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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The versatility of milk bottles

The versatility of milk bottles 

Various flavors of milk in bottles with chocolate and strawberries isolated on white

For most people in the UK, the days of the daily milk delivery to our homes is long gone and the familiar clink of the glass milk bottles out in the street as the milkman trundles up the road in his electric float is a distant memory for all but a lucky few. Whilst it is rare nowadays to be able to find milk in glass bottles for sale in the shops, the good news is that empty glass milk bottles are still available to buy and we stock quite a range of different shapes and sizes. Whether you want to rustle up a yummy drink to serve in a milk bottle or to use these bottles in a creative craft project, check out our range to find the perfect bottle for you.

Shakes and smoothies in milk bottles

Glass milk bottles are ideal for serving nutritious and delicious smoothies. Try an invigorating blend of banana, spinach leaves, apple juice and the juice of a lime, all blended together to create a vitamin-packed superfood smoothie that is the perfect start to the day. Another great smoothie idea is banana, fresh milk, top-quality honey and chopped almonds. Blended together and chilled in the fridge, this makes an awesome breakfast smoothie that is filling and delicious.

Whilst a smoothie is a great way to start the day and ensure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need, sometimes something a little sweeter is the order of the day, which is where homemade milkshakes come in. These are excellent for children’s birthday parties and look fabulous served in old-fashioned milk bottles with colourful straws. Chocolate and banana milkshakes always go down well; alternatively, for something a little different, try blending some raspberries or blackberries with the milk for a wholesome, colourful shake that tastes sublime.

Creative ideas for milk bottles

Milk bottle creativity does not have to be confined to the kitchen; in addition, there are plenty of craft ideas you can try using these bottles. Try painting the outside of the bottles with chalk paint in pastel shades to create cute little vases that work brilliantly in groups of three; alternatively, tie old-fashioned twine around the necks of the bottles and hang them from hooks on the wall. With a single dried rose in each bottle, they will blend vase and wall art for a stunning effect.

If you love the vintage look of glass milk bottles and have some creative ideas of your own, why not share them with us on social media?

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Recipes for Kilner jars

Recipes for Kilner jars Kilner photo food in jars

Trusted the world over as the king of home preserving jars, the iconic Kilner jar has been used for making jams, pickles and preserves for decades. Whilst it is true that this is the season for making all sorts of jams and chutneys, there is so much more that you can do with a Kilner jar. In today’s blog post we highlight a few tempting recipe ideas that look amazing when prepared in one of these screw top preserving jars.

Savoury recipe ideas for Kilner jars

We have talked in previous posts about how great these jars are for layered salads. These are quick and easy to prepare and are great for an on-the-go lunch or sophisticated picnic, keeping all the ingredients separate whilst looking fabulous through the glass jar. Salads are not the only option, however, and today we thought we would showcase a few ideas for some savoury treats that work brilliantly in a Kilner jar.

Macaroni cheese is a firm favourite comfort food for many people and works brilliantly in a jar. Prepare your macaroni and cheese sauce in the usual way, then combine and spoon into the jars. Top with breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and chopped walnuts, then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

We admit that we were a little sceptical when we read about making mini pizzas in a jar, but it really works. Layer your mozzarella, tomato sauce and additional ingredients in the jar before adding a knob of pizza dough on the very top. Stand your pizza-filled jars in a deep tray filled with water, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so.

Puddings in Kilner jars

With a couple of ideas for main courses under our belts, it is time to think about dessert. One of the easiest Kilner jar dessert ideas is Eton mess. Whip double cream until it is thick and creamy, then add chopped strawberries and crushed meringues. Spoon into jars and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Chocolate banana pudding is another mouth-watering dessert that will have your dinner guests begging for second helpings. Layer crushed chocolate cookies in the jars, followed by whipped cream or creme fraiche, then bananas and a spoonful of good-quality honey. Repeat until the jar is full, ending with a layer of cream. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs and chill in the fridge.

Have you tried any Kilner jar recipes of your own? We would love to see your ideas, so be sure to share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Chutney jars for red onion chutney

Chutney jars for red onion chutney 

Onion jam in jar, goat's cheese and fresh bread

If you have already had a go at making chutney and your shelves are filled with plum chutney, green tomato chutney and courgette chutney, now might be the time to try a different kind to broaden your preserving horizons. Red onion chutney is quick and easy to make and goes brilliantly with cheese and crackers and ploughman’s lunches, and tastes heavenly on bacon sandwiches and burgers. It also makes a fantastic edible gift. With Christmas coming up, rustling up a batch to give as gifts to friends and family is a great idea.

