How To Make Sloe Gin

How to make sloe gin

Sloe-infused gin is a delicious winter treat – once you have made it for the first time, you will want to make it every year. Sloes are usually ready towards the end of September or early October and the gin is usually ready to drink by Christmas. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, this gin makes the perfect Christmas gift. Read on to find out just how easy it is to make sloe gin.

Sloe gin ingredients

You will need approximately 500g of sloes to make one litre of gin. It is rare to find these available for sale; therefore, you will need to find some blackthorn trees out in the countryside to source your crop of sloes. To tell whether the sloes are ripe, try pressing one between your thumb and finger – if it bursts easily, it is ready to be picked. Many people say that you should not pick sloes until after the first frosts; however, you can simulate this by popping them in the freezer overnight.

In addition to the sloes, you will need about 200g of caster sugar and one litre of gin. Again, there is much debate about whether you need to use expensive gin or whether the end result is much the same even with cheaper gins. Our suggestion is to experiment to find which works best for you.

Sloe gin method

Once you have picked your sloes, wash them carefully and put them in the freezer overnight. The next day, prick any that have not burst their skins in the freezer and half-fill sterilised bottles with them. Our flip-top bottles are perfect and help to make this gin a great-looking gift.

Next, pour the gin into the bottles. Add the sugar, flip down the lid and shake for a moment to mix everything up. Experimenting is the name of the game when it comes to how much sugar to add – add too much and the gin could taste too sweet. One good piece of advice is that you can always add a little extra sugar at the end of the two-month fermentation process once you have tasted it.

Once you have added the sugar and given the mixture a good shake, lay the bottle on its side in a dark cupboard, turning it every couple of days.

After a couple of months, your gin will be ready to drink.

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Fall fruits this early autumn

Fall fruits this early autumn

September heralds the start of autumn, with the days shortening noticeably and cooler temperatures becoming the norm. As we look around the vegetable garden, we can see that things are starting to slow down and crops are becoming thinner. All is not lost, however, as early autumn is an abundant time when it comes to fruit. Even if you don’t have any fruit trees or bushes in your garden, you can still enjoy nature’s fruit harvest. There are plenty of delicious wild fruits available in hedgerows just waiting to be picked, with many of the fruits available at this time of year perfect for preserving. It is definitely time to go out foraging for some autumn fruits.

Fall fruits for jams and jellies

The most common fruit available at this time of year is, of course, the blackberry. Readily available in hedgerows throughout the countryside, and often in towns and cities, the blackberry is a versatile free gift from Mother Nature. Make blackberry fool or blackberry Eton mess to enjoy them fresh; next, make blackberry and vanilla jam or blackberry jelly.

Apples also start to come into season at this time of year. Apples freeze well – if you have a glut, stock your freezer and enjoy apples throughout the year. Apple jam with cinnamon is a delicious wintery jam and, of course, apples team up perfectly with blackberries to make apple and blackberry jam. You can also make apple sauce and store it in Kilner jars to use with pork dishes through the winter.

If you don’t have your own apple tree, why not go foraging for crab apples to make crab apple jelly? Elderberries are also available in the hedgerows at this time of year and make the most delicious jelly to serve with cold meats and cheeses.

Fall fruits for drinks

If you fancy making something to drink rather than jams and jellies, there are several autumn fruits to choose from. Sloes are the obvious choice, of course, to make delicious sloe gin ready to enjoy at Christmas. For something a little different, try blackberry vodka – the technique is just the same as for sloe gin. If you have plenty of elderberries, you could make elderberry wine and elderberry jelly.

For a non-alcoholic drink, try mixing elderberries with blackberries to make a fabulous cordial. On a cold autumn day, this cordial is really warming when diluted with hot water.

Grab a basket, pick some autumn fruits and get preserving!

