes.
To serve ten:
2 peaches, peeled and stoned
100g raspberries
One and a half tablespoons golden caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Champagne or other good sparkling wine

Put the peaches into a food processor with half of the lemon juice and whizz until they form a smooth puree. Do the same with the raspberries, golden caster sugar and the rest of the lemon juice, then pass the puree through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. The purees can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you need them.

To serve, pour a layer of raspberry puree unto the bottom of a champagne flute, followed by a layer of peach puree. Top up the flutes with champagne or sparkling wine.

Peach Bellini cocktail
This famous cocktail works in the evening or with breakfast, Buck’s Fizz style.
2 ripe peaches, peeled, stoned and halved Chilled champagne or good sparkling wine

Blend the peaches to make a smooth puree. Fill a champagne coupe up to a third with the peach puree, then top up with the champagne or sparkling wine. Serve garnished with a couple of peach slices.

Light, dry peach wine recipe
Make up peach wine with a home brewing kit as you would any other wine, using the following ingredients:

2kg fresh peaches, stoned
725kg sugar
5g citric acid
Half a teaspoon tartaric acid
pectic enzyme
Yeast and nutrient

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Drinking jars for summer parties

Image 1Drinking jars for summer parties

Sturdy yet stylish, drinking jars look great, being casual, yet are sophisticated enough to enhance your summer entertaining. The luscious berries and produce available in the warmest months are just waiting to be showcased in a vessel that could not be better designed for outdoor gatherings. With a generous capacity, they are well suited for serving cocktails, beer or fruit juices and smoothies – any of the long drinks associated with lazy, sun-filled days.

Versatility of drinking jars

Drinks jars are the perfect blend of function and rustic style, the ultimate way to serve delicious beverages at garden parties and family festivities. They look good and are so convenient for occasions such as picnics and barbecues. Easy for adults and children to balance in all kinds of settings, spillage won’t be an issue like it is with the typical wine glass, which will just fall over placed on even the slightest uneven surface. No one wants to see a carefully-crafted cocktail disappearing into the grass.

Wares of Knutsford stocks a large range of drinks jars to complement relaxed events. Some drinks jars come with lids and reusable straws which mean drinks stay in and insects stay out. Other varieties, such as the Mason, which holds 450ml, are made of robust glass and come with a screw-on lid, that makes them a superb choice for filling and taking on a picnic.

Children will love the owl jar that comes with a tactile pattern and a tight-fitting, deep lid with a hole to accommodate the sturdy straw that accompanies it. Enhance the theme of your event by incorporating jars in matching colours.

Evolution of drinking jars

Jars with screw-on lids may seem like a simple idea, but someone had to think of it first. That task fell to John Landis Mason, a tinsmith from the US city of Philadelphia. His Mason jar was patented in 1858. The main purpose for the jars at that time was to assist with the important task of preserving food, especially as refrigeration was not widely available. The jars encompassed a huge variety of lids and styles (with a few battles over patents along the way). The jars are still used today for preserving food, particularly by home cooks. But the jars reached a whole new appreciative audience with the addition of handles that turned them into the fashionable and sensible party glassware on sale today.

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We’re pleased as punch that summer’s here: Get creative with your jars!

Image 1We’re pleased as punch that summer’s here: Get creative with your jars!

Even if the weather doesn’t always play ball, there’s nothing quite like the thought of sitting in the garden after the sun has gone down, enjoying an icy beverage with friends. Whether you are on the serving side of the bar or just like to entertain, why not get in the spirit of things by adding a personal touch to your jars for punch collection?

Colourful fun with punch jars

While these sturdy looking vessels are certainly a hark back to traditional kitchen wares of days gone past, customising them is so easy and all it takes is a little splash of colour to give your jar a new lease of life. Whether you leave them as they are or extend the design already on it, it’s the perfect marriage of old-time style and modern flair. If you’ve got children, why not challenge them to see who can paint the most interesting pattern on them?

