Jazzing up your jam jars

Favour 3Jazzing up your jam jars

It is a fact that many people love receiving homemade gifts, such as jam and preserves. In an ever-more commercial world, a thoughtful homemade gift can make a refreshing change and is usually much appreciated; however, jam makers can be shy about giving their homemade produce as gifts, thinking that a simple jar or two of jam does not look special enough. If this applies to you, our range of jam jar packaging might just be the answer, enabling you to present your jams and preserves in a smart and stylish way.

Jam jar packaging – boxes

We have a wide selection of packaging for jam jars available in both cardboard and jute. The cardboard gift boxes come in several sizes and can hold two or three jars, depending on the style of box you choose. These simple cardboard boxes offer an eco-friendly choice and set your jams off to their very best advantage. The plain boxes can be decorated with a sticker to say where they came from. The jute bags offer the same kind of carrying capacities, with padded cotton handles and clear plastic display windows to show off your jam jar labels.

If you are buying jam jars to use as wedding favours, we also offer several styles of mini boxes that fit our smallest jars perfectly.

At Christmas, many people like to give mini hampers as gifts. Department stores and supermarkets are usually filled with these, mostly at rather inflated prices. With our range of card trays, it is easy to create your own hampers filled with a variety of homemade items. Take the large fluted card tray, for example, and fill it with a mix of your own jam, marmalade, chutney, infused vinegar and perhaps a bottle of elderflower cordial or plum wine. With pretty jam jar labels and a presentation box, the gift is sure to look every bit as professional as a shop-bought hamper.

Jam jar packaging – accessories

In addition to a full range of presentation boxes and bags, we stock lots of packaging accessories to perfectly finish off the gift. Pack your jars safely and stylishly using fine cut shred material as a base and perhaps set the whole thing off by trimming it with a band of jute ribbon, which is available in green or natural.

Whether you simply want to present your produce prettily, to give as gifts or are looking to sell at farmers’ markets and other outlets, our range of packaging for jam jars will really help to create a professional look.

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Wares of Knutsford – jam jar suppliers to the stars

DSC_3328Wares of Knutsford – jam jar suppliers to the stars

We admit that we may not supply jam jars to the stars of stage and screen, but we are very much the jam jar suppliers of choice for a huge number of jam-making and preserving ‘stars’, from prolific home cooks to those running their own jams and preserves businesses. As experts in the field of jam jars and jam making equipment, we are often the first port of call for small-scale jam producers.

Jam jar suppliers to small-scale producers

For anyone running a business producing homemade jams or preserves, sourcing the right jam jars and lids, at the right prices, is absolutely crucial. Late deliveries, inflated prices and damaged goods could all have a significant impact on a jam producer’s business, as a whole production batch could be compromised without the right number of jars and lids. If a producer does not make enough fresh stock, they do not have enough to sell at the farmers’ market or to supply their trade customers and things start to go wrong very quickly indeed. This is why our jam producer customers rate us as one of the top glass jar suppliers in the UK – they know they can rely on our jam jars and on the service and delivery we offer.

Bulk jam jar suppliers

We have put a lot of effort into analysing our customers’ buying patterns to work out which of our jam jar range to offer in bulk packs. From traditional, smooth-sided 1lb jars to fancier hexagonal jars perhaps more suited to honey, we have a bulk pack to suit all requirements. By offering many of our jars in 192-jar packs, we are able to pass on significant cost savings to our customers and ensure that the jars reach our customers in one piece, as these quantities mean minimal handling in our warehouse.

Bulk packs of jars can also be a good idea for anyone looking for wedding favour jars. Weddings are an expensive business and anything that helps to cut costs has to be good. Our smaller jars, such as the 45ml hexagonal jars, are a popular choice for brides.

If our bargain packs are not big enough to meet your needs, we can also supply pallet-sized quantities of jars at wholesale prices. Contact us for more details on wholesale ordering.

We have been glass jar suppliers for some years and have perfected the art of delivering jam jars to you on time and in perfect condition. Whether you need one jam jar or several hundred, you are in safe hands with Wares of Knutsford.

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1lb jam jars for sale

1lb jam jars for sale

Jam-making is a time-honoured tradition for many, with recipes often handed down from grandma to mother to daughter. Everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to making jam, from what flavours and recipes to use to which method to adopt to test the setting point. When it comes to jam jars, however, there is always a clear favourite – 1lb jars.

1lb jam jars

1lb jars probably became popular for two reasons. Firstly, in the days before metric measurements, using a 1lb jar meant it was easy to work out from the recipe exactly how many jars you would need for the batch of jam you were making. Secondly, a 1lb jar stacks neatly on a larder shelf and is a good size for a family to have on the breakfast table. Smaller jars would get used up too quickly, while larger jars would end up taking too long to consume. 1lb jam jars are the perfect middle ground.

If you are thinking of entering your jams in any local competitions, such as at the village fete or local country show, the 1lb jar is the standard ‘regulation’ jar. If you have slaved over a tempting recipe and produced some amazing jam, it would be a terrible shame to find your jam did not win a prize simply because it was in the wrong size of jar.

