Baking Tools – The Lattice Pastry Cutter

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

Baking Tools – lattice pastry cutter

 Anyone who enjoys home baking, and cooking in general, will have a treasured collection of kitchen tools and gadgets they could not do without. From palette knives to cookie cutters and citrus reamers to spatulas, we all have our favourite items that we consider old friends. One kitchen gadget that is often overlooked, however, is the nifty lattice pastry cutter – a gadget so clever that it can make you look fabulously talented in the pastry department!

 Is there a lattice pastry cutter in your baking tools collection?

 We have all seen images of beautiful lattice-topped creations in cookery books and on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. If you have admired these gorgeous bakes but assumed they are beyond your culinary capabilities, it is time to get yourself a pastry cutter.

 Lattice pastry cutters take the hard work out of creating beautiful, consistent lattice tops for your pies and pastries. All you do is roll out your pastry with a rolling pin, press the cutter into the pastry, and roll it along firmly. Lift up the pastry and lay it gently on top of your pie, helping the lattice holes to open up a little. Trim off the edges, and hey presto – you have a professional-looking lattice pie.

 Lattice tops work brilliantly on fruit pies, whether you love apple pie, cherry pie or something altogether more exotic, such as blueberries and cream. For savoury pies, try pheasant and hare lattice pie, or go vegetarian with a butternut squash and ricotta cheese lattice pie; in fact, you can convert any traditional pie into a fancy lattice pie if you want to impress your dinner guests or try something different.

 More essential baking tools

 Pastry cutters are not the only hidden gems in the kitchen gadget drawer. A browse through the tools and gadgets section in our online store will have you wondering how you ever managed without certain clever little items. A traditional rotary whisk is one example – how many times have you had to get out the big electric whisk just to do a quick task? With an old-fashioned rotary whisk, you can complete the job quickly and efficiently and with much less washing up to do. You also get far better control of the whisking process, meaning that you don’t end up overworking your mixture.

 It is easy to think that certain baking techniques are too complicated or time-consuming to try; however, we hope that our pastry cutters example has demonstrated that clever tools make light work of many tasks.


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Baking Equipment

35_cm_mixing_bowl__09522.1351714728.1280.1280[1]Baking Equipment

 We are fond of a bit of nostalgia here at Wares of Knutsford, and what could bring back happy childhood memories more easily than the humble mixing bowl? Many of us can recall standing on a small step in the kitchen, by our mother’s side, waiting patiently for permission to ‘lick the spoon’ after she had made a cake or pudding. Health and safety recommendations have no doubt changed since those days, and we do not generally encourage anyone to eat raw mixture ingredients; nonetheless, these mixing bowl memories are fondly treasured.

The Mixing Bowl

 It may be tempting to think of baking as old-fashioned; however, nothing could be further from the truth, thanks in large part to TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef. Baking is as popular today as it has ever been, and your mixing bowl is perhaps the single most important piece of baking equipment in the kitchen.

 The company behind the traditional pale brown mixing bowls is still going strong; today, it produces bowls in a variety of sizes. Mason Cash has even extended its mixing bowl range in recent years to include different colours and patterns on the outside. The bowls are just as tough and hardwearing as they ever were, of course, and they will give you years of baking service.

 More baking equipment from Mason Cash

 In addition to mixing bowls, Mason Cash has, over the years, extended its kitchenwares range quite substantially. Traditional pudding basins are ever popular and are available in a range of sizes. Just looking at the white pudding basins has made us all nostalgic again – this time for hearty puddings such as spotted dick, treacle suet pudding, summer fruit pudding and, of course, chocolate sponge pudding with chocolate custard!

 Mason Cash’s range of traditional cane baking dishes has also grown over the years. These iconic dishes are perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes, such as lamb cobbler, cottage pie and fruit crumble.

 One completely new line for Mason Cash is its range of terracotta dishes. From open casserole dishes to an authentic clay tagine, this range is ideal for anyone looking to explore some Mediterranean cooking. The range even includes a terracotta baking stone, which is perfect for achieving restaurant-quality pizzas. The range has been really well received by cooks and is definitely something to explore.

 If we have inspired you to do some baking, check out our range of mixing bowls and other baking equipment to see whether you feel as nostalgic about baking as we do!


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Fun with small milk bottles

Three bottles of cold lemonade with lemon slices and straws isolated on a white background

Three bottles of cold lemonade with lemon slices in 250ml milk bottles.

Fun with small milk bottles

 We are feeling nostalgic in today’s post, as we look at those small milk bottles we all remember from our school days and at how they can be used today, both for drinks and in vintage-inspired craft projects.

Who remembers the days of free school milk? You have to be of a certain age to remember school milk in little glass bottles. Some children loved it, and some hated it. Sometimes it was refreshing and cold, and sometimes it was slightly warm and unappetising; however, it was all part of those early school years. For many of us, it is one of our earliest memories, which is why we look back at it so fondly – regardless of whether we enjoyed our actual school days.

 Small milk bottles for crafts

 Bottles of all shapes and sizes lend themselves very well to being used as vases, of course, and our small milk bottles are no exception. Cluster them in a group of six or seven and place a single flower stem in each bottle. Tulips and bluebells work well; however, if you grow flowers in your garden, why not pick a mixed bunch and place a different stem in each bottle for a country bouquet effect?