Perfect for the summer BBQ

We’re not a fan of bugs and other creepy crawlies that can make a most unwelcome appearance at summer barbecues. The beauty of using jars as drink containers is that they are compatible with jam jar lids of the same range, making it quick and easy to cover drinks before the mosquitoes invade! Alternatively, why not drill a hole in the top of the lids and screw them on, popping a straw through the hole for easy access. Even if you’ve just got a lemonade, it’ll feel like you’re sipping on a luxurious cocktail. After all, these are jars for punch!

Not just punch jars…

In the event of a washout summer (and we know it’s possible), you might feel a bit sad for your jars gathering dust at the back of the cupboard. Don’t just forget about them though. Get arty and crafty with them! The sturdy construction of jars make them perfect candidates for candle holders – simply pop in a tea light. You could even try your hand at making your own candles using the jars as holders. Worried about safety? Use LED tea lights as an alternative, to get the same effect but with none of the risk of small hands burning themselves!

Whether you’re serving up drinks or scented aromas in your jars this summer, we want to hear your inspiration! We’d be pleased as punch!

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Fragrant Summer Drinks For All The Family

Fragrant Summer Drinks For All The Family

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to share some recipes for some cool and colourful drinks that are guaranteed to beat the heat. Drinks for summer are so quick and easy to make, whether you are aiming for cool sophistication with a kick as the sun goes down, or a homemade fruity treat to thrill the kids. Here’s a selection of our top thirst quenchers:

Non-Alcoholic Summer Drink Recipes To Die For

Raspberry Ripple Cordial
Like summer in a glass, this cordial keeps well in the fridge, and is extremely moreish with a splash of ice cold soda water and a handful of ice. To make, simply mash 500grams of raspberries, 500grams of caster sugar and a dash of red wine vinegar over a low heat for about ten minutes until you have a smooth syrup. Sieve the mixture, setting the seeds aside. Add 300ml water to the seeds, leave to steep and then and sieve. Combine the raspberry water with the syrup, bring to the boil and voilà! – a cordial that positively exudes midsummer.

Non-Alcoholic Mighty Mojito
One of our favourite drinks for summer, this is a clever take on the classic mojito and it couldn’t be easier to make. Take a good handful of fresh mint and mix it well with a tablespoon of caster sugar using a pestle and mortar. Add ice and the juice of a lime each to a pair of tall glasses, stir in the mint mixture and top up with a generous squirt of soda water.

Cool and Citrussy Tea
If you still crave tea during the hotter months, fret not – this is the drink for you.
Brew up as normal using 6 tea bags and 1.2 litres of water. Throw in a generous bunch of fresh mint and some caster sugar to taste and steep for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, halve an orange, squeezing the juice from one half and slicing up the other. Add the orange juice and slices to the tea and serve over ice. The result: iced tea with a twist, literally!

Summer Drink Recipes – Cocktail Time

Cranberry Surprise
We all love a surprise, especially when it involves vodka! This sophisticated cranberry-based cocktail is ideal for those hazy evenings when entertaining al fresco with friends.
Slosh approximately 200ml each of Cointreau and Vodka into a large jug, and top up with 600ml of cranberry juice and 400ml of fresh orange juice. Stir with a cocktail stick and pour into tall glasses crammed with ice. A slice of lime is the perfect finishing touch. Cheers!

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Our Latest Range of Swing Top Bottles

Image 1Our Latest Range of Swing Top Bottles

The swing top bottle is another vintage, kitchen classic that has enjoyed a revival in recent years. Aside from the fact that these bottles are an aesthetically pleasing addition to any kitchen space, they also have a number of practical benefits when it comes to storing and preserving liquids and drinks.

Swing top bottles at Wares of Knutsford

Here at Wares of Knutsford we are proud of our extensive range of swing top and swing stopper bottles. We are able to offer a variety of bottles in different sizes, styles, colours and designs. They range from our playful heart-themed 40ml swing bottle to the 1 litre, faceted bottles which are perfect for those who want to store larger volumes of liquid.