Buying 1lb jam jars in bulk

Once you get the jam-making bug, you can easily find yourself running out of suitable jars. Whilst many people reuse jam jars, this option is not always practical. The lids can often be tainted by previous contents, especially if a vinegar-based preserve such as chutney has been in the jar previously. The WI recommends using new lids at least, if this is at all possible. We offer a range of bulk buy options on our 1lb jars, with pack sizes ranging from 12 right up to a whopping 192 – enough for even the most prolific jam-making enthusiast! These jars also come with vinegar-proof lids in a range of colours, including black, white, gold, silver and green and either red or blue gingham checks.

With so many other jam jar styles available, it is easy to get tempted away from the traditional 1lb jars; however, these jars still have plenty of potential for jazzing up. Our enormous range of decorative jam jar labels and our patterned fabric lid covers can turn a standard jar of jam into a small work of art.

If you are serious about preserves, this is very definitely the jar to start with!

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Introducing our jam making kits

22Introducing our jam making kits

If you are already a jam-making convert, no doubt people have praised your preserving skills and the quality of the tasty jams you produce. Some have probably also said that they wished that they too could make such delicious homemade treats but would not know where to start. Whether you are the accomplished jam-maker or the absolute beginner who would not know where to start, kits for making jam can be a great idea. If you already know what you are doing with a maslin pan, why not encourage others to take up home preserving with the gift of a kit? If you are a jam-making newbie, consider treating yourself to a kit to get started on your own jam-making journey.

Jam making kits for beginners

For a total novice, the beauty of jam making kits is that they contain absolutely everything you need to get started. There is no possibility of getting started on your first batch of jam and then finding that you forgot to buy a crucial bit of equipment, such as a thermometer. Our kits contain all the bits and pieces you need, including the all-important maslin pan, a funnel, thermometer, jam spoon, jars, lids and wax discs. Both the standard and the deluxe kits also contain a book of recipes to get you started. The book in the deluxe kit is the gorgeous Preserves from the River Cottage series of books.

Jam Making kits as gifts

For anyone who is keen on cooking, or on homemade crafts, these kits for jam making are the perfect gift. Not only do they get someone up and running with home preserves but also they serve as a long-lasting reminder of your generous gift. Each time the recipient makes another batch of jam, they will be reminded of you and the thoughtful and inspired gift you gave them. With a little luck, they may even return your kindness with a little gift of jam that they made with their kit!

In addition to our tailor-made kits for jam making, we stock a range of tempting recipe books to help kick-start your home preserves. We have already mentioned the Preserves edition from the super River Cottage series of handbooks and we also have quite a few other books packed full of tempting recipes and ideas. Notes from the Jam Cupboard is an interesting take on the traditional recipe book, containing plenty of jam facts, history, literary quotations and jam-making information, whilst The Jammy Bodger offers a contemporary approach to seasonal jam making and is filled with deliciously tempting recipes.

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Miniature sample jam jars

Miniature sample jam jars

Jam jars come in more sizes and styles than you could possibly imagine, from veritable whoppers down to the smallest of jars. Every jar size has a particular use and here we take a look at miniature or sample jam jars.

Miniature jam jars for wedding favours

One of the most popular uses for our smallest jam jars is for wedding favours. The small size of these jars makes them ideal for holding sweets and they look charming placed on the wedding tables; in addition, they don’t take up too much room. We have helped many brides to find the perfect jar for their wedding theme and we have come across many beautiful and charming ideas for wedding favours using our jars.

Many couples fill the tiny jam jars with sweets, such as traditional sugared almonds; however, today’s brides often get much more creative with their wedding favour choices. Homemade miniature biscuits are a cute idea, while delicious fudge is also a popular choice. Good old-fashioned pick ‘n’ mix sweets are a perennial favourite, whilst some adventurous brides are choosing to make homemade infused oils to present in our dinky jars.

Many brides who source their jars from us opt for more unusually-shaped jars, such as the hexagonal or globe-shaped jars. These pretty jars look gorgeous on the wedding table and are also a nice memento to keep after the wedding.

Other uses for miniature jam jars

It is not just brides-to-be who love our miniature jam jars, with these jars having a far wider fan base. For those looking to create some inspired homemade gifts, using these smaller sample jam jars is a great idea and enables you to put together a group of three or five different jams or chutneys. If you are giving jam as a gift to an older person, or someone who lives alone, a set of smaller jars could be a far better idea than presenting a whopping 1lb jar!

If you often have guests staying with you, or even if you run a B&B or guesthouse, smaller jam jars can be a hygienic and cost-effective solution to presenting your jam on the kitchen table. No more jars of jam that look like they have seen better days after too many different knives have been in the jar!

As you can see, there are quite a few different uses for these miniature jars, which is why we stock such a wide variety. Check out our range and see what creative ideas you can come up with.