Chutney looks better in chutney jars!

As with all preserves, you can make red onion chutney in any jars you have to hand; however, chutney really does look best when presented in specially shaped jars. Chutney jars tend to be slimmer and taller than conventional jam jars and we have a wide range to choose from in our online store.

The recipe we are sharing with you today will make one large jar of chutney, but you can always scale the quantities up if you would like to make a bigger batch.

A recipe for red onion chutney

Ingredients

4 large red onions
175ml red wine
50ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp light brown sugar

Method

– Chop the onions into fairly small pieces. Add to a pan with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.

– Add all the other ingredients, along with a pinch of ground black pepper, and simmer gently for a further 15 minutes, still with the saucepan lid on.

– Remove the lid and turn up the heat, cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the chutney is sticky and thickened.

– Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal. Once the chutney is cool, label the jars and store in a cool, dry cupboard.

More recipe ideas for chutney jars

If today’s recipe has whetted your appetite for chutney and you would like to make some more, why not give some more unusual ideas a try? Blueberry chutney is a delight, while fig chutney has a rich and distinctive taste. If you love Indian or Asian food, spiced carrot and ginger chutney might appeal, or even a coconut chutney or a tangy aubergine chutney. Chutney is so versatile that you can usually find an inspiring recipe to fit any fruit or vegetables you have available. Grab some jars and have a go at making chutney today.

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Key baking equipment for new cooks

Key baking equipment for new cooks

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

If TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef or Nadiya’s British Food Adventure have inspired you to get into the kitchen and start baking for the first time, you may be wondering where to start. If your kitchen cupboards contain little or no specific baking tools or equipment, fear not, as in today’s post we will guide you through the essential items you need to start baking cakes, pastries, puddings and pies.

Essential baking accessories

One of the most important items for any cook to acquire is a good-sized mixing bowl. You will be using your mixing bowl for everything from crumbles to cake mixture and pastry to puddings, so be sure to get a reasonably large bowl to cope with all sorts of baking projects. Ideally, you should get at least two bowls, of different sizes, as some recipes call for two or more mixtures to be made at the same time.

Once you have decided on your mixing bowl, the next step is to source your tools. You will need a good wooden spoon; alternatively, you can opt for a silicone version that has the advantage of being easy to keep clean and able to withstand high temperatures. Also consider a good rolling pin, a pastry brush, a set of weighing scales, and some measuring spoons. You might be tempted to skip the measuring spoons; however, this is a false economy. When a recipe asks for one tablespoon of an ingredient, this is a very specific amount and using a spoon from your everyday cutlery set, or just guessing based on a dessert spoon, is unlikely to give you the correct measurement.

Now that you have most of the basic equipment for making a cake, pudding or pie, you need to consider what you will cook the item in. Choose a selection of different sizes and shapes of baking tins, including some loose-bottomed or spring form tins to help you get your cake out of the tin easily. Loaf tins are great if you want to make fruit loaf, carrot cake or banana bread, while flan tins are needed if you fancy something elaborate such as a tarte aux pommes or a lemon meringue pie.

Additional baking accessories

As with any hobby, there is always another piece of equipment or a fancy gadget that takes your eye, or something that can make your baking life easier; however, if you invest in some mixing bowls, baking tins and the tools we have outlined above, you should be well on the way to setting up your baking toolkit.

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Homemade pasta sauce in Kilner Jars

Homemade pasta sauce in Kilner Jars

Composition of ingredients for the preparation of tomato sauce in the Italian manner

From lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and pasta bakes to shepherd’s pies, chilli and even soups, a good pasta sauce is a versatile staple that adds a special something to so many dishes. Whilst it is simple enough to rustle up on an ad-hoc basis, many of us resort to a shop-bought jar of pasta sauce all too often, as we think we do not have the time, or the ingredients to hand, to prepare a fresh pasta sauce. In fact, homemade pasta sauce is quick and simple to make. If you prepare a large batch in one go and store it in large screw top jars, you will always have some to hand and can wave goodbye to inferior sauces from the supermarket.