Our bottles come with a choice of resin or ceramic stopper, all of which are bound with a rubber seal and a strong, metal clasp. Some items in the range are available to buy singularly while others come as part of a set, perfect for those who wish to bulk buy. But what exactly is so special about these types of bottles and why should you favour them over a traditional, capped alternative?

Swing top bottles and their benefits

The beauty of these bottles is that the tried and tested stopper mechanism creates an air tight seal, ideal for safely storing and preserving items multiple times. Capped bottles can only be used once; when the seal is broken air can penetrate the bottle. With the preservation of food products being seasonal (June through to January) now could be the perfect time to invest in this sort of storage. We are also able to offer swing stopper bottles (offering a more robust stopper) made from heavy duty glass which are ideal for storing carbonated drinks to prevent them from losing their fizz.

The uses of swing top bottles

The practical use of these bottles is, of course, to store and preserve soft drinks, carbonated drinks, sauces, oils and dressings. They are also popular with home brewers making beers, wines or spirits (such as sloe gin which is steadily increasing in popularity). Our smaller range of bottles could easily be used as wedding favours, hip flasks or the perfect drinks holder for a summer picnic. Available in a range of shapes and colours, some of our customers have even taken to use these little bottles for display purposes such as vases.

In any case their rustic, timeless charm will undoubtedly be an attractive and useful addition to your kitchen this summer.

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Add a splash of style to your party with a drinks dispenser

Image 1Add a splash of style to your party with a drinks dispenser

Summer is here and it’s very definitely time to party. Whether it’s an informal barbecue for friends and family, or an outdoor wedding celebration in a gorgeous rural setting, choosing the right table accessories can make all the difference. It can help to transform an ordinary occasion into a day to really remember. A drinks dispenser from Wares of Knutsford is one way to add a stylish touch to that outdoor party.

Our range of drinks dispensers covers many sizes and styles, from 3.7 litre capacity dispensers right up to 8 litre versions. Each dispenser comes with a solid tap at the bottom of the bottle, so guests can easily top up their glasses themselves. That leaves the host free to concentrate on food, socialising and actually enjoying the party. The clip-top lid with rubber seal prevents spills and drips, keeping everything clean and tidy.

Which drinks dispenser to choose?

From smaller dispensers that are perfect for a family picnic or day at the seaside to the 2 gallon barrel-shaped whopper for larger parties, there is a dispenser to suit every occasion.

The 7.5 litre dispenser with infuser is a clever idea. Simply fill the central infuser with fruit, herbs or cordials and then fill the jar with water and let the ingredients gently flavour the drink. The dispenser is great for cordials, fruit punches and cocktails.

For anyone staging a country garden or vintage-themed wedding, the Kilner drinks dispensers are a neat finishing touch to the wedding table decor. Kilner’s 5 litre dispensers are available in clear glass, or a subtle blue, pink or green colour for a pastel theme. The embossed writing on the front of the jars adds to the simple but stylish effect. Elderflower champagne would look delightful served in one of these drinks dispensers.

The Kilner Vintage Drinks Dispensers

With its delicately curved shape and ridged surface design, the Kilner vintage drinks dispensers also make a fabulous addition to any garden party, picnic or wedding celebration. These vintage-style dispensers are available in 5 litre and 8 litre sizes, making it easy to ensure that there is always plenty of liquid refreshment available for party guests. The wide top opening means that it is easy to add fruit, herbs and ice to the drink and to keep it topped up without spills.

From a back garden barbecue to a sophisticated wedding reception, a drinks dispenser will add a special touch. Charming to look at and practical too, these drinks dispensers are likely to be a big hit this summer.

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Howarth Corked Bottles: perfect for infused spirits, oils and vinegars

Image 1Howarth Corked Bottles: perfect for infused spirits, oils and vinegars

With the arrival of summer, it has never been easier to explore the world of preserves. One of the easiest ways to get started is with flavoured spirits, oils and vinegars, and there are so many options for these that the enthusiastic cook will be spoiled for choice. Wares of Knutsford have just launched a new range of Howarth corked bottles, which are perfect for this type of preserving.