 These bottles can be left plain for a simple, vintage-thrift look; alternatively, you can decorate them for a more contemporary style. You can paint the outside of the glass or pour paint inside the bottle and swirl it around to coat the inside – both work well and give an amazing effect. Try painting the outside of the bottle white or cream and then add polka dots of different colours around the bottle for a fun and unique new vase that looks a lot more expensive than it really is.

 Small milk bottles for weddings

 One of the prettiest ideas we have seen for using milk bottles at weddings is to carefully glue some decorative lace around the bottom half of the bottle and place a dainty sprig of white gypsophila in the bottle, using it as a vase. Grouped together in threes, these bottle vases look so romantic and sophisticated.

 Small milk bottles with lids can also be used to serve fun drinks at weddings. Whether elderflower champagne, grapefruit prosecco or pink lemonade, serving these drinks in small milk bottles with lids and a straw will look fabulous and lend a sense of vintage-inspired fun to the proceedings.

Whether for the home or for your wedding, a small milk bottle can become an elegant and unfussy accessory with a timeless vintage charm.


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Storing in Plastic Jars

Plastic sweet jar taylor davisPlastic Jars are fantastic for storage

 In today’s post, we take a look at plastic storage jars and the many ways in which they can be utilised to de-clutter your home and keep it neat and tidy. Plastic jars might not look very exciting; however, once you have used them to get super-organised, you will be convinced of their charms and determined to use them whenever and wherever you can.

 Plastic jars for the kitchen

 Starting in the kitchen, there are all sorts of ways in which plastic storage can help to keep everything tidy. Rice, pasta and beans all store well in plastic containers; in addition, storing them in this way means that you avoid the ‘split pack’ problem. Use plastic jars with lids for this purpose so that the food is kept in airtight conditions.

 Sweets and biscuits are also best stored in plastic jars with lids to prevent them going stale for as long as possible. If you need to keep cookie jars out of reach of little hands, these jars can safely be stored on a high shelf, or on top of the fridge, without fear of them breaking should they be dropped.

 Plastic jars for the rest of the house

 It is not just in the kitchen that these jars come in incredibly handy. They are so versatile that they can be used in pretty much every room in the house. In the bathroom, use them for storing cotton buds, cotton wool balls and hair grips; in the children’s playroom, larger jars are perfect for holding toy parts, such as Lego, farmyard animals and jigsaw pieces, and for colouring pens and pencils. If you are forever knocking over a bag of pet food in the utility room, pour it all into one of our larger plastic jars with lids and you will solve the problem once and for all.

 Out in the shed or greenhouse, there are plenty of reasons to choose plastic storage jars. From storing nails, screws and tacks to keeping twine and plant labels close to hand, a few storage jars on a shelf will keep everything tidy and banish the annoying issue of never being able to find what you need.

 It is easy to think that plastic storage jars are just for the kitchen; however, whilst it is true that they are very handy there, they are just as useful in lots of other places around the home. If you take a good look at your organisational problems, you will soon find that plastic storage can go a long way to fixing them. Plastic is very definitely fantastic!


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Fun with drinking jars

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

Ice tea with slice of lemon in mason drinking jars

Fun with drinking jars

 Drinking jars are currently all the rage and are popping up in bars and restaurants up and down the country. If you came across a drinking jar – or two – at your office Christmas party this year and are inspired to source some for your own parties and get-togethers, read on for some creative drinks ideas and a brief run-down of the jars we stock.

 Imaginative ideas for drinks in drinking jars

 Whilst you can serve pretty much anything in a drinking jar, they are a fun item and the drinks you serve should also be fun. Pina coladas look fabulous and so colourful in these jars and take you back to the 70s and 80s. For a novel spin on the traditional gin and tonic, try adding blueberries instead of a lemon slice for a colourful, intriguing and quite delicious drink. For a super-elegant option, try basil vodka. Put plenty of ice in the jar, pour the vodka over the ice and add two or three basil leaves and a slice of lime. For a late summer cocktail, add crushed blackberries to tequila and serve over ice with a sprig of fresh mint.

 Drinking jars for non-alcoholic drinks

 It is easy to achieve the wow factor with alcoholic drinks in jars, but how do you satisfy the non-drinkers at your party? After all, it is no fun watching your friends sipping a fabulously decadent drink served in a quirky jar whilst you sip plain orange juice from a standard hi-ball glass. If you want to offer some seriously cool non-alcoholic drinks, why not try your hand at ‘mocktails’ such as the classic Shirley Temple, which contains ginger ale, grenadine and a maraschino cherry? A ginger and elderflower cocktail is another great alcohol-free tipple and looks gorgeous served in a jar with a big slice of lemon.

 Our drinking jar range is extensive, with all sorts of shapes and sizes available. Some have handles, which make warm drinks easier to carry, and most have a drinking straw in the lid. Sizes range from the 140ml mini jar through to the 630ml (one pint) jars. Many of the jars follow the simple styling of standard Mason and Kilner jars; in addition, we offer a few more decorative jars, such as the owl-shaped jar and the coloured and vintage-styled jars from Kilner.

 There is so much fun to be had with a drinking jar – somehow, they just add a certain something to any party. Take a look at our range today and start planning your next party event.