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Add The Perfect Finishing Touch With Patterned Jam Jar Covers

Image 1Add The Perfect Finishing Touch With Patterned Jam Jar Covers

When it comes to making jams and preserves, it’s all too easy to concentrate totally on what flavour of jam to make and which recipe to follow. And that’s hardly surprising, since the jam will be the star of the show. Paying attention to the finishing touches, however, can make a world of difference to how your preserves look when they’re finished. It can turn a fairly ordinary jar of jam into something really special. If you’re planning to give your jams as gifts to friends and family, choosing a nice-shaped jar, and topping the jar off with a pretty cover will make all the difference.

Our Range of Patterned Jam Jar Covers

We stock an extensive range of pretty covers in our online store. We offer both fabric and paper covers, and some of our packs come with fastening bands and matching ribbons, to make your jam jars look very special indeed.

Florals are very popular and we have several different packs of fabric covers featuring lovely floral patterns. These are the perfect way to finish off a batch of jam, and when the time comes to eat the contents, they offer a charming reminder of summer days long past, when you were making the jam.

As well as floral designs for our fabric covers, we also have covers in fruity designs, gingham checks, and colourful spotty dots. There’s also a bright and fun ‘Jazzy’ pack, featuring four different bold and beautiful designs, again with fastening bands and coordinating ribbons.

Bumper Packs of Patterned Jam Jar Covers

One of our personal favourite packs of covers is the Preserving Accessories Pack, which contains all you need for 24 jars of jam, including gorgeous patterned jam jar covers, matching labels, waxed discs, plastic circles and rubber fastening bands. Everything you need, in fact, all in one bumper pack. The contemporary fruit and veg designs pack is our favourite, but there is another pack with more of a ‘country cottage’ design, and this has all the same contents.

If you’re feeling really creative, why not have a go at making your own fabric or paper jar covers? We stock both the transparent plastic covers and the waxed discs you’ll need, so you just need to add paper or fabric and some creative inspiration!

So next time you’re thinking of making some jam, do think about adding a splash of prettiness on top of the jar, in the form of a lovely jam jar cover. We’re sure you’ll receive positive feedback about the covers, as well as about your jam!

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Summer Jam Jar Labels

Label Jar Bottle ROSEMARY'S GARDEN-05Summer Jam Jar Labels

The summer and autumn months are perhaps the busiest time of the year for jam makers, with so many ripe fruits available. For keen cooks, the maslin pan barely has time to cool down and get washed up before it’s back on the hob, boiling up another batch of sweet and lovely jam. With multiple jars of jam, and numerous different flavours and varieties on the go, it’s important to get organised and ensure your jam jars are all labelled clearly and correctly.

Jam Jar Labels by Words of Art

Many of our labels are by Words of Art, and feature original watercolour designs by mother and daughter team, Rosemary and Caroline Wagstaff. Many labels from this range feature colourful fruit designs around the central blank panel, so you can match the label to the jam you’ve made. There are labels for plums, apple and blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and more. There are lots of other designs in the Words of Art range, including vegetables which would make the perfect labels for chutneys.

If the fruit and vegetables theme isn’t what you’re looking for, the Words of Art range also contains some other striking designs, including polka dots, and a Union Jack label, which is a particular favourite.

Novel Jam Jar Labels

As well as our more traditional labels for jam jars, we also stock a wide range of more unusual labels. Our Chalkboard Labels come in a pack of 12 assorted labels in a variety of decorative shapes, along with two chalk pens to write on the labels. The label packs from Kitchen Craft are also lovely, and come in a pack of 30 labels, with three different designs per pack.

Jam Jar Gift Tags

In addition to labels for jam jars, we also have lots of different gift tags that are suitable for tying onto jam jars. These are perfect if you want to give your jams and preserves as gifts to friends and family, as you can add a personal note on the tag, leaving the label free to record the details of what’s in the jar and when it was made. We have gift tags featuring everything from pretty florals to Scotty dogs and Moroccan geometric patterns, so there really is something for everyone.

If you’re still undecided as to which labels to choose, perhaps our fun video can help you reach a decision. It has quite a catchy tune as background music, and our fabulous jam jars do actually seem to be dancing along to the music! Check it out at the bottom of our Labels and Tags page: https://www.waresofknutsford.co.uk/jar-and-bottle-labels.

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An Introduction To Jam Making Equipment

22An Introduction To Jam Making Equipment

High summer means that a wide range of fruit and vegetables are in season, making it the perfect time to start making jams and chutneys. Dare we mention too, that Christmas is very definitely on the horizon? So if you’re looking to try handmade gift-giving this year, cooking up some jam could be the ideal way to do just that.

If you’ve never made jam before, the array of equipment available can be a little bewildering, and it can be hard to know what is essential and what is a fancy add-on. In this post, we aim to guide you through some of our tools for making jam, so you can get cracking with your own jammy creations.

Jam Making Equipment For Beginners

If you are starting out making jam for the first time, you’ll need a few basic items. First of these is a jam pan, also known as a maslin pan. A full-size jam pan is 8 or 9 litres, but smaller pans of 4.5 litres are also available, if you want to make smaller batches of jam. The next piece of equipment you need is a jam thermometer, in order to test the temperature of your jam, to ensure your jams reach setting point.

