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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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What makes a good preserving pan?

What makes a good preserving pan?

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

There are a few essential pieces of equipment that every cook will need when it comes to making jams, jellies and chutneys, with a good maslin pan perhaps the most important. It might be tempting to think that you can get away with using a large saucepan to make your home preserves; however, an initial investment in a specially-designed maslin pan will be well worthwhile and your pan will repay you many times over during its lifetime. In today’s blog post, we take a look at the qualities of a good preserving pan and highlight what to look for when you are buying a new pan.

How to identify the best preserving pans

There are a few key features that make a preserving pan perfect for the job in hand. Perhaps most obviously, the pan should feel robust and strong, since it needs to be able to carry quite substantial amounts of fruit, sugar and liquid. The handle should feel sturdy and reliable, as you will need to tip the pan to pour the hot jam into jars. An additional handle on the side is a bonus, as this will help with tipping the pan as you pour the jam. Good pans are quite deep to help prevent the jam bubbling up and spitting during the cooking. The base of the pan should be fairly thick to give consistent heat distribution across the whole of the bottom of the pan and to prevent hotspots and burning.

The pan should have a measuring scale etched into the inside of the pan so that you can see how much liquid is in the pan; in addition, the top edge of the pan should have a lip for you to attach your jam thermometer.

Our range of preserving pans

We stock several different styles of maslin pan in our range, with sizes varying from nine litres down to a mini 4.5-litre pan. The nine-litre pan is a professional grade pan, made from stainless steel and with a 5mm sandwich base. A striking alternative is our eight-litre black enamelled pan, which can double up as a stylish stockpot when it is not being used for preserves.

The Kilner red enamelled pan is another great choice with its eight-litre capacity and an internal measuring gauge. Made from durable carbon steel, this pan combines stylish good looks with robust design.

If a larger pan is not for you, the 4.5-litre pan is perfect for making smaller quantities of jams or pickles.

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A recipe for swing top bottles

A recipe for swing top bottles

last drop of empty water bottle on white background

We can hardly believe it, but the season of festive cheer is almost upon us and there are just a few weeks to go until Christmas. This means it is time to think about homemade gifts to give to friends and family, and about making some unique and appealing creations to take to parties and get-togethers. In today’s blog post, we take a look at a special Christmas recipe for a great festive drink that works brilliantly as a Christmas present and as a take-along drink for seasonal celebrations.

Swing top bottles look so stylish

If you are planning to make some homemade drinks to give as Christmas presents this year, it is important to think about presentation. The most delicious drink imaginable will look a little disappointing if it is presented in a re-used bottle, with just a plain white label on the bottle to say what it is. Instead, consider using some swing-top bottles for a stylish vintage look that really sets the tone. We have a huge range of bottles for sale, including plenty of swing-top models, such as the 250ml faceted Costolata bottles, the Kilner coloured swing-tops, and the 500ml sloe gin flask.

Filling those swing top bottles

Once you have settled on the bottles you will use, it is time to get busy in the kitchen. Flavoured vodkas are a fabulous Christmas idea and are guaranteed to go down a storm. Try adding sliced cucumber and tarragon for a zingy taste, or go for orange and cinnamon for a real winter warmer. These drinks will keep for up to two months, so make them towards the end of November to give them time to infuse well before Christmas. Add a nice label, and perhaps a festive ribbon or bow, and you have a thoughtful and attractive gift in no time.

Another vodka-based recipe that works sensationally in homemade form is amaretto. Combine 150g white sugar, 75g brown sugar and 225ml water in a pan, heating gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Add 500ml vodka, 2 tbsp almond extract and 2 tbsp vanilla extract, stirring well. Pour into your sterilised bottles and seal. This recipe is so good that your gift recipients will be hard-pressed to tell the difference from genuine amaretto!