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Recipe for Peach and Amaretto Jam for Kilner Jars

Baguette with peach jam served on a breakfast plate

Baguette with peach jam served on a breakfast plate

Recipe for peach and amaretto jam for Kilner Jars

All keen jam makers have their firm favourites when it comes to which preserves to make. We all love a good strawberry jam and an apple and blackberry jam is usually on everyone’s list of favourites; however, there is no denying that we also enjoy a new recipe – something that stirs our creative juices and gives us a fresh challenge. In today’s post, we will discuss an unusual jam recipe from Kilner, the firm behind the iconic clip top jam jars. Kilner’s recipe is heavenly and we have added a couple of ideas for a slight twist on the original recipe. If peach and amaretto sounds divine as a jam recipe, read on to find out more.

Get those Kilner jars ready

 Before you start your jam-making plans, ensure you have enough Kilner jars available. The recipe makes about 1.3kg of jam; therefore, three 500ml clip top jars should suffice. Make sure you thoroughly sterilise the jars before use.


1.3kg peaches

250ml water

2 lemons, juiced

1.3kg sugar

50ml amaretto


 Peel the peaches carefully or blanch them quickly to remove the skins. Set the skins aside.

 Remove the stones and chop the fruit into cubes. Boil the skins in a little water to soften them, then press them through a sieve onto the peach fruit. Simmer the fruit until it is quite soft.

 Add the sugar and lemon juice and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring continuously. When setting point is reached, remove from the heat and remove any scum from the jam.

 Leave to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the amaretto. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

 This jam is delicious served on toast for breakfast; alternatively, it can be used to add a fantastic twist to other dishes. Next time you make a bread and butter pudding, spread some of this jam on the slices of bread for a sensational sweet treat. It is also a super-tasty jam used in a jam sponge pudding and you could even spread it on sponge fingers in a classic trifle.

 More peachy ideas for Kilner jars

 If amaretto is not to your taste, you could always substitute another liqueur or spirit, such as brandy, vodka or even prosecco. For a non-alcoholic version, try using vanilla instead of amaretto. Another match made in heaven is peach and butterscotch jam, which is easy to make using a standard peach jam recipe and a drop or two of butterscotch essence.


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Cosmetic Jars and their many uses

Cosmetic jars and their many uses

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to make more homemade items, have you considered replacing shop-bought cosmetics with homemade alternatives? In addition to potentially saving lots of money, you can create unique products tailored to your exact requirements, cutting your carbon footprint in the process by reducing the number of manufactured products you buy. Read on for some smart ideas on homemade cosmetics and the jars we stock that are perfect to put them in.

 Small cosmetic jars

 With winter weather coming at us from all angles, now is the time to protect our skin, lips and hands with balms and creams. Peppermint lip balm is easy to make, using beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter and peppermint oil. Simply melt all the ingredients, then add the essential oil and pour immediately into our 5ml lip salve jar. Hey presto, you have made your own soothing lip balm in no time at all.

 It is a little more complicated to make your own foundation or blusher, as you will need to experiment to get the exact shade you require. With a little patience, however, you can come up with a homemade product that is every bit as good as a store-bought item and has far less chemical additives. Our 50ml Laurence frosted cosmetic jar would work perfectly here, as would any similarly-sized clear cosmetic jar.

 Large cosmetic jars

 When it comes to bath salts and body scrubs, larger jars are more suitable. Homemade bath salts can be very pretty and our 500ml clear cosmetic jar allows your creative endeavours to be admired. Mix coarse sea salt, Epsom salt and baking soda to form the bulk of the bath salts, then add essential oils to make your chosen fragrance and a drop of food colouring to make it look pretty. Check online for specific quantities and suggested ‘recipes’, or experiment to find the perfect blend.

 There are also plenty of ideas available online for homemade ointments. With ointments and creams to treat everything from eczema and dry skin to burns and stings, a little online research and some common sense will help you to create your own soothing balms and potions for quite a few minor medical treatments. Our amber glass jars might be more appropriate for homemade ointments and balms, as they instantly indicate that the contents are more medicine than makeup

Jar of white body care cosmetic cream, herbal oil extract bottle, fresh calendula flowers.

Discover our range of cosmetic jars!

If we have given you food for thought where homemade cosmetics and ointments are concerned, check out our range of jars today and give it a go.


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Miniature Bottles For Wedding Favours!

blue cologne in small bottle and dry flowers on old tree background.  Photo toned and with vignette. photo with shallow depth of field

Our best seller “Gladstone Bottle” ideal for wedding favours.

Miniature bottles for wedding favours

 Spring is just around the corner, and love is in the air. It might seem cold and miserable outside right now, but we are fast approaching the spring wedding season. If you are planning to get married this spring or at Easter and have not yet decided on your wedding favours, read on for some inspiring ideas on using some of our small bottles.

Miniature bottles and wedding favour ideas

 We stock a comprehensive range of small bottles to suit all sorts of drinks and ideas, and our most popular miniature bottle is the 50ml Gladstone bottle with corks. We never cease to be amazed at the creativity of our wedding couples, who keep coming up with novel and exciting ways to use these bottles as wedding favours.

 Damson gin and sloe gin are firm favourites with wedding couples, whilst others have gone for a cocktail theme, creating individual margaritas or pina coladas in these charming little bottles. Topped off with a cute label and a drinking straw, they are bound to impress wedding guests no matter what style of wedding you are planning.