Infused Spirits in corked bottles

When people think of homemade spirits, sloe gin is the one that usually comes to mind. Nothing could be simpler than making it. Just pick the sloes once they’ve ripened, usually towards the end of September, wash them and place them in corked bottles with gin and plenty of sugar. Turn the bottles every week and by Christmas, the sloe gin should be ready.

Sloe gin is just one flavoured gin, however. All sorts of seasonal fruits can be used to make infused gins, such as rhubarb, elderflowers, raspberries, plums and blackberries. Herbs too make excellent gin flavours. Mint and ginger are great in gin, as are fennel, lavender and lemon verbena.

Cordials

For a non-alcoholic version, fruit cordials are a delicious summer thirst-quencher. Elderflower is a firm favourite, but many other fruits are suitable for cordials and offer a way to use up those inevitable summer gluts. Fruits need to be strong enough to be diluted and still taste good, so apple is best avoided. Blackcurrants are a good choice, as are plums later in summer. For a winter cordial, try Seville oranges for a slightly less sweet drink that will keep for up to 3 months.

Flavoured oils and vinegars

Another easy step into the world of preserving is flavoured oils. Starting with a good-quality oil, it’s possible to create an enormous variety of flavoured oils simply by adding herbs, spices, nuts or even citrus fruits. Using traditionally-styled bottles with corks, it’s possible to create unique gifts for Christmas or other occasions. Sourcing the freshest spices and home-grown herbs will give the best results. Ideas for infused oils include chilli flakes, rosemary, basil, garlic and lemons – although not all in one infusion, of course!

Infused vinegars are also amazingly easy to make, with seemingly endless choices. Try fennel with orange, for an exciting taste that is perfect splashed on green salads. A berry vinegar, using blackberries, blueberries or raspberries, with a few leaves of fresh mint thrown in too, makes an incredible-tasting vinegar. Again, using the Howarth bottles with corks for this project, these vinegars make inspired, thoughtful gifts.

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Let the Kilner Kitchen Composter take all the mess out of composting

Image 1Let the Kilner Kitchen Composter take all the mess out of composting

We all want to do our bit for the environment (and the garden!) and reuse, reduce and recycle. The reality of that can sometimes be a bit messy. Daily trips from the kitchen to the garden with food scraps can become tiresome. Luckily, Kilner has found a way to take all the ‘yuck!’ out of composting with its kitchen composters.

How to use the kitchen composter

The Kilner composter is available in a variety of sizes, so you can chose the right one for your household. Simply pop the filter into the lid, place your organic kitchen or garden waste (whether it’s leftovers, peelings or tea bags) into the steel drum and close the lid to seal it tightly. Then, once the caddy is full, take it out to your compost heap and wait for perfectly rich compost to form, just right for the garden! For best results, change the filters regularly to keep your kitchen fresh.

Special features of the kitchen composter

The Kilner composter is made of brushed stainless steel, which means that it is extremely durable, and can hold damp peelings and food waste without rusting or decaying. What’s more, the stainless steel keeps the caddy looking stylish and just a little bit retro on display in your kitchen, which makes a nice change from most plastic kitchen waste containers.

Inside the Kilner composters, specially designed carbon filters prevent odours from escaping and giving your kitchen an unpleasant smell, as well as stopping flies and other insects from getting inside. The lid is easy to open; this can be managed with one hand, perfect for getting rid of waste fast. There is even a useful handle on the top that allows you to carry the caddy from kitchen to garden without touching the sides. It really does take all the mess out of composting.

For many years people all over the world have used Kilner jars to keep their food fresh and sealed tightly shut. Luckily for all of us, Kilner has translated all of its expertise into a new way of dealing with kitchen waste: the Kilner kitchen composter. This cute little receptacle removes the need for daily composting trips down the garden, and is a pleasing visual addition to your kitchen. It’s great for your garden, it’s great for the environment, and it’s great for your nose! Why not try it out today?