We hope we have inspired you to have a go at making your own homemade drinks this Christmas. With such an extensive range of bottles for sale, including lots of pretty and stylish swing tops, we are sure you will find just the bottle you are looking for to set your drinks-based gifts off perfectly.

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Presenting your produce in jam jars

Presenting your produce in jam jars

PROVENCE, FRANCE - JULY 15, 2014: Jars ofa different french marmalade at the rural market. Street markets very popular in Provence

Good things come in small packages. First impressions count. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. There are so many sayings that point to the fact that, in everything we do, presentation is important. If we want to create the very best impression, we need to take care with the details and the way in which we show off our efforts and creations. Nowhere is this more true than in home preserves, where a reused jam jar with a grubby printer label can make a delicious jar of jam or chutney look distinctly unappealing in no time at all. In today’s post, we look at how to present your jams, pickles and preserves in the best possible way to garner admiring comments from all who see them.

Jam jar labels are key

As we mentioned above, a plain white printer label just won’t cut it when it comes to labelling your home preserves. Even worse is a piece of paper sellotaped to the jar! If you have gone to the time and trouble of making your own unique preserves, it makes sense to continue this care and attention in the labelling of your jars. At Wares, we stock a huge range of labels for all sorts of pickles and preserves. From colourful labels with gorgeous fruit or vegetable designs to cute oval labels that look fabulous on all sorts of jars, there is a label in our collection to suit your needs. The oval labels in the Grandma’s Pantry range are exclusive to Wares of Knutsford and are easy peel, making them a cinch to position on the jar.

Jam jar labels are just one part of effective presentation

A lovely label is, of course, the most important part of presenting your preserves in their best light; however, if you are giving them as gifts, selling them or entering them in competitions at country shows, there are other details you can add to boost the overall effect. With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to explore our range of display bags and gift boxes. These are just perfect for homemade preserves, holding either two or three standard jars of jam or chutney. It is a great idea to make several different jams or pickles and to include three different flavours in your gifts, with each labelled clearly to show through the display window at the front of the bag or box.

Why not browse our range of labels, tags, ribbons and gift bags today to ensure your preserves are presented professionally?

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Filling miniature whisky bottles for Christmas presents

Filling miniature whisky bottles for Christmas presents

Miniature Spirits/Liquour Bottle Mock-Up

It is just a few short weeks until Christmas, the shops are filled with Christmas stock and gift ideas, and the TV adverts have already started in earnest. If you have decided to take a step back this year from the commercialism that can often surround Christmas, you may be looking for some Christmas present ideas that you can make quickly and easily to give to friends and family this festive season. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some great ideas with you through our blog; today, we are kicking things off with some great ideas for drinks-based gifts in miniature bottles.

Miniature whisky bottles

It would be simple enough to pop to the local store and buy a bottle of whisky, or perhaps a batch of miniatures, but this approach has two downsides. Firstly, it can be expensive to buy from an off-licence or to buy alcohol-based gift packs from department stores; secondly, this type of gift does not show the recipient that you have spent time and care on their gift.

Instead, consider buying a modestly-priced whisky and decanting it into tiny bottles. You can then decorate the bottles to create a unique and creative gift that will be unique to you, the giver. Choose some festive ribbon from our collection, and some mini labels, and jazz up these little bottles to give them a really festive feel.

In addition to decorating the bottles, you could make some whisky-based infusions and decant these into miniature bottles. Try adding a jalapeno pepper, star anise, grated lime rind and honey to a pan and heating for five minutes before adding to the whisky and allowing to infuse over a period of several days. Decant this infusion into miniature bottles for a whisky creation that packs a punch! For a Christmas gift, you could also add mulling spices to a whisky base to create a uniquely seasonal flavour.

Miniature whisky bottles from Wares of Knutsford

Over in our online store, we have a wide range of miniature bottles for you to choose from, including bottles specifically for whisky and bottles in all sorts of other shapes and sizes. The 50ml miniature whisky bottles are a best seller at Wares and are available to buy in a range of pack sizes, from 12 right up to 300! If whisky is not your thing, we also have small bottles in a range of shapes, including some rather unusual ones. These include the Gladstone and Nocturne bottles with cork stoppers, miniature flask bottles, and even some swing stopper bottles.