 We have also seen our Gladstone bottles used for non-drinks wedding favours. From a single dried rose in each bottle to a sprinkling of scented petals, flowers work well as favours and add a romantic and whimsical touch to wedding tables. Candles, sweets and herbs have also been used to create unique and highly-personalised wedding favours in these bottles.

 Miniature bottles for infused spirits

 Another favourite in our range of small bottles is our miniature whisky bottles. Particularly popular with Scottish couples, these miniature whisky bottles are filled with the bride and groom’s favourite tipple, often topped off with a tartan-themed label or tag or a Scottish thistle. From popular mainstream brands to tiny, off-the-beaten-track distilleries from the Highlands and Islands, our wedding couples take a lot of time and care in choosing the right whisky and the right bottles for their wedding favours.

 Couples who are looking for a homemade twist often choose to infuse their spirits before bottling them in our miniature bottles. From apple-infused brandy to spiced bourbon or homemade cream liqueurs, it is easy to get creative with spirits and give your wedding favours a unique twist and something of a kick at the same time!

 Many of our small bottles are available in bulk packs, with the Gladstone and whisky bottles both available in bumper packs of 130 bottles. These packs represent very good value for money, meaning there is no need to worry about blowing the wedding budget.


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Marmalade Jars For January

Citrus jam in glass jar, selective focus

The perfect jar for tasty marmalade!

Marmalade Jars For January

You may think that wintertime is something of a quiet period when it comes to home preserves; however, nothing could be further from the truth. January is when Seville oranges are in season, which means just one thing – it is time to make marmalade!

 Choosing your marmalade jars

 Before you get the maslin pan on the hob, you need to think about the best jars for marmalade and work out how many you need. Whilst you can use any jar you like, of course, we tend to recommend slightly smaller jars for marmalade than for jam. The 300ml deluxe jam jar makes a good choice, as this heavyweight jar with its simple styling seems to work well with traditional marmalades.

 If you are planning to give your marmalade away as a gift, we also have a rather special printed jar featuring the word ‘marmalade’ across the front. This jar is 454ml in size and comes with a brushed steel twist-off lid. Using this jar will give your homemade marmalade a very professional finish and will look very smart indeed.

 If you run a B&B or regularly have house guests, you might also consider making a batch of marmalade to put in miniature jars. These one-portion jars are ideal for serving breakfast to guests, providing a no-mess solution for the breakfast table.

 Filling those marmalade jars

 Seville oranges are categorically the best oranges to use for marmalade. Their wrinkly, knobbly skin is deliberately left unwaxed, making them perfect for those beautiful orange shreds. As they are unwaxed, they don’t keep as long as other oranges; therefore, try to use them as soon after you buy them as possible and always give them a good checking over in the greengrocers or supermarket to make sure they are not already going over before you buy them.

 We have covered several marmalade recipes in the past, from the quintessential Seville orange marmalade to some more unusual types. You can make marmalade using lemons, limes or grapefruit, or even rhubarb if you fancy something a little different. You can also add a twist to standard marmalade by adding extra ingredients, such as ginger, chilli, cinnamon or cardamom – although not all at the same time!

 Why not experiment with a few jars to see whether you can come up with your own unique marmalade flavour? We would love to hear from you if you create your own marmalade recipe – just get in touch via Twitter or Facebook, or send us an email.


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Jam Jars in Bulk

Jars of pickled vegetables and fruits in the garden. Marinated food.

Buy jam jars in bulk

Jam jars in bulk

 “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cook in possession of a good maslin pan must be in want of some more jam jars.” Jane Austen did not actually say this, of course, but we rather wish she had. It is very much the truth – once you have been bitten by the home preserves bug, you will be astonished at just how many jars you need. This is why buying jam jars in bulk is such a smart idea.

 Jam jars for the home preserves enthusiast

 From marmalade in January to rhubarb jam in spring and strawberry jam in summer, there is a home preserving project for all seasons – and this is before you have even considered chutneys, pickles, relishes, curds and jellies. Whether you like to make just a few jars of each preserve or create a huge annual batch of your family favourites, it is surprising just how many jars you need. If you have ever had to abandon a preserving project because you had no jars left, you will know first-hand just how frustrating this can be. With our bargain jam jar packs, buying jam jars in bulk is simple, straightforward, and offers huge savings. Take our 370ml jars as an example – a bulk pack of 192 of these jars, with your choice of coloured lids, is on offer on our website at the lowest price across the UK. This fantastic price works out at less than 33p per jar!

 If you are a keen amateur but 192 still seems like a few too many jars for you, why not club together with a friend or relative and split an order? In this way, you both get to take advantage of the great bulk prices without having to handle quite so many jars.

 Jam jars for artisan producers

 It is not just home preserves enthusiasts who can take advantage of our bargain packs. Buying jars in bulk offers such good savings that many artisan producers source their jars from us. From those selling at farmers’ markets and independent food stores to homemade hamper producers, small business owners need to control costs tightly at every stage of production. Our bargain packs, available in a wide range of sizes, give producers the opportunity to concentrate on their preserves without having to worry about jar costs, quality or delivery issues.

 We offer quite a range of bargain packs in addition to the bestseller 370ml jam jar pack. These include miniature jars, chutney jars, Bonne Maman-style jars, and many more. Check out the range today and start planning your preserving adventures!


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Milk Bottle Surprises

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

Milk bottles containing various flavoured milks.