If you don’t have one already, you’ll need a spoon to stir your jam whilst it’s cooking, and our silicone jam spoons are perfect for this. Whilst not strictly essential, a jam funnel makes life much easier when it comes to getting all that lovely jam from the maslin pan into the jars.

Those are really the essential tools for making jam, but, of course, you also need some jam jars to pour all those tempting jam creations into. Our jam jar range is extensive, and our website shows the capacity of all jars, so you can easily work out just how many jars you need. It pays to have a few extra jars, just in case you make slightly more than your recipe says you’ll make – after all, it would be a shame to waste any!

Finally, you need to label your jam, so you know what you’re eating at some future date. Our labels come in a huge variety of styles to suit all tastes.

Jam Making Equipment Kits

A Jam Making Kit is the perfect gift for someone keen on cooking. We have several kits available, which come with all the basic equipment you need to get started.

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Getting Creative With Shaped Jam Jars

IMG_8589_Edit__35140.1461079474.1280.1280Getting Creative With Shaped Jam Jars

If you’re a regular customer of Wares of Knutsford, it’s safe to assume you’re a fan of home preserving, canning and all things culinary. With summer in full swing, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables in season from now right through until Autumn, it’s a busy time for making jams, pickles and preserves. We all love exploring new recipes and flavours, and trying out a few unusual jam jars at the same time will add a new twist to your kitchen endeavours.

Which Shaped Jam Jars To Choose

We stock quite a collection of unusual jam jars, so it can be hard to decide which jar to use for each preserving project. Sometimes a certain type of jar lends itself to a specific jam or pickle.

Lemon curd looks delightful in our 212ml Limoncello Jars or in our 212ml Globe Jam Jars. The relatively small size of these jam jars particularly suits lemon curd, which can only be stored for 1 – 2 weeks after opening the jar.

Our Trittico Nesting Jars come in a set of three, which tuck up close together to display a group of jams or pickles. These make a perfect gift set, and we suggest filling them with a range of pickles and chutneys, perhaps a plum chutney, piccalilli and a red onion marmalade. Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive that as a gift?

If you’re looking to create an upmarket, design-led effect for your jams, then our Gourmet Jam Jars will really look the part. Shaped like a sumptuous Ali Baba basket, these jars come in a range of sizes, from 106ml up to 580ml. They’re available with plain or gingham-checked lids too.

Unusual Shaped Jam Jars

Our vintage style glass storage jars conjure up images of times gone by, when Grandma always had a cake in the oven, and some jam boiling on the stove. These jars comes in a range of shapes and sizes, and can be used for much more than jam. The large 2.2 litre jar would make a fancy biscuit jar, for example, whilst the small vintage jars with screw-on lids would look great storing sweets and treats.

One of our most unusual jam jars has to be the Teddy Bear Jar. As the name suggests, the jar is shaped like a teddy bear, and comes with a yellow plastic hat which sits on top of a standard twist-off lid. This jar is perfect for jam or honey, and makes a charming gift.

Hopefully, this round-up of shaped jam jars has provided some inspiration for jazzing up your jam!

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The best bottles for plum wine

BottlesThe best bottles for plum wine

It is August and that can only mean one thing – plums are now in season, and will remain in season until around October. If you are fortunate enough to have your own plum tree, or even several plum trees, then finding ways to use your delicious juicy plums can tax even the most enthusiastic of home preserving fans. One great idea that we have already looked at is making your own plum wine. Whether you plan on drinking it yourself or giving it away as a Christmas or birthday gift, plum wine can certainly help to use up some of those fabulous plums. Before you start the fermenting process, however, you need to consider the type of bottle you will use when the time comes to bottle your wine.

Choosing your plum wine bottles

We stock a range of wine bottles in pack sizes ranging from six to 36 in a standard 750ml size. We have both green and clear glass; however, as plum wine has a slightly pink colour to it, much like rosé wine, a clear glass bottle would probably suit it better. Our standard bottles do not come with corks, but we do supply these separately. If you prefer not to use corks, we also stock some green glass screw neck Bordeaux bottles, which are supplied with a plastic wine cap.

Alternative plum wine bottles

Standard wine bottles will probably suit if you are making wine to drink yourself; however, if you plan to give your wine as a gift, a fancier bottle may be in order. Plum wine suits being drunk when young, making a swing-top bottle perfect. Our 750ml faceted Costalata swing-top bottles would make a charming gift filled with your own homemade wine, as would our Kilner one-litre blue glass bottles with swing-top lids. For smaller gifts, the 335ml Capri swing-top bottle would offer just less than a standard half bottle of wine.

Once your plum wine has been racked and bottled, the perfect finishing touch is a nice label. Many of our labels are suitable to use as wine labels; therefore, if you are giving the wine as a gift, why not use a pretty decorative tag? Giving homemade items really shows that you have put some thought into a gift and the extra details, such as special bottles, pretty labels and tags, add up to create the overall effect. If you are not careful, your plum wine will look so delightful that you won’t want to give it away!