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Plastic Jars for Home Storage

Plastic Jars for Home Storage

Variety Chinese New Year cookies in plastic jars

With the nights drawing in and Christmas approaching, many of us start to think about getting ready for the festive season. For some, this brings a feeling of panic about having to declutter the house and have a good old tidy-up before the in-laws arrive for Christmas lunch. If your kitchen looks like it needs a decluttering makeover, help is at hand. Today, we explain how to get organised in simple steps so that you can tackle your clutter in an effective way.

Plastic jars are the answer

Are you sometimes afraid to open a kitchen cupboard for fear of packets of food falling out onto the floor? Do you despair when trying to find the stock cubes or a packet of sultanas on your shelves? The answer to this common problem is to organise the contents of your kitchen cupboards using plastic jars and storage containers.

If you use a range of plastic jars to store items such as flour, sugar, cereals, pasta and biscuits, it makes it easy to keep everything neatly arranged. Plastic sweet jars, such as the ones we used to see in the sweet shop when we were small, are ideal for kitchen storage. It is easy to spot at a glance what is in each jar; in addition, they sit neatly side by side on your shelves, maximising space. With screw top lids, plastic sweet jars are airtight and will keep their contents fresh and safe from harmful germs.

For smaller items, simply use smaller jars and stack them on top of one another to keep everything in order. Buy different coloured lids to build a colour-coded system to help find the right jar quickly. Try to place similar items together on the shelves to make finding things as easy as possible; for example, store all your home baking supplies together, all pasta items together, and all herbs and spices together.

Our range of plastic jars

We have a huge range of plastic sweet jars to help you get your kitchen clutter under control. The traditional large sweet shop jars are available in 3,907ml and 4,430ml sizes, whilst the half-sized, square jars come in 2,534ml and 2,667ml sizes. Our spherical plastic PET jars are also hugely popular as child-friendly biscuit containers. As they are plastic, they stand up to wear and tear and can survive being knocked off the counter by eager biscuit hunters!

Plastic storage works well elsewhere in the house, of course. Try these techniques in the bathroom, the children’s playroom or a craft or hobby room for an instant tidiness overhaul.

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Spices for spice jars!

Spices for spice jars!

Glass bottles with colorful spices on the white shelfs

As a nation, we tend to be a little cautious when it comes to adding spices to our meals. Whilst chicken tikka masala may have toppled roast beef and Yorkshire pudding from the top spot as the nation’s favourite dish, we still seem to be a little reserved about experimenting with herbs and spices to create fresh, authentic and inspiring dishes at home. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some of the key spices that every cook should be familiar with and should feature in every kitchen spice rack.

Which spice jars to choose

It might be tempting to pop along to the supermarket and simply grab a selection of spices from the shelves to set yourself up with a basic spice rack; however, you will get better value, and fresher and more authentic spices, if you buy in loose packs from an ethnic supermarket. Indian, Asian and Chinese supermarkets can all be found in most cities and really are a treat for the keen cook, with shelves stacked with the most amazing spices, sauces and other delights to help you rustle up some sensational meals.

To keep these spices fresh once you have bought them, it makes sense to invest in a batch of spice jars. We have a wide range of jars suitable for spices, including jars with a grinder in the lid. If you already have a space in your kitchen where you would like to store your jars, opt for standard jars; if not, we also have a magnetic spice rack set and a 20-piece spice jar set from Kilner. Don’t forget that you will also need spice jar labels to avoid any unfortunate spicy mix-ups.

Filling those spice jars

Whilst most kitchens are home to a jar of chilli powder and curry powder, a well-stocked spice rack will include cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, paprika, ground ginger, cardamom pods and allspice. Cinnamon sticks are great for curries, while chilli flakes are useful to add to stir fries and oriental dishes to add a little heat. Cloves, star anise, mustard seeds and sesame seeds are also very useful.