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What’s in season in September

in season in septemberWhat’s in season in September

Eating and cooking seasonally is one of the most satisfying things to do, as it brings the knowledge that you are working with nature and using only the very freshest ingredients. Whilst summer is just about over, there is still plenty of variety in the fruit and vegetable garden and plenty of choices when it comes to home preserving. Check out this September season guide for some great ideas on what to cook this month.

September in season fruit

When it comes to fruit, no one can fail to notice that blackberries are in season during September. One of nature’s best free gifts, blackberries are readily available in hedgerows, alongside footpaths and on the edges of woodland. The best thing about blackberries is that they are 100% free for everyone.

Blackberry and apple crumble is, of course, an absolute must. Once you have had your fill of crumble and are looking for some more ideas for blackberries, try some blackberry jam or infuse some gin with blackberries for a delicious Christmas tipple. Blackberries are great in muffins and chocolate brownies, which usually go down well with the whole family.

Apples are also starting to come into season and team perfectly with blackberries to form one of nature’s great marriages; on their own, try old-fashioned apple jelly or spiced apple preserve for something a little different.

September in season vegetables

Whilst the vegetable patch might be starting to look a little tired, there are still plenty of options throughout September. If your tomatoes have not ripened, why not use them in a green tomato chutney or make a sweet and savoury green tomato jam with balsamic vinegar?

Other vegetables at their best in September include courgettes, broad beans and several types of cabbage – all perfect for making pickles and chutneys. Try sauerkraut or pickled kimchee if you fancy being adventurous. If you have some marrows available, consider marrow jam – a delicious but less well-known home preserving idea. There are many recipes available for marrow jam, with the marrow paired with all sorts of other ingredients such as ginger, cardamom and even orange.

As you can see, there are still plenty of options for eating seasonally and for getting creative with your Maslin pan. We hope this September season guide will inspire you to get those jam jars and Mason jars out of the cupboard and fill them with tasty treats for the months ahead.

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Buy Mason jars in bulk

Mason Jars in BulkBuy Mason jars in bulk

Once bitten by the home preserving bug, it is easy to get hooked. Each month something new is in season, with more recipes to try and culinary adventures to embark upon. Many new preserving fans are taken rather by surprise when they find just how many jars they need to hold all the delicious creations they want to make, which is where a bulk Mason jars purchase comes in – with plenty of jars in store, you will always be ready when the preserving mood strikes.

Mason jars bulk purchase

By buying our Mason jars in bulk, you will always have enough clean, empty jars to hand when you want to do some home preserves. If you are planning on canning fruits such as apples, plums, lemons, peaches or pears, you will definitely need a large supply of jars, as you don’t get many of each fruit into a jar, even when using the large one-litre jars. Those one-litre jars are also great for pickled eggs. If you keep your own hens and have a glut of eggs, why not have a go at pickling them?

Mason jars bulk savings

We offer our Mason jars and Kilner jars in packs of 6, 12 or 18, with the per jar cost reducing with the larger pack sizes. If you really don’t need 18 jars but have some friends who also love home preserves, why not club together to buy a bulk pack to save money on both the cost of the jars and the delivery charges?

Our bulk Mason jars are also ideal for anyone who is making preserves as an artisan producer or on a commercial scale for sale at farmers’ markets and local delis. From pickled onions in the larger jars to lemon curd or pigeon pâté in the small Familia Wiss terrine jars, the public love buying preserves in these traditional-style jars. If you are selling your preserves to the general public, it is vital to keep a tight rein on costs. Our Mason jars bulk offers are a great way to present a professional-looking product in a cost-effective way.

Whether you are preparing hundreds of jars a week for sale locally or you simply want to stock your pantry full of delicious home-canned goodies for the long winter months ahead, buying your jars in bulk and having plenty to hand is a sensible approach. Stock up, browse some new recipes and get canning!

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Mini Whisky Bottles

Mini Whisky BottlesMini Whisky Bottles

Everyone loves to receive a homemade gift; in addition, many of us love making these homemade gifts. If you are looking for some fresh inspiration and new ideas for what to give this coming Christmas, look no further – we have some great suggestions for ways to fill our small empty whisky bottles. If you are planning your wedding, you should also read on for some great ideas on using these mini bottles as wedding favours.