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The perfect jam jar

DSC_3328The perfect jam jar

When it comes to jam jars, it is easy for the uninitiated to think that one jar is pretty much the same as the next. Whilst we are happy to acknowledge that we may be slightly biased, we would still beg to differ. With hundreds of different jar styles, shapes and sizes in our range, it can be quite a challenge to highlight the best jam jars available.

The best jam jar for jams and preserves

It may be surprising to learn that not everyone uses our jars for jams or preserves. Many people buy our jars with absolutely no intention of ever using them for jam! From wedding favours to chic drinking jars, and many other creative uses, our jars get repurposed in all sorts of inspiring ways. We will look at the best jam jars for creative ideas later; for now, we will concentrate on the perfect jar for jam-making.

For many people, simplicity is best. The traditional clear glass jar, in either 8oz or 12oz size, is the perfect jar for making jam. Topped with a red or blue gingham checked lid, these jars give the quintessential jam jar look. For some reason, honey seems to be presented most often in hexagonal jars, whilst marmalade typically goes into globe jam jars. It is possible that the perfect jar cannot be defined, as it depends so much on what you want to do with it.

The best jam jar for creative uses

As we have mentioned before, jam jars are not simply for making jam, as demonstrated by our creative customers. Many use our jars to hold wedding favours. Filled with sweets or truffles, they make charming personalised favours, with a really handmade and thoughtful feel to them. Our mini jam jars and hexagonal jars are the most popular for use as wedding favours. Still on the wedding theme, some wedding couples keep the vintage theme going by using the larger Mason jars as vases for the flowers on their wedding tables.

For anyone thinking of making jam to give as a gift, our Bonne Maman-style jars and Luminarc faceted jars provide a charming French-inspired look and are perhaps the perfect jars for gift-giving. It is often the small details, such as the choice of jar and the colour of the lid, that make all the difference to the end result.

Have we identified the best jam jars? We have certainly done our best to highlight some of our favourites; however, with so many to choose from, it is a tough task! Why not browse our range to find your own perfect jar?

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How to make plum wine

How to make plum wine

With plums in season from August to October and a plum tree producing up to five pounds of fruit a day, you will no doubt be seeking culinary and preserving inspiration if you are lucky enough to have a plum tree. Fear not, as today we will explain how to make plum wine for a real winter warmer in the colder months to come.

Our plum wine recipe

Before you start making plum wine, there are a few items of equipment that you will need:

– Fermentation bucket.
– Demijohns.
– Airlocks.
– Siphon tube
– Wine bottles with corks, or swing top bottles,
– Sterilisation solution or Campden tablets.

We stock all the equipment listed, while Campden tablets can be obtained from your local home brewing store or online.

Ingredients

2kg plums
1.25kg sugar
3.75 litres water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 packet cider yeast

Method

1. Clean the plums thoroughly, then place them in the sterilised fermentation bucket and mash them with a potato masher. You can leave the stones in for this stage to add a nice nutty flavour to the wine.
2. Boil the water and pour over the plums. Place the lid on the bucket and leave for three to four days, stirring every day.
3. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir, then pour the yeast on top. Leave for a couple of hours, then stir thoroughly.
4. Put the lid back on the bucket and leave for four days, stirring the mixture twice a day.
5. Siphon the mixture into the demijohns, using a funnel with a sieve or muslin cloth to prevent sediment entering the demijohns. Once full, place an airlock on each demijohn.
6. After a couple of weeks, rack the wine into new, sterilised demijohns, taking care not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the original demijohns.
7. Over the next few weeks, taste the wine to see whether you feel it is ready for bottling. You can bottle some of it and leave the rest to age a little longer.

This is a wine to be enjoyed young, so it will definitely be ready for Christmas.

A more sophisticated plum wine recipe

If you are feeling very adventurous, why not try umeshu, a Japanese plum wine? Whilst it is known as plum wine, it is technically more of a cordial; nonetheless, it is delicious. If home brewing is not your thing, try cheat’s plum wine by adding plums and sugar to vodka or the spirit of your choice. Leave for three to four months and enjoy!

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Introducing the perfect plum jam recipe

plums in the basketIntroducing the perfect plum jam recipe

From the local greengrocers to pick-your-own fruit farms and farmers’ markets, plums are everywhere right now. If you have plum trees in your own garden, you are probably experiencing something of a glut of plums at the moment. Whilst they are delicious to eat fresh with Greek yogurt, crème fraiche or cream, there are so many other things to do with plums. The simplest place to start is with a good plum jam recipe.

Quick and easy plum jam recipe

Learning how to make plum jam is simplicity itself. Here is our favourite recipe, which makes around 10-12 228ml jars of jam.

Ingredients

1.5kg plums, chunkily chopped and with the stones removed
1.5kg sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
120ml water

Method

1. Wash the plums thoroughly and remove any stalks or leaves. Chop the plums in half and remove the stones, then chop the halves again.
2. Put the plums, lemon juice and water in a large jam pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
3. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the plums are soft.
4. Still on a low heat, add the sugar gradually, stirring all the time. Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
5. Turn the heat up and stir continuously until the mixture is boiling.
6. Use a jam thermometer to check when the jam has reached setting point (105°C); alternatively, use the cold plate test.
7. Remove from the heat and pour slowly into clean, sterilised jam jars. Seal and label the jars straight away.