You also need a good stash of herbs, of course, and we will cover these in a future blog post. For now, find out where your nearest Indian or Chinese supermarket is and head off to stock up on all the spices you could possibly need, ready to get creative in the kitchen. An enjoyable and aromatic afternoon awaits as you fill your jars, write out your spice jar labels, and decide what you are going to cook first.

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Glass preserving jars for the autumn harvest

Glass preserving jars for the autumn harvest

Autumn recipes, dishes from a pumpkin. Sweet spicy pumpkin jam in a serving jar, with a spoon, on an old rustic wooden table decorated with pumpkins, autumn leaves, a blanket.Copy space

If you have an allotment or a vegetable patch in your garden, no doubt you have been busy picking the literal fruits of your labour over the last couple of months, with crops of all sorts of tasty things coming in thick and fast. From autumn-fruiting raspberries to plump marrows and a seemingly endless supply of green beans, it seems like the harvest will never end! For those of you who are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or polytunnel, the growing season continues apace and you may still be picking tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and other delights. With this inevitable glut, it is both a pleasure and a necessity to get busy with the maslin pan and some jars to preserve as much of the bounty as possible.

Preserving jars to the rescue

To get the most from your fruit and vegetable harvest, it is essential to have enough jars for preserving. From small jars for making jellies to much larger jars for pickling onions or gherkins or preserving apricots, peaches or other soft fruits, always ensure you have the right type of jar for the project and that you have enough jars and lids to tackle all the preserving you plan to do.

One autumn treat that is a great project to try is pickled red cabbage. Finely shredded red cabbage pickles brilliantly with cider vinegar, red wine, mustard seeds, sugar, bay leaves, and a little ground black pepper. It tastes delicious with cheeses and cold meats, and works perfectly as a Christmas gift.

Our range of preserving jars

We are proud of our extensive range of bottles and jars for preserving enthusiasts. Most of our jars have a choice of vinegar-proof lids, so you can choose the colour that suits your project. From tiny portion-size jars for jams and marmalades to standard 1lb jam jars and even much larger jars, we guarantee that we can supply the perfect jar for any preserving project. With traditional jam jar lids, screw top lids from Kilner and Ball or clip-top jars for a vintage look, the world is your oyster as to which type to choose.

Don’t forget that we also offer some amazing bulk buy deals if you need a larger quantity of jars to cope with your autumn glut. Most of these bulk packs are available in 200 or 500 jar quantities, which should satisfy even the most committed home preserves fan. If you have plenty of jars but not enough lids, we also have some incredible lid-only offers to tempt you.

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Using food jars for home made baby food

Using food jars for home made baby food

baby food

We are what we eat, and this is especially true for babies. To stay healthy, babies and young children need a balanced and nutritious diet packed with all the vitamins and nutrients they need for sustained growth and development. With so many food scares and alarmist stories in the media, more and more parents are considering making their own baby food so that they can be 100 per cent sure of what they are feeding their children. Whilst creating an entire range of baby food is beyond the scope of this post, we want to share how to create a few simple items to start you on the journey to homemade, nutritious baby food.

Using the right food jars

If you are going to prepare your own baby food and store it properly, you need to use the right jars and to sterilise them thoroughly whenever you use them. Rather than making large jars of any meal, it is preferable to use smaller glass food jars that are suitable for just one portion. In this way, you don’t have to store a half-used pot of food in the fridge, and everything can be kept clean and germ-free. Our 125ml Bonta jam jars are ideal, as are the 110ml deluxe glass food jars and the 106ml globe jam jars.