Kilner jars are perfect for pasta sauce

If you are making a large batch of pasta sauce, you need to ensure you have enough screw top jars ready for the project. Our 500ml Kilner screw top jars are perfect for this project; alternatively, if you have a large family, you may prefer to use the one-litre jars.

Ingredients

4kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme), finely chopped 60ml lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Method

– Wash and sterilise the jars in advance.

– Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once boiling, simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.

– Use a blender to puree the tomato mixture, then sieve it to get rid of the peel and seeds. Put the mixture back in the pan, add the herbs and seasoning, and bring to the boil again. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce reaches the consistency you would like.

– Stir in the lemon juice and pour into your sterilised jars. Seal the jars tightly and place them in a boiling water bath for at least 30 minutes. Once cooled, label the jars and store in a cool, dark place.

Kilner jars

If you have more jars available and would like to make some more pour-on sauces to store in the pantry for future use, why not consider a Thai sweet chilli sauce or your own versions of some favourite stir-fry sauces, such as a sweet and sour stir fry sauce, a teriyaki sauce or a szechuan stir fry sauce? These can all be stored in screw top jars so they are to hand whenever you need them.

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Jars of chilli jam!

Jars of chilli jam!

Tomato and chili sauce, jam, confiture in a glass jar on a grey stone background.

If you are looking for some fresh inspiration for your home preserves projects this autumn, now might be the time to try your hand at chilli jam. Whilst it is called a jam, it is not really the kind of thing you would spread on toast or put in the middle of a Victoria sandwich; instead, it is a really delicious jelly that is perfect with cold meats and cheeses. It also makes a delicious and eye-catching gift. Today, we thought we would share our recipe for chilli jam with you and hope you fall in love with it as much as we have.

Small jars are best

As this is a jelly that is used a little like a relish, you do not need large jars. Small glass jam jars are much better, as a little goes a long way when it comes to chilli jam. Our small hexagonal or square jam jars are ideal for the job. Let’s take a look at the recipe.

Chilli jam recipe

Ingredients

140g fresh red chilli peppers
160g red peppers
1kg jam sugar
580ml cider vinegar

Method

– Cut the chilli peppers into quarters and remove the seeds and tops. Chop these in a food processor until they are very fine, then add the red peppers and chop again.

– Pour the vinegar into a pan and add the jam sugar. Dissolve the sugar over a low heat, then add the chilli and pepper mixture. Bring the pan to the boil and keep it on a rolling boil for 10 minutes.

– Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. After about 45 minutes, the mixture should have become more jelly-like and is ready to spoon into sterilised jars. There should be small flecks of pepper visible in the jelly. Seal the jars and label when completely cool.

More chilli ideas for small jars

If you still have some glass jam jars sitting empty and want to make more chilli jam, you can always use normal sugar and source the required pectin by adding three whole cooking apples, pierced across their skins, during the boil stage. You can also make a green chilli version by using green chilli peppers and green peppers, which creates a really vibrant jelly.

For a richer chilli jam, use tomatoes, red onions, red chilli peppers, star anise, ginger and brown sugar, along with white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.

Whatever recipe you decide to try, be sure to share your experience with us on Facebook or Twitter. We really love hearing about your preserving projects!

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Craft Ideas for Large Jam Jars

Craft Ideas for Large Jam Jars

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

For some reason, people who enjoy home preserves or spending time in the kitchen rustling up delicious dinners or home-baked cakes also seem to enjoy craft activities. With craft allowing us to express our creativity, it is another way of relaxing and doing something enjoyable – with a tangible item at the end to feel satisfied with. As luck would have it for the home preserves enthusiast, glass jars make a great base for lots of craft projects and today we take a look at some inspiring ideas for jam jar projects to tackle at home.

Large jam jars make great craft projects

Whilst there is undoubtedly a craft project perfect for every conceivable size of jar, we are concentrating today on larger jars. One of our favourite ideas for glass jars is candle holders. Whether you want to create a candle holder for a single tealight or a much larger pillar candle, a glass jar will work brilliantly. In its simplest form, all you need to do is pop the candle in the jar and position it somewhere safe, then light the candle and enjoy the atmosphere it creates. If you want a little more creativity in the project, try painting a design on the outside of the jar. Abstract swirls work well; alternatively, if you have a talent for painting, why not paint a silhouette scene of a forest glade, with a deer passing through the trees and the moon shining down from above? With Christmas just around the corner, some candle holder jars like these could make excellent gifts.