A plum jam recipe with a difference

If you already know how to make plum jam using a recipe like the one above, you might like to try something a little different for your next batch of jam.

You can make spiced plum jam by adding nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to the basic recipe. The spices give this jam a real flavour of Christmas, turning a simple jam into a delightful Christmas gift.

For a sophisticated orange and rosemary plum jam, add a tablespoon of orange extract and three or four sprigs of fresh rosemary at the start of the recipe. Remember to remove the rosemary just before you pour the jam into the jars.

Finally, if you hanker after something to complement savoury foods, try using plums to make a sweet chilli jam. Replace the sugar with just 450g of soft brown sugar and add garlic, red onions, balsamic vinegar and red wine.

It is always fun to experiment, of course, so why not create your own unique plum jam?

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All about plums

plums in the basketAll about plums

Summer is now in full swing, which means it is plum season. Whether you are lucky enough to have a plum tree or two in your garden or you buy plums fresh from your local greengrocer, they are a delicious fruit and are incredibly versatile when it comes to cooking and preserving. They are also divine eaten as they are, of course – fresh and juicy and full of goodness. Let’s take a look at some plum facts, along with some ideas for tasty plum recipes.

Plum facts

Plum trees normally grow to around five or six metres in height, meaning they are perfect for the medium-sized garden. Left unpruned, however, trees can reach 12 metres. It therefore pays to stay on top of your fruit tree care!

The plum family covers a wide variety of fruits, including some that we might not initially think of such as sloes and apricots. When dried, they are known as prunes and have a somewhat unfair reputation due to their efficacy as a digestive aid or laxative.

Most people are familiar with Victoria plums, but greengages and damsons are from the same horticultural family. These all make excellent jams and jellies.

Humans have been enjoying the plum since Neolithic times and they were eaten widely throughout the Roman Empire.

China is the world’s largest plum producer; however, as it is plum season right now, there is no need to buy from overseas. Most good fruit and vegetable stores will currently have several varieties on offer.

What to do with plums

The humble plum is one of the staples of jam making and preserving. Plum jam is quick and easy to make and you can jazz up your plum jam by experimenting with spices such as ginger or cinnamon. You can even try a pinch of chilli flakes for something completely different. A sweeter plum jam can be achieved by adding a fresh vanilla pod to the pot during the jam-making process – simply remove the pod before bottling.

Plum chutney is another great preserving favourite. Add onions and sultanas to your chopped plum mixture, along with ginger, spices, vinegar and sugar. Plum chutney is perfect with a ploughman’s lunch. Another great idea is a sticky plum sauce for a do-it-yourself crispy duck dinner.

You can, of course, simply preserve any plum surplus you have. Try a spiced preserve recipe using dry red wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Leave for a couple of weeks so that the flavours really infuse and serve as a dessert with crème fraiche or homemade custard.

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What’s in season in August?

What’s in season in August?

Another month has flown by, the children have broken up from school for the summer holidays and August has arrived. Let’s take a look at what’s in season this month and what creative things you can do in the kitchen with your August fruit and veg. If you already need ideas for entertaining the children during the holidays, perhaps a day in the kitchen would be fun? You could make jams and chutneys, fruit fools or simple fruit milkshakes.

Fruit in season in August

Looking first at what fruit is available in August, a number of berries are still going strong, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. These all make excellent jams if you have your maslin pan and jam jars at the ready. If you want to enjoy these berries straight away, consider an indulgent Eton mess for dessert. This wickedly scrumptious dish is simplicity itself to make – simply mix together smashed meringues, whipped cream and chopped strawberries, then chill before serving.

Also in season during August are Bramley apples. Bramleys make the most delicious apple sauce to serve with pork dishes, while the good old-fashioned apple crumble is everyone’s favourite. If you fancy making some preserves with your Bramley apples, try apple and onion chutney or apple and walnut chutney.

Vegetables in season in August

Moving on to vegetables, there is quite a selection of tasty treats in season now. Lettuce, cucumbers, radishes and carrots are all ready for picking in August, making it is easy to rustle up a healthy salad for supper rather than cooking a big meal on hot days. Cauliflower, marrow and red cabbage are also ready now and are perfect for pickling. Try making your own piccalilli, which is guaranteed to taste so much nicer than shop-bought piccalilli if you use in-season vegetables and fresh spices.

Red cabbage is perfect braised with apples and served as a side dish with pork; alternatively, try adding smoky bacon for a simple supper dish in its own right.

We couldn’t talk about what’s in season in August without mentioning the humble pea. Growing peas is highly recommended, if only for the simple pleasure of picking them, shelling them and eating them raw right there in the garden. Cooking Indian food at home is great fun for the whole family and rustling up an Indian pea chutney will create an awesome dish to serve with poppadoms, alongside mint raita and homemade mango chutney.

With so much August fruit and veg available, it is the perfect opportunity to get cooking.