What to put in those food jars

One good strategy for making baby food is to plan all the meals that you will need for one week and prepare them in one batch to store in the fridge. With a few exceptions, you can prepare mashed or pureed versions of the meals you plan to have yourself, if you wish. Mashed root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips and swedes, will provide valuable vitamins and minerals, whilst pureed avocado mixed with natural yoghurt will give a splash of colour with health-boosting probiotics. Don’t be afraid of using seasoning in baby foods, as your baby can tolerate different flavourings and will appreciate the variety of tastes. This does not mean you should serve very spicy foods to babies, of course, with a degree of common sense required.

For desserts, there are all sorts of possibilities. Mashed roasted pears are delicious, while apple sauce is usually a firm favourite. Mango can be mixed with a little yoghurt and then blitzed in a food processor to create a nutritious fruity dessert, while blueberries can be pulped, with a little water and cereal added to bulk up this tasty dish.

If reheating in a microwave, always remember to check carefully for hot spots in the food.

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Creams for cosmetic jars

Creams for cosmetic jars 

fresh as spring flowers

With the weather turning decidedly autumnal and temperatures dropping, it is inevitable that our skin starts to suffer. Chill winds outdoors combine with the drying effects of central heating at home to really put our skin through its paces at this time of year. Now, more than ever, it is time to take care of our skin with nourishing and hydrating skin care products. As with most things in life, homemade can be far, far better than something bought in a shop, with skincare products no exception. We have talked in previous posts about homemade moisturisers for women; today, we thought we would take a look at how to make a couple of skin care products for men.

Filling your own glass cosmetic jars

The basic principles for homemade cosmetics are, of course, the same for men’s products as for women’s, but the difference lies in the essential oils you choose to scent the products. Most oils that are suitable for women are too floral or delicate to appeal to men, so some experimentation is needed to find a combination that feels masculine without being overpowering. Essential oils that work well for men include sandalwood, bergamot, lemon balm, neroli, sage, eucalyptus, lemon, and juniper berry.

To make an aftershave lotion that will really appeal to men, start with a cup of witch hazel (available from your local pharmacy). Add a teaspoon of glycerin, along with eight drops of lemon oil and four drops of sandalwood oil. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and pour into a spray bottle, ready to spray after shaving. If you prefer, you can pour into a regular cosmetic bottle and simply splash into your hands before applying to your face.

If you prefer a cream rather than a splash-on aftershave, this is also simple to make. Take 25ml of coconut oil, 50ml of shea butter and four drops of essential oils from our suggestions above. Mix well and spoon into cosmetic jars. This cream needs to be stored in the fridge between uses.

Our range of glass cosmetic jars

We have a fantastic range of cosmetic jars and bottles in our online store. From traditional amber cosmetic jars to fancy frosted luxury jars, there is a jar suitable for every lotion and potion. Whilst women generally prefer the Laurence luxury cosmetic jars, our range of amber jars might well appeal more to men, as they have a slightly more functional look that gives them a masculine edge. Take a look at the range today to see which takes your fancy.

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Vintage kitchenwares

Vintage kitchenwares

A woman in apron with rolling pin in hand in the kitchen.

The vintage look has been around for quite a while and shows no signs of falling out of favour any time soon. From wedding themes to home decor, vintage-inspired fashion and accessories are here to stay. There is no reason why you can’t indulge your love of all things vintage in the kitchen, as we hope to prove to you today.

Metal food covers – vintage appeal and practical

Back in the days when mothers would bake religiously every week, there would always be a good cake available ready for friends and neighbours to drop in for a cuppa and a slice. Before the days of plastic cake storage boxes, a metal mesh food cover would be used. This looks just the same today as it did in the good old days, giving you an instant touch of vintage whenever you use one. Metal mesh food covers are not just for covering cakes, of course, and can be used to keep flies, dust and debris off all kinds of dishes, especially if you are eating outside.

It’s not just metal food covers

Here at Wares, we understand that there are some pieces of kitchen kit that you just can’t improve on with modern materials and technology. Enamel plates are just one example of this – they are perfect for taking on picnics and eating outdoors, and they are so hardwearing and durable. In addition to enamel plates, we stock enamel dishes for pies and enamel mugs for camping trips.