Using mini whisky bottles for Christmas gifts

Whilst purists may disagree, whisky is something of a wintertime treat for many of us. There is nothing more comforting on a cold evening than sitting by a roaring log fire with a warming glass of whisky, which makes these mini bottles the perfect Christmas gift. Rather than simply filling them with standard whisky, why not try an infused whisky to give the gift that personal touch?

Granted, whisky is less easy to use for an infused spirit than gin or vodka, as it has its own much more distinctive taste to start with. With a little creative thinking, however, some really good tastes can be achieved. Try orange and vanilla infused whisky, or apple and cinnamon for a real Christmassy aroma and a delicious taste. Another winter favourite is honey and ginger infused whisky, which has the advantage of potentially being something of a cold remedy into the bargain.

To present these mini whisky bottles as a charming gift, try giving them as a set of three or five mixed flavours nestled in a presentation box with paper or raffia packing.

Using mini whisky bottles as wedding favours

Today’s bride and groom want to be involved in every small detail of their wedding, with the details on the wedding tables no exception. Wedding favours get ever more creative and we are seeing a big trend for giving something a little more unusual. One customer told us that they used these mini bottles for favours at their wedding, with the men receiving a bottle of whisky and the women receiving a bottle containing damson gin.

It is not essential to put whisky in these little bottles, as they are suitable for all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic infusions. For a real taste of summer, try strawberry tequila, mango vodka or raspberry infused gin.

As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to fill these dinky empty whisky bottles. All you need is some spirits, some simple fresh ingredients and a splash of imagination!

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The best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

Kitchen accessoriesThe best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

If your kitchen is your playground, shopping for new kitchen accessories and gadgets can often be the adult version of heading to the sweetshop with your pocket money! Wares of Knutsford shares the passion for all things kitchen-related, stocking a wide variety of accessories for the kitchen to satisfy the keenest of cooks. Let’s walk through a few of our favourite kitchen gadgets and implements.

Kitchen accessories: our pick

No self-respecting cook would be without a good apron, and the traditional blue butcher’s striped apron is a firm favourite with our customers. Well-made and durable, it has adjustable halters to suit any size and is positively guaranteed to make you feel every inch the professional cook! We also stock matching double oven gloves, which have a long fold-out length to ensure the safe handling of hot pots and pans at all times.

No cooking enthusiast or foodie can resist a good kitchen gadget, which is why our table tools are so popular. If you have gone to the trouble of preparing a special meal, such as a fancy seafood dish, it is only fitting that you use the right tools to serve it or to eat it. Crab and lobster crackers make light work of seafood shells and make for a relaxed and informal dinner party. Oysters and champagne are the ultimate when it comes to a sophisticated celebration meal, so make sure you can handle those oysters with a Masterclass oyster knife. It is amazing how many people are a little squeamish about fish bones; however, the joys of fresh fish suppers can be yours with no fuss or bother with the fish bone remover.

With the nation glued to their televisions for the new series of The Great British Bake Off, we know lots of our customers are being inspired to do some baking of their own. Our umbrella-style food covers are perfect for ensuring that wasps and other flying nasties don’t land on your lovely cakes and baked goods. Gone are the days when food covers were plain and boring – we stock pretty rose-embroidered food covers and polka dot covers in both pink and pistachio.

Giving kitchen accessories as gifts

If you have friends or relatives who also love to cook, accessories for the kitchen can make great gifts. From stylish oil and vinegar dispensers to practical tools such as digital thermometers, giving something for the kitchen is guaranteed to be a hit with any keen cook.