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Serve summertime drinks in style with Mason drinking jars

Serve summertime drinks in style with Mason drinking jars

Summer is here and we all want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Now is the time for long summer walks, trips to the beach, picnics in the countryside and simple barbecues in the garden. If you are planning any kind of outdoor event or party, our stylish range of drinking jars could be just the thing to add a dash of trendy sophistication to the drinks you offer.

The trend for Mason drinking jars

Mason drinking jars have become seriously fashionable since they were first used to serve cool cocktails in trendy hipster bars in Hoxton, East London. They proved such a hit that the trend spread across the country and these cool drinking jars are now available to buy for use at home.

Our range of drinking jars is fun and colourful. From simple clear glass versions to coloured glass jars and jars with coloured lids, there is a style to suit everyone. One of our particular favourites is the Owl Drinking Jar, which features a cute owl design on the surface of the jar. Drinking jars with handles are often also called Mason drinking mugs and we have a whole range of these.

For the perfect combination, Mason drinking mugs can be teamed with a glass drinks dispenser. We have five-litre drinks dispensers from Kilner and dispensers featuring an integral infuser for additional drinks creativity.

If you are looking for the perfect present for someone who loves entertaining outdoors, Kilner has produced two drinking jar sets that are perfect to give as a gift. Both the Kilner Lemonade Set and the Kilner Mug & Straw Set contain drinking mugs, straws and a recipe booklet.

What to serve in Mason drinking jars

With all these gorgeous drinking jars available, we should really offer you some inspiration for what to serve in them. Drinking jars are perfect for summer cocktails and mocktails, iced teas, homemade cordials and old-fashioned lemonade. Try something exotic such as cucumber mojitos for a summery alcoholic drink; alternatively, if you prefer a non-alcoholic choice, try passion fruit and orange spiced with mint and ginger.

As with many products in our store, most of our drinking jars are available singly or to buy in bulk packs, with pack sizes ranging from six to 48. These bulk packs make the perfect choice for larger events, such as weddings.

Whatever your tipple, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, some stylish drinking jars will definitely add to the cool summer vibe.

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Old-fashioned fun with vintage jam jars

Old-fashioned fun with vintage jam jars

It is impossible not to notice that the nation is currently in love with all things vintage. From vintage-themed weddings and old-fashioned tea parties to mid-century modern interior design, vintage is definitely a hot trend right now. This retro feel can also be seen in the kitchen and on tables up and down the country and we thought it would be fun to showcase some of our vintage jam jars to provide a little vintage inspiration for your own creative ideas.

Vintage jam jars and vintage jam

Years ago, many children loved visiting their grandparents, not least to see what delights might come out of granny’s pantry. This pantry usually had shelf after shelf of neatly stacked Mason jars and clip top jars filled with delicious jams and preserves. If you were lucky, a jar of jam would be opened and spread on thick slices of freshly baked bread. A jam sandwich was truly one of life’s simple pleasures back in the day, wasn’t it?

If you are thinking about making a little vintage-inspired jam, why not stock up on some of our vintage style jars and get cracking with some traditional jams from yesteryear? Quince jam is easy to make, as it has high levels of pectin. Damson and plums are often overlooked in favour of strawberries these days; however, they too make excellent jams. For something even more unusual, why not give marrow jam a try, or rose petal jelly? Using traditional Kilner jars, or some of our other vintage style jars, will help to make these vintage jams really look the part.

Another firm favourite from days gone by is raspberry vinegar. Bottled in one of our deluxe swing-top bottles, this would make a delightful gift. Raspberry vinegar is perfect drizzled over salads and can also be used in other ways; for example, pour it over Yorkshire puddings for an old-fashioned thrifty dessert or serve it on vanilla ice cream for a tasty twist.

Vintage jam jars for vintage weddings

Many of our customers use our vintage style jars as wedding accessories. A vintage-themed wedding might use our vintage sweet jars to hold wedding favours, our retro Kilner drinks dispenser to serve elderflower champagne, and our garland-design glass candle holders for tabletop decorations.

If you have caught the vintage bug, dig out your apron and your granny’s recipe book and recreate some of those long-forgotten jams and preserves, perhaps making some old-fashioned lemonade or ginger beer as an accompaniment. After all, a good dollop of nostalgia goes a long, long way.

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Mix it up with a protein shaker bottle

Mix it up with a protein shaker bottle

Ask people what they know about protein shakes and many will describe rippling bodybuilders at the gym who look something like Mr Universe or The Incredible Hulk; however, the reality is far from the myth. Protein shakes are a useful and balanced nutritional aid for many people, not just those musclebound hunks in the weights room.

The benefits of protein shakes

It is true that protein helps you to build muscle; however, it also boosts your metabolism, which can make a real difference in any weight loss programme. For people trying to lose weight, using protein shakes can help them to lose fat but preserve their muscle and overall body tone.

Another way in which protein shakes can help in a weight loss programme is by reducing feelings of hunger. Research in Australia has shown that consumption of whey protein reduces the level of the hormone responsible for telling your brain that you are hungry; therefore, sticking to a calorie-controlled diet could become much easier if protein shakes are included.

