Baking Accessories

Ideas for Baking Accessories

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

 We recently wrote about how more and more people are taking up home baking, either as a hobby or as part of a wider effort to cut down on shop-bought, over-processed food and eat more mindfully. The success of TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef have undoubtedly played a huge part in raising the profile of home cooking, spurring on a new generation of enthusiastic cooks. In a previous post, we walked through the most important piece of equipment – the mixing bowl. Today, we take a look at some other pieces of kit that will help you to become a master baker in your own kitchen.

 Top baking accessories

 One thing that new bakers often tend to fret about is pastry. We are happy enough making a Victoria sandwich or some cupcakes; however, when it comes to making a pie or tart, we come over all anxious – Mary Berry’s warnings of ‘soggy bottoms’ have obviously made a big impression! If you start with the right tin, you will minimise the chances of things going wrong.

 Tarts and quiches should be cooked in a non-stick tart tin with a loose bottom to help you get the pastry out without damage. To ensure the pastry base cooks evenly and stays flat, use ceramic baking beans during the initial stage of baking before you add your tart or quiche filling.

 If you are making a pie, there is always the chance of the pie crust lifting or ‘bubbling’. You can also end up with a soggy top, in addition to a soggy bottom, if steam cannot get out of your pie whilst cooking. A ceramic pie funnel is just the job here – placed in the middle of the pie, with the top poking through the crust, it will let all the steam out and leave you with perfectly crisp pastry.

 Fun baking accessories

 If part of the appeal of home baking is the chance to do something creative with your children, pastry cutters are essential. Children love making their own cookies and gingerbread families and they will be clamouring to help if you introduce some pastry cutter shapes – choose from alphabet letters, animals, gingerbread people, hearts, stars and more. For added entertainment with the children, use food colouring to make your cookies and biscuits bright and colourful.

 We have touched on just a few baking accessories in this article, but there are many more that can help you to achieve great results. Check out our full range today to see what might inspire your next creation.

 

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Mixing bowls for baking

Mixing bowls for baking 

Making a cake, top down view of mixing bowl, flour, eggs, sieve, cocoa powder, butter, sugar.

If you are thinking of taking up home baking, perhaps the most vital piece of equipment you will need is a good mixing bowl. Whilst you might be able to do without some other bits of kit, such as pastry cutters or baking beans, you will not get far without a mixing bowl. In today’s post, we check out our range of mixing bowls and look at the history of the grand-daddy of mixing bowl manufacturers, Mason Cash.

Mixing bowls from Mason Cash

Mason Cash started out way back in 1800, making kitchenwares from glazed earthenware. Variously known as cane ware, yellow ware or barge ware, these items were well known and much loved throughout the 19th century; however, it was not until Tom Cash acquired the company in 1901 that the company became known as Mason Cash and the iconic mixing bowl range was developed.

Mixing bowls in many sizes

The Mason Cash range includes bowls in a huge variety of sizes, from the smallest 12cm bowl right through to the huge 35cm bowl. The smaller sizes of bowl are perfect for storing ingredients prior to mixing; in addition, they are great for beating eggs. The 29cm bowl is a fantastic size for cake and pudding mixes, while the largest 35cm bowl is ideal if you want to make a large batch of dough for baking several loaves of bread. The bowls are made from chip-resistant earthenware, with the patterned exterior helping you to grip the bowl effectively.

Whilst the bowls we all recognise are the traditional brown-coloured ones, Mason Cash has also produced a range in other colours, including red, white, blue, apple green, pink and lemon. These make great gifts for a keen cook and really brighten up the kitchen.

More from Mason Cash

Whilst the firm has a long mixing bowl heritage, Mason Cash pie dishes are perhaps almost as well known and well loved; again, the range is huge and these iconic cane dishes come in oval, rectangular and round shapes and in a variety of sizes. This cane bakeware is known for its strength and durability and Mason Cash pie dishes will give years of service, as will any Mason Cash mixing bowl.

If you plan to get into home baking in a big way, we recommend exploring our mixing bowl and pie dish ranges to get you off to a cracking start. Whether it is sumptuous cakes or hearty savoury pies that take your fancy, setting yourself up with the right equipment will stand you in good stead for enjoying your new hobby.