More craft ideas for large jam jars

Another fun idea for Christmas is to make seasonal ornaments with larger jars. Collect some fir cones and pine sprigs and glue them in position on the inside of the jar lid, then break up some polystyrene foam into individual beads to use as snow. Place the foam beads in the jar and carefully screw on the lid, taking care not to knock the items you have glued in place. Stand the jar upside down and you have your very own snow scene.

If you enjoy having plants and flowers in your home, you might like the idea of growing hyacinths in glass jars. Take a glass jar and add some sand or grit at the bottom, followed by a little soil. Position the hyacinth bulb on top, gently pressing it down to secure it in place. Its roots will push down into the soil, giving a fascinating insight through the glass into what goes on beneath the surface when a plant grows.

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Preserving ideas for plums

Preserving ideas for plums- using jam jars

A delicious homemade jam made of freshly harvested organic plums

If you have a plum tree in your garden, you are no doubt enjoying plenty of plum puddings with custard, stocking your freezer with plums, and giving away bags of plums to anyone who shows a passing interest. If you have two or more plum trees, you are possibly wondering what on earth you are going to do with them all, as plum trees can produce a huge amount of fruit and sometime even cause branches of the tree to break off under the sheer weight. Whether you have your own plum trees or you have snagged a seasonal bargain at the greengrocers, read on for some great ideas for how to preserve your plums.

Preserved plums in large jam jars

One of the tastiest and most decadent things to do with all those plums is to preserve them whole. Choose large glass jars for this project and preserve your plums in red wine, port, or even brandy. If you want a spiced preserving syrup, add cinnamon and star anise – along with plenty of sugar, of course. For a tangier taste, try pickling your plums in cider vinegar, adding allspice, cloves, powdered ginger and cinnamon to the mix along with the sugar.

Quirky plum jam ideas

Traditional plum jam is a staple in many homes and it always delivers on taste and the feel-good factor. If you are ready to take your plum jam to another level, how about chocolate plum jam? You do not actually add chocolate to the recipe, just cocoa powder, but it will give a rich, sumptuous chocolate flavour to your jam that will have friends clamouring for your secret recipe!

Another unusual idea for jazzing up your plum jam is to add rum and raisins for a plum, rum and raisin jam. The seasonal flavours in this recipe make it the ideal jam to give as a Christmas gift to friends and family.

More plums? You will need more jam jars

If you have frozen, pickled and preserved a mountain of plums and you still have lots to use up, you will need more glass jars. Check out our range to see what takes your fancy and then hunt online for more plum preserves recipes. Right now, you might feel that you never want to see another plum; however, in a month or two – when the weather is cold and the days are short – those delicious plum jams and jars of preserved plums will offer a delicious dollop of comfort food that will cheer you up through the winter months.

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Ideas for Homemade Yoghurts

Ideas for Homemade Yoghurts in Kilner Jars

Healthy kiwi, banana, coconut parfaits in mason jars on a rustic wood background

Do you find yourself at the yoghurt counter in the supermarket, wincing at the cost of all the yoghurts you buy and fretting about all that single-use plastic that your family’s yoghurt habit demands? If so, it might be worth considering an alternative – making your very own homemade yoghurts. It’s simple and fuss-free, and you can experiment with whatever flavours you like, all at very low cost and without all of that throwaway plastic. In today’s blog post, we guide you through the process of making yoghurt at home, and show you how clip top jars are ideal for storing your homemade creations.

Making Yoghurt in Kilner Jars

Before you get started on your yoghurt making, it’s important to ensure you have the right jars for the project. Clip top jars are perfect, as they’re easy to sterilise and they fit neatly in the fridge. You can choose to put your yoghurt in a larger jar, or pour it into smaller, portion sized jars, if you prefer.

Let’s Fill Those Kilner Jars!

Making yoghurt couldn’t be simpler. Here’s our foolproof recipe:

Ingredients

1.2 litres whole milk
3 tablespoons live yoghurt

Method

Successful yoghurt making relies on perfectly sterilised equipment, so make sure you take time to sterilise your pan, thermometer, bowls, spoon and your clip top jars. You’ll also need a container to act as an incubator for your yoghurt, such as a thermos flask, a slow cooker, or a lidded pan placed on a hot water bottle. Make sure your incubator is also sterilised.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and set aside.