Milk bottle surprises

 The days of the friendly milkman delivering fresh milk to the door in glass bottles each day are sadly long gone; however, if the thought of the old-fashioned glass milk bottle makes you feel nostalgic, you are in for a treat. Traditional milk bottles are still available to use at home for everything from homemade drinks to craft projects and here we look at some inspiring milk bottle ideas.

 Milk bottles in a range of sizes

 Back in the days of the electric milk float, bottles typically came in two sizes – the smaller size that schoolchildren were given each day and the standard pint bottle. Nowadays, whilst your daily pint typically comes in a plastic carton from the supermarket, it is still possible to source bottles for home projects and these come in a wider range of sizes. The smallest bottle is a dinky 60ml bottle, then come bottles in 250ml and 330ml sizes. Next up is the 500ml size and finally the one-litre bottle. With so many sizes available, there really is a bottle to suit whatever creative idea you come up with.

 Getting creative with milk bottles

 If you have fallen in love with the idea of using a glass milk bottle or two for your projects, here are some fun ideas to spark your imagination. The mini bottles, at 60ml, are perfect for serving individual shots of homemade drinks, such as coffee or chocolate liqueurs. Topped off with a pretty tag, these could work well as stylish wedding favours.

 The 250ml and 330ml sizes are perfect for craft projects. Try painting a set of three bottles with some of the pretty chalk paints that are so fashionable these days to create a unique set of small vases. Place a single bright flower, such as a gerbera, in each bottle for a pretty display that really delivers in the style stakes, or perhaps a sprig of foliage.

 Another cool idea is to get hold of some ‘sea glass’ paint from a craft store. This clever spray-on paint gives the effect of glass that has been weathered to a semi-translucent finish by the sea. In no time at all, you can create bottles that genuinely look like they have been washed ashore. Bottles given this treatment would be perfect for a romantic ‘message in a bottle’ craft project and could even make a truly unique Valentine’s Day gift!

 Of course, a milk bottle is also perfect for serving milk-based drinks. Why not make your own fabulous milkshakes for party treats or just for a fun project with the children?


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Using Plastic Jars

plastic jar yellow top Using Plastic Jars

When it comes to storage jars, most people would agree that glass jars add a certain charm to the kitchen or pantry, especially if they are traditional Kilner or Mason jars or vintage-inspired decorative jars. Sometimes, however, a plastic jar is simply more practical for a particular application. In today’s post, we look through our range of plastic storage jars and discuss the various uses these jars are suitable for.

Plastic jars for safety

 One big advantage of plastic storage jars is that they are much safer to handle than glass jars. With little ones running around the kitchen, using one of these jars as a cookie jar is a great idea, as children can safely reach up and get a cookie or biscuit without the risk of tipping over a heavy glass jar and breaking it. The 1,823ml size would be a good option for use as a cookie jar, while the slightly smaller 1,000ml jar could perhaps serve a similar purpose and hold wafers or sweet treats.

 If you are a dog owner and you like to keep dog treats available, one of the smaller jars would again be suitable. The screw top lid means that Fido will not be able to help himself to treats, while the clear plastic means you can see how many treats you have left.

 Plastic jars for storage

 When it comes to storing liquids, plastic jars can really come into their own. If you make a large batch of homemade soup, for example, a large plastic jar is perfect to store it in the fridge. Juices and smoothies can also be made up in bulk and then stored in a large plastic jar to have at hand throughout the day. Plastic storage jars can also safely go in the freezer; therefore, if your homemade liquid creations can be frozen, plastic is the right choice for you.

 If your pantry cupboards look permanently untidy, with split bags of pasta and spilt rice everywhere, some plastic storage jars could sort everything out in double-quick time. Pouring pasta, rice and flour into their own airtight storage jars will keep them fresh and tidy. Herbs and spices can also be stored in this way – traditional spice jars can often be too small, especially if you buy your spices from an ethnic supermarket where pack sizes tend to be much larger.

 Plastic storage jars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and you can find exactly the right jars for everything you need to store.


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Preserving Jars – preserving made easy

Jars of home canned food on a picnic table in autumn

Preserving and canning jars in a wide choice of styles and sizes

Preserving Jars – Preserving made easy

 When growing your own fruit and vegetables or shopping seasonally, it is so easy to find yourself with something of a glut. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to preserve them so that nothing goes to waste. In this article, we walk through the four principal ways to preserve fruit and vegetables to whet your appetite.

 Canning Jars to the rescue

 One of the simplest ways to preserve fruits and vegetable is by canning them. Using glass canning jars, you can safely preserve all manner of fruits and vegetables, from peaches to chilli peppers. Ideally, vegetables need to be pressure canned to guarantee that all bacteria have been eliminated and a proper seal has formed with the screw-on lid. Foods that are more acidic, such as jam, marmalade, fruit butter and jellies, can all safely be canned using the hot water bath method instead.

 Preserving jars for dehydrated foods

 Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is another easy and effective method of preserving food. Many of us are familiar with the concept of dried herbs; however, don’t venture further to dehydrate fruits or vegetables, despite this being one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The simplest method of dehydrating food is using a commercially-purchased dehydrator, in which you can dry several trays of chopped food at a time. Once dehydrated and stored properly, dehydrated food can last from four months to a year.