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Make your own wedding favours

Wedding FavoursMake your own wedding favours

If you are planning to get married sometime soon, the chances are that you are already busy sorting out all the details that make the big day special. Weddings can be extraordinarily expensive and many brides are looking for a highly-personalised theme for their wedding. With sites such as Pinterest offering endless inspiration for themes and details alike, savvy brides are creating unique themes and saving money at the same time by styling their own weddings and creating all the personal touches and details themselves.

Wedding favours

One easy way to put your own stamp on the design details at your wedding is to make your own wedding favours. These are small gifts given by the bride and groom as a gesture of gratitude to those attending the wedding. Traditionally, five sugared almonds were given to symbolise longevity, fertility, health, wealth and happiness; in recent times, sugared almonds have perhaps been seen as a little dated, with couples looking for ever more creative ideas for their own favours.

Ideas for wedding favours

We stock a huge range of miniature jars, boxes and bottles that are absolutely perfect for making favours. Fill our 45ml hexagonal jam jars with sweets or nuts, or pop a personalised gift into one of our decorative favour boxes. If you are feeling adventurous, why not make your own infused oils and vinegars and present these to guests in our 40ml glass Esmeralda bottles?

We have seen a whole host of amazingly creative ideas for favours from the brides who come to us for supplies. One bride and groom baked colourful miniature macarons and presented them beautifully in our dinky glass sweet jars, whilst another couple used our simple linen pouches to hold wildflower seeds for an environmentally-conscious and memorable favour.

Chocolates, pralines and fudge are all firm favourites and look gorgeously tempting in our glass sweet jars or miniature Kilner jam jars. Fudge especially is easy to make and can be personalised by using a cookie cutter to create adorable heart shapes, for example. Homemade fortune cookies are also popular and these work well with our favour boxes, which are available in a range of different colours and designs.

Another great idea that we saw recently used homemade elderflower champagne bottled in our heart design miniature swing top bottles. If you fancy a stronger tipple, why not make homemade sloe gin or blackberry vodka and present it in our miniature spirit bottles?

Whatever creative idea you settle on, you are sure to find the perfect jar, box or bottle for your own unique favours here at Wares of Knutsford.

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Glass Kilner jars

KilnerGlass Kilner jars

For many of us, the sight of a Kilner jar brings back happy memories of our childhood. These iconic jars were a staple feature in the kitchens of our mothers and grandmothers, when just about everyone made jams, chutneys and preserves on a regular basis and the kitchen was a hive of industry. Sweet-smelling concoctions were created and canned in Kilner jars to be consumed through the winter months.

Whilst the Kilner business was founded back in 1842, it was towards the end of that century that the Kilner jar was invented. It is a testament to the efficacy of the jar’s design, and to the iconic good looks of the Kilner jar, that it is as popular today as it has been throughout its 120-year history.

Kilner’s extensive range

The traditional Kilner jar is just one item in a wide range of jars and pots made by Kilner. These jars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the traditional shape to clip top jars for terrines and pâtés and from sauce bottles to honey pots.

Kilner has branched out into more decorative designs for its products in recent years and into new areas. Several Kilner clip top jars are available in pink, blue and green, and the company has also diversified into the home brewing arena. Many swing-top bottles are now available, as are home brewing kits and preserving equipment.

How glass Kilner jars work

Traditional Kilner jars feature a two-part lid comprising a vacuum seal and a metal screw band. This unique design means that preserves are always sealed hygienically and in an airtight way. Whilst the metal bands can be reused, it is recommended that the rubber vacuum seals are replaced after each use.

Sterilising the jars and lids after each use is a simple affair. Don’t be tempted to pour boiling water directly onto the jars; instead, place the jars in a pan of water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Do the same with the lids in a separate pan, although these should only be heated to 82° for about 10 minutes.

A trip down memory lane

If you have fond memories of your grandmother’s blackberry jam or your mother’s homemade raspberry vinegar, what better tribute to their skills than to be inspired to have a go yourself? You can even use the same stylish jars they used all those years ago!