Pour the milk into a large saucepan, and heat the milk until it reaches 80°C (180F), but don’t let it boil. Stir gently during this time, to prevent a skin forming.

Remove from the heat and place the pan in the ice bath you prepared, stirring from time to time. Let the milk cool down to 45°C (110F). Take a cup of warm milk from the pan and place in a small bowl, then add the live yoghurt to it, stirring it gently to mix it well. Once mixed, add this mixture back to the pan of milk, and stir to combine fully.

Pour the mixture into your incubator container. If you’re using a slow cooker, heat it beforehand, but then turn it off when you pour in the mixture. Leave it for at least 5 hours to incubate, and then decant into your clip top jars and store in the fridge. Add fruits, nuts, honey or jam to flavour the yoghurt when serving.

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Ideas for Lunch on the Go

Ideas for Lunch on the Go using Glass Jars

food

If you go out to work every day, the chances are that over time you’ve tried just about every sandwich shop and takeaway outlet within a one mile radius of your office or workplace. That means you’ve probably tried all manner of sandwiches, wraps, paninis and other lunchtime treats, as you try desperately hard not to get bored of the same old thing every day. If you’re fed up of dull old sandwiches from your local haunt and you’ve had enough of paying a small fortune each week for your lunch, it’s time to look again at taking a packed lunch.

Packed lunches these days don’t have to involve a Tupperware box with a limp ham sandwich and an apple, as things have got a whole lot more creative recently. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some fresh and mouthwatering ideas for lunch on the go.

Salads in Glass Jars

Homemade salad in glass jar with quinoa and vegetables. Healthy food, diet, detox, clean eating and vegetarian concept with copy space.

Using screw top jars to store fresh salads for your lunch is a brilliant idea. Each day, you can mix things up a little and take a new and exciting lunch to work, using whatever ingredients you have to hand. With your screw top jars at the ready, lunch need never be boring again, and you can even choose a healthier option by avoiding bread and processed meats.

The key to creating a delicious salad in a jar is to think in terms of layers. Throw all of your ingredients in willy-nilly and you will undoubtedly end up with a soggy and unappetising mess. Layer the ingredients carefully, though, and your salad will still be perfectly fresh and crunchy when it’s time to eat it.

The first layer to add should be your dressing of choice. Then add crunchy vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, celery and carrots. After this layer, add ingredients that you’d like not to get soaked in dressing, but that won’t go mushy if they do get a little dressing on them. These ingredients might include mushrooms, courgettes, sweetcorn, kidney beans and lentils. Next up are the more delicate ingredients, such as boiled egg or feta cheese, followed by something like rice, couscous or pasta. The very last layer should be any leaf vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, microgreens or alfalfa.

Choosing Suitable Glass Jars

Screw top jars are perfect for this kind of salad in a jar lunch, as they will keep everything safe and sound inside the jar, with no leaks or spills. Check out our range of Kilner jars and Mason jars, to find the perfect size for your packed lunch.

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How to store food in glass jars

How to store food in glass jars

Collection of grain products, lentils, peas, soybeans and red beans in storage jars over on kitchen rural table. Vegetarian products.

Not a week goes by without the media telling us about how much plastic there is in the world, most of which seems to be heading straight to landfill and ultimately polluting our rivers and seas. If you are conscious of your own plastic consumption and would like to reduce the amount you use, why not make the decision to switch to glass jars for storing food at home? In today’s blog post, we take a look at the best jars to use for general-purpose food storage.

Ditch those plastic jars – swap them for glass jars!

If your fridge and larder are full of plastic jars with lids of every colour and you would like to switch to a more sustainable alternative, glass jars are the answer. Start by storing leftover food in clip top jars, ready to take to work for lunch the next day. If you despair at the number of yoghurt pots your family gets through every week, why not try making your own natural yoghurt, storing it in individual glass jars ready to serve at breakfast or to take to work with you? Once you’ve got the hang of making your own yoghurt, you will be thinking up exciting new flavours in no time at all and will see your plastic use plummet at the same time.

Another great eco-friendly tip is to keep a close eye on all your fresh produce. If it appears that anything might go off before you get a chance to use it, make something with it and store it in a glass jar. Turn tomatoes into chutney, cauliflower into piccalilli, and use up your mushrooms by pickling them with garlic and herbs. The same goes for fruit – you can easily preserve apples, lemons, oranges and pineapples; in fact, you can preserve pretty much any fruit.