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Plastic jars for fun

Plastic jars for fun

We might be best known for our huge range of glass jars in all shapes and sizes, but here at Wares of Knutsford, we also carry quite an array of plastic jars. Glass jars are what you need if you are making jams, pickles and preserves, of course, but sometimes a plastic jar is much more suitable. In today’s post, we cast our eyes across our plastic jar range and suggest some ideas for how these versatile and durable jars can be used.

Plastic jars in the playroom 

drawing pencils in glass jar on pastel background

If you have children, you will be familiar with the issue of constantly finding small toys or toy parts around the house. Whether it is Lego bricks, Nerf gun bullets, racing cars or farmyard animals, children have a habit of strewing their bits and bobs in every conceivable place. With a few of our larger plastic storage jars, it is easy to tidy up after them, perhaps with a jar allocated to each type of toy. Stacked on a shelf in the playroom or your children’s bedrooms, these jars will look good and work hard to help you keep the mayhem to a minimum.

In addition to toy storage, a tall plastic PET jar can work brilliantly as a container for pens, pencils and crayons. Children will soon get the hang of putting their colouring materials away after they have been drawing or working on a colouring book, and you will be instilling some good habits for keeping their belongings safe and tidy.

Plastic jars for adult hobbies 

Glass jar containing various colored thread on yellow background

It is not just children who tend to have bits and bobs lying around that could do with a tidy up. Any adult with a hobby will definitely find a few storage containers useful for getting organised. Whether you have a man cave or a she shed that you retreat to when you need some peace and quiet, some plastic storage will help you to keep this space neat and tidy and a relaxing place to be. Use plastic containers and jars to store everything from sewing or knitting materials to woodworking tools and craft equipment. Our slimline PET jars are tall enough to hold crochet hooks and knitting needles, while our 425ml clear plastic PET jars are great to fill with sewing needles, thread, buttons and small scissors to place around the house as emergency sewing kits.

If your child’s room, or your own craft room for that matter, looks like a missile has hit it, perhaps it is time to consider some storage jars!

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Using jars for wedding favours and displays

Using jars for wedding favours and displays 

Candles in jam jars make lovely wedding favours and decorations.

In past articles, we have talked about how to use our range of jars and bottles for wedding favours or small vases for wedding reception tables. We have featured some incredibly creative ideas that are guaranteed to look fabulous, so we thought we would revisit this theme today. This time, however, we take a look at how ‘going big’ with your displays and decorations can really add the wow factor and make your wedding look like something from a glossy magazine.

Grouping lots of wedding jars together

Kicking off the ‘big is best’ idea, let’s consider how much of an impact you could make by grouping lots of wedding jars together. There is obviously a limited amount of space available on each wedding table; however, by building up a group of jars of different sizes in the centre of the table, you can really create an impact. In the tallest jars, try adding tall stems of beautiful flowers, feathers or even branches decorated with tiny baubles or glitter. As the jars get smaller, reduce the size of the items you place in them to keep everything in proportion.

Delicious wedding sweets (multicolor table set)

Another way to pack a powerful design punch is to decorate the edge of the room with rows of jars, each holding a tea light. With the lights dimmed, this will look oh-so romantic. If your wedding reception is in a marquee or barn, try lining the edge of the pathways with jars filled with tealights to illuminate the outdoor space and create a magical atmosphere.

Using bigger wedding jars

Some of our larger jars work brilliantly in a wedding setting. If you want to offer sweets as wedding favours but the standard candy cart offering is not what you have in mind, why not fill a row of our one-gallon pickle jars with vintage or homemade, sweets? You could also offer colourful macaroons, chocolate cookies and homemade biscuits in these jars to make your wedding favours really stand out.

Another great idea for larger jars is to wind a string of twinkling LED lights into each jar and dot these around the room for a fairy tale look that will have all the old romantics in the room whisking their partners onto the dancefloor.

From using larger sized jars to hold sweet treats and wedding favours to grouping smaller jars en masse, you can achieve a unique and stylish effect for your big day by thinking big when it comes to using jars as part of your wedding styling.

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Baking Pans

Baking pans 

Sponge cakes with chocolate center and muffins

Home baking has surged in popularity recently, with people tiring of bland, shop-bought cakes and pastries and turning instead to the simple pleasures of making their own. Knowing exactly what is in the food you produce is a great feeling, while being able to experiment with new recipes and flavours gives cooks a real sense of achievement; therefore, it is no surprise to us here at Wares of Knutsford that baking is really taking off again. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro when it comes to baking cakes, you will need an assortment of baking tins, trays and pans to accommodate all the different types of cakes and bakes that you are likely to produce. In today’s post, we walk through a few of the most useful pans and trays to give you a good selection for your cake making creations.