Other kitchen accessories with a vintage look include mixing bowls and pudding bowls. The Mason Cash range of mixing bowls looks just like it did in our grandmother’s day, although a few new coloured designs have been introduced recently to bring the Mason Cash line right into the 21st century. The colours might be different, but these mixing bowls still have the same basic design and proportions and will last a lifetime.

As for pudding bowls, who remembers some great steamed puddings from their childhood? Treacle sponge pudding, spotted dick and chocolate sponge pudding with chocolate custard – all were devoured with simple pleasure whenever they were served. Again, Mason Cash is the name to look out for. The company has stayed true to the original designs of these kitchen classics, doing little over the years except increase the range of different sizes.

If all this talk of vintage kitchenwares has inspired you to go a little vintage in the kitchen, why not dig out a copy of Mrs Beeton’s recipe book and have a go at some old-fashioned recipes?

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Homemade dandelion and burdock in a swing top bottle

Homemade dandelion and burdock in a swing top bottle

last drop of empty water bottle on white background

If you are a child of the seventies, you may well have fond memories of the ‘pop man’ – a home delivery service for fizzy drinks whereby a man in a van would bring weekly treats of lemonade, cherryade, ginger beer, cream soda and our personal favourite, dandelion and burdock. If you are a little younger, you have probably barely heard of dandelion and burdock, as it is a fizzy drink that has for some reason fallen out of fashion in more recent times. Fear not, as we have a recipe for creating your own dandelion and burdock drink so that you can taste it for yourselves. Read on to find out how to make this quirky drink.

First, grab a swing top bottle or two

As with all preserving and home cooking projects, the first step is to ensure you have the right equipment to hold the finished product. Swing top glass bottles are ideal for this project, as they keep the contents fresh and fizzy and add a vintage touch that matches the old-school dandelion and burdock flavours perfectly.

Always make sure that you sterilise your bottles properly before filling them, as failure to do this correctly can lead to spoiled results.

Ingredients

150g ground burdock root
75g ground dandelion root
½ tsp ground ginger
½ a vanilla pod
1 star anise, ground
Juice of 1 lemon
150g granulated sugar
1 litre of cold water

Method

– Add all the ingredients, except the sugar, to a large saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid through a straining sieve or muslin cloth to remove any pieces. Whilst the liquid is still hot, stir in the granulated sugar, ensuring that it dissolves fully.

– Once cool, pour into sterilised glass bottles and place in the fridge.

– To serve, mix like a cordial with soda water and add ice.

Our swing top bottle range

When it comes to swing top glass bottles, our range is hard to beat. From small 250ml Costolata bottles to one-litre whoppers, the range covers all sorts of shapes and sizes. Our 250ml deluxe swing top bottles are one of our most popular bottles, along with the Kilner 250ml swing tops that come in pastel shades of green, pink and blue in addition to clear glass. For making individual drinks to take on a picnic, for example, we recommend the 250ml bottles; for making a large quantity of dandelion and burdock to dilute on an ad-hoc basis, the one-litre size is more appropriate.

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Mini labels for small jars and bottles

Mini labels for small jars and bottles mini label 2

Whilst some people believe that big is best, there are plenty of others who prefer the idea of the best things coming in small packages. When it comes to homemade gifts, we think smaller items work particularly well. Instead of giving a whopping 2lb jar of marmalade or chutney, for example, why not create a group of three smaller jars of preserves? These will look fabulous as a gift set. In today’s blog post, we offer some ideas for home preserve gift sets and show how the right jam jar labels can make all the difference.