 Freezing food

 Freezing, of course, is one of the most common ways to preserve food and works brilliantly for fruits you intend to use in smoothies or puddings, such as bananas, strawberries and cherries. If you have a glut of carrots, peas or beans, these also freeze very well. Some foods tend to go mushy when frozen, however, and it is worth experimenting, to see which items freeze best.

 Pickling in jars

 Pickling is perhaps one of the oldest methods of preserving food and uses salt or vinegar, or both, to preserve the food. We are all familiar with pickled onions, gherkins and savoury pickles such as sauerkraut, but some fruits also make good candidates for pickling.

 Whatever method of preserving food you choose, it is essential to ensure that all your canning jars are sterilised thoroughly before use and that the lids on your jars make a complete seal. These two issues account for the bulk of all ‘failed’ preserves, but they are so simple to get right with a little care and attention.

 There are plenty of ways to preserve all sorts of food, meaning that home-grown gluts or grocery ‘bargains’ should never again be a problem.


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Swing top bottles have been around for generations and often bring back fond memories of homemade lemonade and ginger beer, drunk on summer days in the garden or on family picnics at the beach or in the countryside. These swing top glass bottles are still going strong, with Kilner offering an extensive range of swing top bottles to suit all sorts of drinks and other tasty treats.

 Kilner bottles in all shapes and sizes

 In addition to clip top jars, Kilner produces a good range of swing top bottles in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. From the tiny 70ml bottle suitable for small gifts or wedding favours to the giant one-litre bottles that could hold a fizzy wine or carbonated drink, such as elderflower champagne, there really is a bottle to suit every application.

 Kilner has also introduced a range of coloured swing top glass bottles. In addition to clear glass, certain sizes of these Kilner bottles are available in pastel blue, pink or green. These vintage colours are available in the 250ml bottles and the one-litre bottles.

 Drinks ideas for Kilner bottles

 There are all sorts of homemade drinks that would work well in a swing top bottle. Elderflower cordial and elderflower champagne are obvious choices, but you could also try making your own ginger beer, dandelion and burdock, or cream soda. Don’t forget everyone’s favourite – homemade lemonade.   We always recommend our deluxe range of swing top bottles as being suitable for carbonated drinks.   They are made from heavyweight glass and have a stronger mechanism.

 In addition to making drinks to go in these lovely bottles, there are all sorts of delicious vinegars and infused oils that would also work brilliantly. Homemade raspberry vinegar is a delight drizzled over salad leaves and is also sublime used as a dressing for desserts; for example, try pouring it over creamy vanilla ice cream or even on a sweet suet pudding.

 Whilst raspberry vinegar is perhaps the most famous fruit vinegar, you can make vinegars using other fruits. Blackberries work well, as do blackcurrants and redcurrants. Try blackberry vinegar drizzled over melted goat’s cheese on toast for a simple supper to really tickles those taste buds. Just as with vinegars, infused oils work well in swing top bottles and look very sophisticated on the dining table. Try chilli-infused oil or rosemary oil for something quite unique and flavoursome.

 Whether you fancy a go at homemade carbonated drinks or something a little more unusual, such as a fruit vinegar, Kilner’s swing top bottles are the perfect storage solution and will make your homemade creations look highly professional.


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Modern baking tools

Modern baking tools

Woman preparing dough from recipe on her tablet

Unless you have been living in Australia for the past few years, you can’t fail to have watched at least some episodes of The Great British Bake Off. This has done more than any other TV show to get the British public interested in baking. With the popularity of baking at an all-time high, we thought we would look at a few of our best modern baking tools to inspire you to get into the kitchen and start baking.

Basic baking tools

No self-respecting cook should be without a solid and reliable mixing bowl. Whilst the traditional stone-coloured bowls from Mason Cash are as popular as ever, the company has moved with the times and introduced some very stylish new colours. Available in pink, red, yellow, green and cream, these gorgeous bowls bring the mixing bowl right back up to date.

Another trend that is impossible not to have noticed is cupcakes. What used to be the simple fairy cake has been reborn as the indulgent and oh-so-delicious cupcake, and we all want to have a go at making our own unique cupcake creations. No cupcake is complete without flamboyant decoration and there are all sorts of gadgets and accessories to help you become a cupcake superstar. From simple cupcake and cookie decorating kits to clever fondant stamp sets for creating decorative motifs to adorn your creations, baking equipment has never been so much fun!

Clever baking tools

In addition to smart and contemporary versions of traditional baking equipment, there are plenty of modern gadgets available to help you in your baking endeavours. If you think that kitchen scales could not be improved upon, think again! The smart ‘add and weigh’ kitchen scales have a special feature that allows you to zero the weight after each ingredient is added to the weighing bowl, meaning that you can add all the ingredients at once. Another nifty gadget for home bakers is the cake tester. If you can never find a skewer and usually end up poking a knife into your cakes to see whether they are cooked, this is the gadget for you. It is a long, thin skewer with a large, round plastic disc at one end; simply push the pointed end into the cake to find out whether it is ready. The disc at the other end, labelled ‘cake tester’, means it is always easy to find in the utensils drawer.

With so many people now keen on home baking, it is clear to see that the kitchenwares market is not standing still. From icing tools to pastry cutters, there is always something new to discover.

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Wooden kitchen accessories

Chef with a spoon shows a chef holding an over-sized wooden spoon that is taller than he is. This is part of a series of chefs with over-sized utensils or equipment. The chef is wearing the official chef hat and uniform. The wallpaper behind the chef is covered with large vegetables, such as carrots, squash, eggplant, and pumpkin.