Loose base and spring form baking pans

With many types of cakes, one of the most difficult parts of the entire process is getting the cake safely out of the tin in one piece. No matter how well you line or grease the pan, it can still be quite tricky to get the cake out. Loose base pans and spring form baking tins help with this problem, offering a means of gently removing the cake without resorting to poking it with a knife or some such method. With loose base pans, the bottom of the pan is separate from the rim – once the cake is cooked, you can push up on the base from the bottom to lift the cake out of the pan. With spring form pans, the outer rim has a spring clasp that can be opened after baking to release the rim and slide the cake off the base.

Deep baking pans

Traditional fruit cakes and celebration cakes, such as wedding cakes and birthday cakes, often call for a deep baking tin. We have an extensive range of deep baking tins, ranging in size from 10cm to 25cm diameter; we also have lots of square tins. If a traditional fruit-based celebration cake is not your thing, why not try a deep chocolate cake or a light Madeira cake instead?

Baking sheets and trays

If you want to make brownies and cookies in addition to larger cakes, you will also need some flat baking trays. Most cookie and biscuit recipes produce around 15-20 pieces, so make sure you buy two or three baking sheets to have enough room for them all in the oven. Baking sheets are also perfect for making sausage rolls, apple puffs and other individual bakes.

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Jam Jars Galore

Jam Jars Galore

assortment fruit jam

Home preserving is one of the most satisfying and rewarding hobbies you can take up, with the potential to make delicious and appealing items all year round. Whether you prefer making sweet jams and jellies or savoury pickles, chutneys and relishes, there is a lot of fun and enjoyment to be had with a batch of glass jars and a maslin pan. Today, we take a look at some of our shaped jam jars and offer suggestions on the perfect pickle or preserve with which to fill them.

Shaped jam jars add the perfect finishing touch

Our range of glass jars is extensive and we quite literally have jars in all conceivable shapes and sizes. You might initially think that a jam jar is a jam jar and that it does not really matter which jar you choose for your preserving project; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Your choice of jar will definitely have an impact on the result; for example, honey works beautifully in hexagonal glass jars, whilst red onion marmalade looks fabulous in a clip top jar – either a round Le Parfait jar or perhaps one of the faceted clip top jars from Kilner. Lemon curd suits a smaller jar, as it does not keep for long; therefore, one of our smaller globe jars would be perfect for this. As you can see, it pays to think through in advance what kind of jar will best suit your project to ensure you have a jar that is the right size for the project and one that also enhances its visual appeal.

Alternative fillings for jam jars

We can’t make jam every day, of course; otherwise, we might find we eventually have a little too much of the stuff! Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to use our jars to bring a little splash of cheerfulness to the kitchen table. Our gourmet jars are great for ‘cake in a jar’ recipes, whereby you quite literally make an individual cake in a jar. Layered cakes work brilliantly in jars, such as cheesecake, lemon cake with cream, or no-bake key lime pie.

Another easy but cheerful idea for filling these glass jars is to make individual breakfast treats in them. Fill our globe jars with layers of creme fraiche; fresh fruits, such as blueberries, bananas or strawberries; and rolled oats. If you like nuts, add a few almond flakes or chopped nuts. Chill these in the fridge overnight and you will have an awesome breakfast treat waiting for you in the morning.

 

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Creative ideas for Kilner jars

Creative ideas for Kilner jars

Baking Ingredients on antique hutch

There is something about Kilner jars that makes people love them. Whether it is the iconic shape or the nostalgic feelings these jars conjure up in us, we have taken the humble Kilner jar to our hearts. Whilst many of us use them to preserve food, make jams and chutneys and produce scrumptious homemade drinks, a Kilner jar offers others a vessel to use in creative crafts. In today’s post, we take a brief look at some creative ideas for using Kilner jars, from homemade gifts to fancy lunchbox alternatives.

Using Kilner jars for homemade gifts

A Kilner jar makes the perfect container for a homemade gift, such as bath salts or hand creams. The 125ml clip top jars would be perfect for homemade hand cream, whilst the 0.5-litre clip top jars or the standard 250ml Kilner jars would look fabulous filled with colourful bath salts or a body scrub, topped off with a stylish bath buffer or scrunchie.