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Mason drinking jars with handles

kilner-drinkingMason drinking jars with handles

The trend for using Mason jars to serve drinks began a few years ago in East London’s hipster hotspot of Hoxton. Bars here began serving cool cocktails in Mason jars, just to be different. The trend rapidly caught on and spread throughout the capital and eventually across the country. The fashion for Mason drinks jars is now well and truly mainstream, with customers snapping them up for use at home. From birthday parties and summer barbecues to DIY wedding parties, Mason drinks jars can definitely add a special touch.

Standard Mason drinking jars

Our standard drinking jars are 450ml in size and come with a lid with a hole for a straw. Their sturdy handles make them comfortable to hold and the lid is great for minimising spills and keeping out those creepy-crawlies at outdoor events. There are plain gold lids, red gingham lids, and even lids with designs such as flowers. The 450ml size makes these jars ideal for serving everything from fruit punch and cocktails to beer and cider. The non-drinkers are not left out either, as iced tea or iced coffee looks fabulous served in these Mason drinking mugs.

Fancy Mason drinking jars

In addition to our basic range of drinking jars, we have some fancy options. If you would like a little colour, for example, we have packs comprising two red, two blue and two green jars, all with vintage-inspired lettering on the front to give an authentic retro feel.

The drinking jars in our Kilner range are 400ml in size and come in blue, green, pink and clear. There is also an adorable ‘fruit cocktail’ design in the Kilner range, with the jar decorated with a colourful fruity pattern, and a ‘fruit punch’ design, again with a bright and breezy fruit design on the jar.

To complement our Mason drinks jars, we have a range of glass drinks dispensers. Again, these come in a range of different colours and styles and sit perfectly with our drinking jars to create a delightful overall impression.

Whether you are planning a big barbecue for all your friends and neighbours or are preparing for your own wedding, using Mason drinking jars will add a little sparkle and a splash of colour to your event. As with many of our products, these drinking jars are available to buy in bulk packs, offering tremendous value for money.

Grab a drinking jar, pour yourself a refreshing drink, and sit back and enjoy.

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Everything you need to make jam

22Everything you need to make jam

There often comes a point in people’s lives when they have an urge to make jam. Jam making is one of life’s simple pleasures and is so easy that anyone can make delicious jams, regardless of whether they are a good cook. If you have delayed making jam because you thought it was complicated or required a lot of equipment, read on to discover how simple it is and what basic equipment you need.

Basic equipment for making jam

Aside from the obvious ingredients of fruit, sugar and possibly an additional source of pectin, there are a few pieces of inexpensive equipment that you need to start your jam making journey.

Firstly, you need a jam pan, often known as a maslin pan. This is a specially sized and shaped pan, usually made of stainless steel. A full-sized maslin pan is usually nine litres in capacity; however, smaller pans are also available if you are not likely to make large quantities of jam. Don’t be tempted to try using a saucepan instead of a maslin pan, as it is all too easy to misjudge the size needed and find that it won’t hold all your jam!

The next tool you need is a good jam spoon. This should ideally be stainless steel and have a long handle to prevent burns. We even offer specially designed jam spoons with a clever curved handle that allows you to hook the spoon onto the side of the maslin pan.

The final piece of basic equipment you will need to start making jam is a jam thermometer. For jam to set properly, it is crucial that it reaches its setting point of 105°C. A jam thermometer takes the guesswork out of the process and ensures optimum results.

A jam funnel and a strainer are other optional pieces of equipment to consider. Jam funnels make it easy to pour the jam into jars without making a mess, while strainers remove any lumpy bits you don’t want in your jam.

Accessories for making jam

In addition to the basic equipment listed above, you obviously also need jam jars, lids and labels. We have the widest range of jam jars, from plain and simple jars through to fancy decorative jars that will transform your jam creations into small masterpieces. Set off with pretty labels and lid covers, your jams will soon look highly professional. You will be proudly giving away your jam as gifts to friends and family in no time at all and are likely to become hooked on jam making for life.

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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:

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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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