Shop for your wooden kitchen accessories at Wares of Knutsford.

Wooden kitchen accessories

 For lots of keen cooks and foodie enthusiasts, browsing the kitchenwares department of an online store or bricks-and-mortar shop is as enjoyable as it is for a child to explore a toy shop or gaze in awe at the enticing rows of jars in a sweet shop; in fact, kitchenwares can be the ultimate pocket-money treat for adults. The vintage look has been on trend for quite a time now and shows no sign of lessening in popularity. It is easy to indulge your passion for kitchenwares whilst working that vintage look, as there are so many traditional kitchenwares available. In today’s post, we take a nostalgic look back at a few wooden kitchen accessories.

 Traditional wooden kitchen accessories

 For the ultimate vintage look, wooden accessories are hard to beat. Back in the days before plastics entered our daily lives, wooden utensils were simply what everyone used, from the humblest farmhouse to the grandest country house kitchen. There is something timelessly stylish about wooden utensils such as meat tenderisers, honey dipping sticks and everyone’s favourite – the classic wooden spoon. We suspect there is hardly a child in the country who has not at some stage in their lives enjoyed ‘licking the wooden spoon’ whilst their mother was baking!

 Some of the other traditional kitchenwares that seem to work best in wood include bread bins and cutlery trays. Today’s plastic cutlery trays always seem just a little too small to fit everything in, whereas a good old-fashioned wooden cutlery tray has plenty of room to store a full set of knives, forks and spoons in all sizes. A wooden bread bin also looks the part in a traditional kitchen, especially one with a roll-up lid. Just like the wooden spoon, this kind of bread bin makes us all nostalgic for the kitchens of our mothers and grandmothers.

 Contemporary wooden kitchen accessories

 If the traditional look is not really your style and you prefer a more contemporary look, wood still has plenty to offer in the kitchen. Wooden knife blocks in exotic woods such as acacia look so stylish placed on a glamorous granite counter top. Chopping boards are also often available in these more unusual woods and can be stylishly shaped to reinvent a humble kitchen accessory into something bang up to date. Add a splash of chic Italian styling and even the traditional rolling pin can be made over into a fashion statement! No matter what kitchen item you need, it is almost guaranteed that there is a contemporary version that will sit perfectly in the modern kitchen.


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Reusing Cosmetic Jars

fresh as spring flowers

Lovely cosmetic jars

Reusing your cosmetic jars

 We recently wrote about making homemade face creams and showcased our gorgeous range of cosmetics jars to use for this type of project. Making your own cosmetics is a great way to do something positive for the environment and you can even take things one step further by reusing your cosmetics jars once you have finished with them. You might want to make another batch of homemade face cream, of course, but here are some alternative uses.

 Creative ways to reuse your cosmetic jars

 The first thing to remember with used cosmetics jars is that they are containers! Think of the clutter in your house and you will soon find a use for that small glass cosmetic jar you have just emptied. Spray paint the outside and then use the jar to store earrings, hairgrips or even false nails! Alternatively, glue a small magnet to the lid and fix it to the fridge – hey presto, you have a tiny screw-on container. If you decorate the jar with a photo in the base, you will have a totally unique fridge magnet.

 One of our favourite craft ideas for these jars is to create a miniature sewing kit. How many times have you been caught out by a button coming off your coat or the hem on your skirt coming undone? With a handy little sewing kit in your bag, you could fix the problem no matter where you are! We promise – once you have tried this idea, you will never be without a little sewing kit for emergencies!

 If your desk looks a complete mess, why not reuse some of these jars to get yourself organised? Store paper clips, drawing pins and loose change in separate jars and add a 1lb jam jar as a pencil pot. Leave them plain for a vintage thrift look or decorate with pictures cut from magazines and glued onto the sides.


One final idea is to use these jars as tealight holders. Again, you can leave them plain or spray paint them in different colours for a rainbow effect.

 Cosmetic jars in all shapes and sizes

 Our cosmetic jar range includes jars in a variety of sizes and colours. From a simple clear glass cosmetic jar to a traditional smoked glass ointment jar, there is a jar to suit all requirements. Why not browse the range today to see whether you are tempted into the world of homemade cosmetics? Once you have used your jars, you might also be tempted to reuse them creatively with one or more of the ideas we have suggested.


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The History of Mason Jars

Homemade sliced pickles in mason jars on a kitchen counter

Homemade sliced pickles in a mason jar

The history of Mason jars

We often take our kitchenwares and appliances for granted, using them every day without stopping to think about them in any detail. Whilst it is perhaps hard to get excited about the history of a pastry brush, some kitchen items do have a story to tell and the humble Mason jar is one of these. In today’s post, we take a look at the history of the Mason jar and examine how more recent trends have brought about new product innovations for the company behind the iconic product.

Some facts about Mason jars

The Mason jar was invented way back in 1858 by an American called John Landis Mason. The key to his invention was the screw band that fixes the circular lid in place to form a tight seal. Combined with the rubber ring on the inside, the lid forms a hermetic seal, ensuring that the jar’s contents are perfectly preserved.