Plastic jars still have their uses

Whilst switching to glass jars is a great idea, plastic jars with lids still have their uses, especially in situations in which breakages are likely. If you want to make yoghurts, granola or potted salads for your children to take to school as a packed lunch, for example, plastic jars might be a better option than glass ones. If you are heading to the beach for an end-of-summer picnic, plastic containers may well be better suited, as the chances are high that at least one will be dropped as you make your way over that shingle beach!

If you have some great storage tips using glass jars, be sure to let us know via Twitter or Facebook and we will share the best suggestions.

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Green bean ideas

Green bean ideas

green string beans and knife closeup on wooden board

Summer is in full swing and it seems that we can barely harvest the produce of our vegetable plots and allotments fast enough. It is the time of year when we wonder whether our tomatoes will ripen before the end of summer, what we are going to do with all our courgettes, and whether we can come up with some new and tasty ways to cook our green beans. We can’t answer all these questions in a single blog post, so today we will tackle just one. Green beans are a delicious staple of many a vegetable patch and they are in season right now, just waiting to be used in all sorts of tasty dishes.

If you remember your mum cooking green beans when you were a child, you probably recall them being boiled or steamed to within an inch of their lives. This was the way everyone cooked vegetables back then; today, we have become altogether more cosmopolitan and adventurous, even with something as simple as a dish of green beans. Try blanching them for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then transferring them to a hot pan with a splash of olive oil, a knob of butter, some crushed garlic, the grated zest of a lemon, and a few chilli flakes. Suddenly, a plain dish of beans has been transformed into something altogether more exciting.

Kitchen utensils for perfect veg preparation

Part of the joy of cooking comes with taking time to prepare things carefully. Even a humble serving of beans can be elevated to something special with a tasty recipe and some careful preparation. If you would like to be able to prepare vegetables like the professional chefs, check out our kitchen accessories range for the perfect tools. Our rotary bean slicer, for example, will give you perfectly French-cut sliced beans of a uniform size.

More kitchen utensils to make life easy

We have plenty of other kitchen accessories to help you prepare and cook your food more elegantly. From professional grade knives to specialist graters, madeleines and hachoirs, we have everything you need to do a professional job. When you have the right tools to hand, cooking seems so much more fun and enjoyable – and the results speak for themselves.

There are plenty of fruits that are in season; of course, we also have tools to handle them. From apple corers and peelers to berry pickers and cherry pitters, we have the right tools for every job. Why not check out our range of kitchen accessories and gadgets today?

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Baking equipment for an easy cake recipe

Baking equipment for an easy cake recipe 

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

Do you religiously watch TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, Saturday Kitchen and the recent Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, but cry off actually getting into the kitchen to do some cooking of your own because you simply do not have enough time? Whilst the creative masterpieces that feature on shows such as these may well take hours to produce, the good news is that there are plenty of awesome recipes out there that take almost no time at all to prepare or to cook. With preparation times of just a few minutes and cooking times of around 30 minutes, there are cakes to be baked by even the most time-pressed individuals. Read on to learn some quick and easy ideas for your next kitchen adventure.

Get your baking equipment ready

There is nothing worse than getting all fired up to bake a cake and then finding that your cake tins have seen better days or that you do not have the right size or shape of tin for the recipe you have chosen. A few key pieces of baking equipment, such as cake tins in various sizes, a pastry brush, some cutters and a decent mixing bowl, will set you up for all sorts of baking challenges.

That’s the baking equipment sorted, let’s get on with the baking… 

Marble cake - Homemade sweet dessert

There are plenty of cake recipes that you can pull together in around an hour, including both prep time and cooking. Muffins and cupcakes are great examples, and you can experiment with microwave cakes for a quick result. For today’s post, we have chosen a classic marble cake that will take an hour in total.

Ingredients

230g unsalted butter, softened
230g caster sugar
230g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp red food colouring or 2 tbsp cocoa (depending on whether you want colourful or chocolate!)

Method

– Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Place all the ingredients, except the colouring or cocoa, into a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.

– Split the mixture into two bowls. Add the red food colouring or the cocoa to one of the bowls and mix thoroughly. Put alternate spoonfuls from each bowl into the cake tin until all the mixture is used up. Drag a skewer through the mixture to create the swirling, marbled effect.

– Bake the cake for 45 minutes until a skewer pushed into the cake comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.

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