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Enjoy Your Own Lotions and Potions with a Glass Sirop Bottle

SiropEnjoy Your Own Lotions and Potions with a Glass Sirop Bottle

There is endless fun to be had from creating your own beautifully fragranced lotions and soothing oils and rubs, and Wares of Knutsford has everything you need to get you started. For centuries people have experimented with and discovered the natural properties of various herbs and plants, using them to treat all manner of ailments from the common cold to more serious conditions. With more people than ever before now becoming interested in more natural alternatives to over-the-counter remedies, creating your own homemade lotions from freshly sourced herbs, flowers and botanicals is a fantastic way to bring a bit of nature into your kitchen.

A Fantastic Range of Glass Sirop Bottles

Wares of Knutsford stock a truly fantastic range of bottles ideal for homemade lotions and potions. With clear or coloured sirop bottles in a variety of sizes and styles, you’ll easily be able to bottle and label a wide variety of homemade goodies, whether they be lavender-scented oils to sprinkle on your pillow for a better night’s sleep, or honey-based moisturisers to give you glowing skin.

Simply decanting a regular bought lotion into a vintage-looking sirop bottle can suddenly make it more appealing, and with cute little 30ml bottles and large one litre capacity bottles, you’re guaranteed to find something the right size for whatever you choose to store in it.

Sirop 2Glass Sirop Bottles Help You Get Creative

There are all sort of recipes readily available which will help you get stuck in to crafting your own homemade concoctions straight away. We have known for centuries about the different healing and restorative properties of various herbs and plants – lavender relaxes and aids sleep, chamomile can reduce feelings of anxiety, St John’s Wort can help alleviate flu symptoms.

With a little research and a little creativity, creating your own oils, lotions and liquid remedies can be a fun and easy pastime. Home-made products such as these can also make great alternative gifts for friends and family, especially when you present them in an eye-catching and appealing way by bottling them in a sirop jar.

The pleasure which comes from an ‘I made that’ moment cannot be bottled. With a sirop bottle for every imaginable homemade product, you’ll certainly find this form of experimenting in the kitchen is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have.

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Have Fun Home Brewing with a Colourful Demijohn

Image 1Have Fun Home Brewing with a Colourful Demijohn

Home brewing has seen a real resurgence in recent years, with more and more people seeing the appeal of homemade produce and becoming keen to sample the delights of their own hand-crafted alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Not only is home brewing a deeply rewarding experience, but it’s also surprisingly easy when you have the right equipment.

Dazzling Packs of Demijohns for Your Kitchen

With a set of four beautifully coloured glass bottles from Wares of Knutsford, you can get stuck into brewing your favourite tipples straight away. While shop-bought flavoured spirits and cordials can be pleasant enough, nothing beats adding your own touch to a drink, and there is scope for lots of creativity in the kitchen. Playing with recipes and introducing new and interesting taste combinations mean there are endless possibilities for what you can do. Seasonal fruits can be used to greatly enhance the natural properties of many traditional alcoholic drinks, with damson gin and elderflower wine being particularly popular because of their unique flavours.

With a red, blue, green and yellow glass demijohn, you could even think about trying various different recipes and colour coding them. Each beautifully crafted bottle holds up to 1900ml, making them perfect for beginners just starting out on their home brewing experiments and small enough to tuck away in a cupboard until your drink has fermented and matured. Our packs of demijohns are top of the range, made from tough glass and with a traditional cork bung which keeps them airtight. Adding a splash of glorious colour to your dining table, your drinks can be served straight from the bottle – very impressive when you have guests round to sample your various concoctions!

Demijohns Make the Perfect Present

With more people than ever enjoying the arts and crafts scene, creating homemade gifts is fast becoming one of the nation’s most popular pastimes. Nothing shows you’ve invested more thought, time and effort into a present than creating it from scratch and personalising it.

Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary or for Christmas, concocting your own flavoured drinks and presenting them in a beautiful glass demijohn is a perfect way to show friends and family your thoughtful and creative side. With our packs of demijohns, you’ll be able to experiment with your home brewing, perhaps crafting your own mulled wines or sloe gin to really impress your loved ones – that’s if you can bear to share them.

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