Mini labels make small jars look fabulous  mini label 3

If you are planning to make gifts of your jams, pickles and chutneys, presentation is almost as important as the flavour of the preserve. A secondhand jam jar with a hastily written computer label on the front looks like you have hastily cast around in the pantry for something to give as a present, whereas a beautifully presented set of three mini jars, each with a different tempting preserve inside and loving labelled with just the right jam jar labels, will show the recipient that you have spent time and effort creating something lovely and unique.

A trio of hedgerow preserves makes an interesting and unusual gift – try one pot of crab apple jelly, one pot of apple and blackberry jam, and one pot of rowan jelly. Choose some of our lovely mini jam jars and set these off perfectly with some colourful mini jam jar labels. To top the whole gift off, why not pop the three jars into one of our gift bags or boxes for the perfect presentation?

Our range of mini labels

In addition to our extensive range of traditionally-sized labels, we have quite a few rather lovely mini label designs. These are perfect for smaller jars and bottles and are especially useful for wedding favours, as you would typically use quite a small jar or bottle. Some of the designs from the always-popular Rosemary’s Garden range of labels are available in mini sizes and we also carry tiny labels featuring a Union Jack design and a design shaped like a tiara, which works brilliantly for weddings.

Whatever the occasion, and whatever preserve or infusion you plan to make, do check out our label range and particularly these smaller labels. First impressions count, especially with homemade gifts, so make sure your creative gifts really make an impact and impress anyone who is lucky enough to receive one.

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Our new range of oval labels

Our new range of oval labels grandma pantry 1

Autumn is the time for pickles and preserves. An afternoon spent bottling onions, making chutney, experimenting with jams and jellies and starting some sloe gin in a dark cupboard is heaven indeed for many of us. This means it is also the ideal time to launch a gorgeous new range of jam jar labels. Today’s post is dedicated to this new line, as we want to share with you the details of these great items.

Grandma’s Pantry oval labels grandma pantry 2

Exclusive to Wares of Knutsford, the Grandma’s Pantry range uses original acrylic artwork by artist Anne Ogden. The designs in the range really get to the heart of home preserving, with just a hint of nostalgia for the good old days when our grandmas really did have pantries filled with sweet and spicy pickles and preserves.

These oval labels are 75mm x 55mm in size, with ten labels per sheet and two sheets per pack, giving you plenty of labels for each preserving project you tackle. Cleverly, the labels are peelable. This means it is a breeze to get them off once you have used the contents of the jar, making it easy to reuse your jars for other projects.

There are quite a number of different designs in the Grandma’s Pantry range of jar labels to suit a range of different preserving possibilities. For jams and jellies, there are labels featuring traditional fruits such as apples, plums and strawberries; a label set with berries; and another set with citrus fruit. For chutneys and pickles, there are labels with delicious-looking marrows, onions, tomatoes and turnips and an ‘allotment’ design featuring wellies and a trug overflowing with homegrown produce.

For those who like to create infusions, cordials and liqueurs, there are label sets that depict long, slender bottles filled with appetising liquids; for beekeepers, there is even a label for honey.

In addition to the various ‘still life’ depictions of fruit and vegetables, these gorgeous jar labels include several designs with a colourful fruity border. Again, there are options for citrus fruit, berry fruit and traditional summer garden fruit, and these labels will really add a touch of zingy colour to your jam jars.

Alternatives to our oval labels

Whilst we are more than happy to wax lyrical about our new oval jar labels, don’t forget that we have an extensive range of other label designs from which to choose. From gingham checks to spotty dots, in all sorts of fabulous colours, our range is hard to beat.

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Bulk preserving in large glass jars

Bulk preserving in large glass jars 

Winter stores, vegetables in jars

Whilst the WI may insist on standard 1lb jam jars when running its home preserves competitions, it is a fact that some projects call for much larger jars. We would not suggest making strawberry jam in a half-gallon jar, of course, but there are plenty of preserving projects that do need this type of jar. In today’s post, we plan to cover some of these, with suggestions for the most suitable jar for each project.