Protein supplements can also help to improve muscle strength. It is easy to think of those bodybuilders again, but actually many people may need to improve muscle tone or strength at some stage in their lives; for example, people recovering after injury or a period of forced inactivity or those wanting to combat the effects of aging may benefit from using protein shakes or other supplements.

Easy mixing with a protein shaker bottle

Protein shakes are the most common way of using protein on a regular basis. The protein comes in a powdered form and is usually mixed with water or milk. It is perfectly possible to stir in the protein powder in a regular bottle or beaker; however, this method can often result in a lumpy, half-mixed shake. A protein shake bottle can solve the problem instantly, giving you perfectly-mixed, flavoursome drinks that you will actually enjoy.

Our protein shake bottle comes with one compartment for holding vitamins and another compartment for holding protein powder. Simply add the powder to milk or water and get shaking. The internal spring mechanism means that the mixed shake will be lump-free! The shaker has a practical sip top lid, allowing you to drink the shake on the go. The cap is secure and reliable to prevent any spillage.

If you are thinking about trying protein shakes within your exercise or diet regime, adding a protein shaker bottle could really help. For fuss-free, lump-free protein shakes, nothing could be simpler.

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Keep hydrated with colourful plastic drinks bottles

Keep hydrated with colourful plastic drinks bottlesDrinks bottle

School’s out for summer and the mercury in thermometers is rising, with the hottest day of the year sending the nation into meltdown. Whilst we all love the long, hot days of summer, it is important to make sure that we stay hydrated at all times. With our colourful drinks bottles, quenching your summer thirst becomes a breeze both at home and on the go.

Take a plastic drinks bottle wherever you are

Whether it is the morning commute on a packed tube train, a leisurely stroll through the countryside or a picnic down by the river, taking a bottle of something cool and refreshing will ensure you don’t overheat. Water is probably best for staying hydrated on the way to work or whilst out exercising; however, fruit juices and cordials are also a great choice.

Introducing the stackable plastic drinks bottle

Our cleverly-designed stackable drinks bottle is ideal for stocking up the fridge with chilled drinks. It holds just over one litre and has gently curved sides, meaning it can stack one on top of another inside the fridge. This is a great idea for anyone with children, as it means you can store a batch of chilled juices or fruit squashes ready for when the little ones need a drink. Since the bottles stack so neatly, they don’t take up too much room in the fridge.

The clever design does not stop with the curved sides on this plastic drinks bottle. The threadless cap just snaps on and off when you want a drink, making it a safe and reliable choice when you are out and about. The bottle is reusable, of course, meaning it is a more environmentally-friendly choice than buying bottled water or juices. It goes without saying that making your own juices and drinks is much cheaper than buying bottled drinks, so you can also save money.

If you are looking for some thirst-quenching inspiration for summertime beverages to fill these drinks bottles, why not have a go at making some fresh fruit smoothies? With so many berries in season, such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, smoothies are a perfect choice. Make some up in the evening and store in the fridge overnight for the perfect high-energy breakfast drink. Other thirst-quenchers might include elderflower cordial with plenty of ice cubes or homemade old-fashioned lemonade.

No matter what drink you choose, just grab a drinks bottle, fill it up and head outdoors to enjoy the summer sunshine.

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Using stencils for jam jar creativity

Using stencils for jam jar creativity

 

StencilsOur customers are a truly creative lot and never cease to amaze us with the inventive, clever and downright stylish ways they find to use our jars and bottles. When we came across some stencils for jars and bottles, we knew instantly that they would be a hit and that we just had to stock them.

Funky jar stencils

These clever stencils for jars come in a pack of four stencil sheets. The sheets cover the alphabet in two different sizes, numbers from zero to nine, and symbols and decorative shapes. The symbols and shapes include a heart, stars, arrows, a decorative flourish, some dotted lines and an oval border shape, and the typeface is a classic, old-fashioned style.

The stencils are simplicity itself to use. Just peel the stencils you need away from the backing sheet and stick to the jar or bottle that you want to decorate. It is important to make sure the jar is spotlessly clean and dry before you begin to ensure the stencils stick down fully on the glass. With the stencils firmly in place, just paint away over the top and leave to dry. Once completely dry, gently lift away each individual stencil and clean the stencils with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth.

Get creative with jar stencils

Using these stencils for jars of jam would be a great idea, especially if you plan to give the jam away as a gift for Christmas or birthdays. This personal touch will set your gift apart and create a lasting impression, with the typeface and design of the stencils right on trend. Crafts and homemade items are really experiencing a surge in popularity right now and these jar stencils sit perfectly with this trend.

Another great way to use these stencils for jars is to create wedding favours or use them as posy jars to feature on tables at a wedding reception. Stencilling the initials of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding would be a charming way to create a personalised item for the wedding tables.

Whatever ideas you come up with for these fabulous jar stencils, we are certain that they will be a lot of fun. As the stencils are easy to remove and clean, they can be reused over and over to provide lots of opportunities for stylish creativity.

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