Prior to the invention of the Mason jar, jars were often sealed using liquid wax, which fixed a tin lid in place. This was a messy process that was difficult to get right, often resulting in spoiled preserves. When John Landis Mason filed US Patent No 22,186, things changed dramatically in the home preserves world and his jars became incredibly popular. Whilst John Landis Mason was evidently a clever inventor, he was not quite so astute when it came to protecting his patent, which was allowed to lapse. Many other firms were therefore able to produce ‘copycat’ designs and ultimately it was ruled that Mason had forfeited his patent by not actively pursuing those who were producing their own similar designs.

New styles of Mason jars

As time passed, many new styles and sizes of Mason jar were created to cater to the growing trend for home canning. Today, jars are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from small 250ml jars to one-litre whoppers.

One interesting development in recent times is the Mason drinking jar. A few years ago, hipster bars in London’s trendy Hoxton area started serving drinks in Mason jars. As the trend caught on, some companies decided to tap into the craze and Mason drinking jars were designed.

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Miniature whisky bottles – making infused whisky

Minibar bottles with ice cubes, close-up

Mini whisky bottles ideal for favours and small gifts.

Miniature whisky bottles – making infused whisky

 The trend for infused spirits has gone from strength to strength recently. Just a few short years ago, the only infusion that most people attempted was sloe gin; today, the boutique gin industry is booming. In addition, amateur enthusiasts are no longer sticking to gin; instead, they are creating inventive and delicious infusions using every sort of spirit imaginable. In today’s post, we look at making infused whisky, which is perfect for giving as a gift or using as a unique wedding favour idea.

 Mini whisky bottles as gifts

 If you plan to give your whisky infusions as gifts to friends and family, it would work out very expensive if you used full-sized bottles. Our mini whisky bottles solve the problem perfectly – simply make your infusion in a full-sized bottle and decant it into these mini whisky bottles when it is ready. You can even experiment with a few different whisky infusions to make a gift of three or four miniature bottles filled with different flavours.

 For a festive-inspired whisky treat, choose orange and vanilla to infuse your whisky. Peel two oranges, making sure to remove the white pith. Thinly slice the peel and add it to the whisky along with two vanilla pods, sliced lengthways. Leave the bottle for at least two weeks for the infusion to work its magic, then decant into mini whisky bottles and decorate with a label and ribbon.

 If you love nuts, try pecan-infused whisky. Add about 200g pecan nuts to 500ml whisky and leave for at least a week. Strain the whisky into new bottles once it has had time to infuse.

 Coffee-infused whisky is another great idea that is really simple to make. Choose top-quality coffee beans and smash them up slightly before adding to the whisky and pop a vanilla pod in to enhance the flavour. After two to three weeks, try the infusion to see whether it has reached a taste level that you are happy with. If it has, strain it into new bottles and impress your friends and family with this luxurious and professional-tasting treat.

 Wedding favours in miniature whisky bottles

 Infused whisky is also hugely popular as a sophisticated and grown-up wedding favour idea. If the wedding is a summer one, using cherries or peaches to infuse the whisky is a great idea. A miniature bottle at every place setting at the wedding reception will impress guests and show off your creativity. With wedding favours such as these, your guests will be delighted to toast the happy couple!


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cake tins at the ready for Christmas

Traditional christmas cake and slice with holly, snow covered winter greenery, egg nog, gold bauble decorations and foil wrapped chocolate balls over oak background.

Nothing like a good slice of Christmas Cake – try it with cheese!!


 Once upon a time, it was unthinkable not to have a traditional cake at Christmas. The enormous slab cake, packed with cherries, almonds and all manner of dried fruit, would be doused in brandy, smothered in apricot jam and coated in marzipan before the final layer of white icing was applied. The whole cake took hours to prepare and, if truth be told, it was hardly the most appealing cake in the world. As tastes have changed over the years, the traditional Christmas cake has become less of a festive feature and has been replaced in many households by tastier, more unusual Christmas cakes. In today’s post, we have rounded up a few of the more creative Christmas cake ideas we could find to tempt you into the kitchen this Christmas.

 Get those baking tins ready!

 Before we delve into the world of unique and inspirational Christmas cakes, we need to say a word or two about baking pans. Your kitchen creations will only ever be as good as the tools you use to make them, so make sure you have baking pans in the right size and shape for the cake you intend to make. We stock deep cake pans, loose bottom pans, sandwich pans, mini cake pans and even specially shaped pans.

 One contemporary alternative to traditional Christmas cake is a light sponge cake containing orange and cranberries and topped with white chocolate icing. This still has a festive feel, but without the heaviness of the standard Christmas cake. A homemade panettone is another possibility – if you make it yourself, it is certain to taste nicer than the panettone cakes available in the supermarket. A chocolate cake is guaranteed to go down well with everyone, especially if it is styled into a snowy log and covered with sumptuous chocolate icing. If you have children to entertain in the run-up to Christmas Day, why not get them into the kitchen to help you make a gingerbread house cake?

 Baking tins of all sizes

 If you are not planning a big Christmas get-together but still want to make a special cake for Christmas, why not use one of our mini tins or shaped tins? Our smallest loose bottom pan is just 10cm in diameter and we have plenty of choice if you want to make individual cakes instead of one large cake. We even have heart-shaped pans if you fancy making a romantic Christmas cake!

 Whilst traditional Christmas cake is too much for many, mini Christmas cakes, without the marzipan, could be fun, especially if drizzled with icing and topped with a cherry!


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