Projects for large glass jars

At this time of the year, it is impossible to visit the local greengrocers without noticing the appealing sacks of pickling onions and the containers of pickling vinegar sitting on the shelves, waiting for you to be tempted. There is something very satisfying about rustling up a batch of homemade pickled onions on a blustery autumn day, knowing that they will be ready to eat around Christmas-time. Why not prepare one batch with a slightly sweeter taste and another with a spicy pickling mix for a little more heat in the finished product? If you can get hold of some gherkins, you could also try your hand at pickling these, ready to add to salads or burgers throughout the year. Again, because you want to make plenty of them and because they take up a lot of space in the jar, it is good to use larger glass jars for pickled gherkins. Gallon or half-gallon jars are ideal, but any jar over 500ml in size will be suitable.

Other pickling projects that suit larger jars are pickled eggs and preserved lemons. Pickled eggs have something of a reputation, with most people instantly thinking of slightly rubbery eggs sitting forlornly on the counter of the local fish and chip shop. When done well, however, pickled eggs can be a really tasty treat and are an excellent way to use up a glut of eggs if you keep your own chickens. If your greengrocer has an offer on lemons, grab a bagful and make preserved lemons, using them to flavour Moroccan tagines and salads.

Our range of large glass jars

We carry quite a range of larger jars for those super-sized pickling projects. Our biggest pickling jars come in half-gallon and gallon sizes, and we also stock 660ml pickle jars, 2lb standard jars and 580ml Gourmet jam jars. Whether you want a giant jar or just something a little larger than an everyday jam jar, there is bound to be a jar in our store to suit your requirements.

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Miniature bottles for gifts

Miniature bottles for gifts 

Glass bottle wedding favor christening on old wooden table

It seems like barely any time has passed since we were blogging about spring and the fruit and vegetables growing in the garden, waiting to be harvested in summer for turning into all sorts of tasty pickles and preserves. Suddenly, it is October and our thoughts are turning inevitably towards Christmas and the gift-giving season. Since nothing shows thought and care more than a homemade gift, today we thought we would talk about some ideas for giving miniature drinks as Christmas presents to friends and family.

Miniature bottles of homemade drinks

If you gather your sloes now and make up a batch of sloe gin, it will be ready to decant into smaller bottles just before Christmas. In addition to sloe gin, why not make some other flavours so that you can create gift sets of three or more different bottles? Try lemon gin, plum gin or even pomegranate gin. For a seasonal flavour, autumn berries are a good choice – think blackberries, hips, and frozen raspberries or redcurrants. Another great Christmas idea is a chocolate and vanilla gin, made by adding a vanilla pod and cacao nibs to the gin. This recipe is great for a last-minute gift, as it does not need to infuse over a period of weeks like sloe gin. Just make it a day or two before you want to give your gift and hope that the recipient invites you to share this delicious treat!

A great seasonal idea for whisky is apple and cinnamon infused whisky. Add roughly chopped apples to a jar, cores and all, with a cinnamon stick and sugar or honey. Pour whisky over and allow to infuse for three to five weeks before bottling in miniature whisky bottles.

Our range of miniature bottles 

Alcohol cocktails, shots in glass bottles. Row of many alcohol tasty shots with straws in small bottles. Creative cocktails. Unusual alcohol in bar, many, plenty of drinks for party., catering, event

From miniature whisky bottles to tiny 50ml liqueur bottles, our range of small glass bottles covers every option. There are diminutive flask bottles and fancier options, such as the Nocturne bottle with a cork stopper and the slender Esmeralda and Opera bottles. Whether you want to create some infused spirits, a homemade wine or even a cordial, there is a bottle to suit your project. Mini bottles work well as gifts when you group them together in sets of three or five, with a different flavour of drink in each bottle if possible. Labelled neatly, and with a decorative ribbon to set the whole thing off, this type of gift looks every bit as professional as the shop-bought alternatives and the recipient will be especially touched that you went to the trouble of making such a thoughtful homemade gift.

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