Another great idea for a homemade gift would be to make your own bonbons or boiled sweets and fill a Kilner jar with them to give to friends or family. Decorated with a hand-drawn label and topped off with a pretty ribbon, this kind of gift would look every bit as stylish and desirable as a shop-bought jar of sweets. With Mother’s Day just a few short weeks away, these ideas could be just the thing for a creative and thoughtful gift.

Creative food storage with Kilner jars

One recent trend we have been watching closely is using Kilner jars to carry food, in much the same way as an old-school lunchbox or a Japanese bento box. Fresh, colourful salads work brilliantly in a Kilner jar, with the glass jar allowing you to see exactly what you have for lunch in all its zesty freshness. First, add a little salad dressing to the jar, then layer different ingredients for a vibrant and appetising effect. Adding crisp vegetables immediately after the salad dressing protects other softer items from going soggy; therefore, add peppers, carrots, celery, onion and tomatoes as the first layer before moving on to other ingredients such as sweetcorn, kidney beans, rice and feta cheese.

If you don’t fancy a salad in a jar, smoothies, juices and noodles also work well. Our 250ml Kilner jars are also the perfect size for making breakfast in a jar; for example, fill the jar with fresh fruit, oats and natural yogurt for a healthy breakfast on the go.

 

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Recipe for Cumberland Pie in Pie Dishes

A recipe for cumberland pie

traditional cottage piein dishtraditional cottage pie in dish

Snowdrops might already have raised their dainty heads in our gardens and the nights are getting lighter, but we are still a long way from the sunny days of spring. When it seems that the weather will never get much warmer, there is nothing better than a hearty pie for supper to warm the spirits and reassure us that winter is not all bad. In today’s post, we tackle a favourite pie of ours that is easy to make and inexpensive, yet still tasty enough to impress friends and family alike. If you have never made a cumberland pie before, you will soon be converted to its joys.

Pie dishes to the rescue

Before we start the recipe, we need to talk about pie dishes! A substantial pie calls for a substantial pie dish, and our Mason Cash pie dishes are just the ticket. Solid, reliable and big enough to serve the whole family, these dishes will give years of dutiful service. Why not check out the full range of Mason Cash pie dishes before you get stuck into the recipe?

Filling those pie dishes

This recipe is simple to prepare but slow to cook, so let’s take a look:

Ingredients

2 celery sticks, diced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

800g diced braising beef

4 bay leaves

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tbsp tomato puree

30g strong cheddar

30g parmesan cheese

800g potato, sliced thickly

1 beef stock cube

1tbsp butter

1tbsp vegetable oil

Method

1. Heat oven to gas mark 3/160°C. Soften the onion, celery and carrot in a casserole dish with the oil and butter, then add the bay leaves and thyme. Crumble in the stock cube, then add the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce.

2. Stir in 500ml hot water, then add the beef, and let the mixture simmer. Cook in the oven, with the lid on the dish, for 2½ hours. Remove the casserole lid and cook for another 30 minutes until the meat is falling apart and the sauce is thick.

3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes until they are almost done.

4. Transfer the contents of the casserole dish to a pie dish and layer on the potato slices, mixing in the two cheeses as you position the layers.

5. Turn the oven up to gas mark 6/200°C and cook for 30-40 minutes until the topping is crispy and golden. Serve with broccoli or peas.

We have certainly made our own mouths water with this recipe and hope we have also inspired you.

 

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Cosmetic Creations for Cosmetic Jars

Cosmetic Jars and creations to go in them.

fresh as spring flowers

If making your own jams, pickles and preserves and canning your own fruit and vegetables is part of a drive towards self-sufficiency and a back-to-basics yearning for less consumerism in your life, why not look into making your own cosmetics and toiletries? With a few simple and natural ingredients and some suitable jars, you could soon rustle up your own cleansing lotion, moisturiser, hand cream, foot lotion, body scrub and more. Today, we are going to focus on just one of these to show you how easy it is to make your own. Once you have tried this peppermint foot lotion recipe, you will never want to use a shop-bought alternative again and will find yourself inspired to fill more of our amber glass jars with your homemade creations.

 Choosing your cosmetic jars

 Whatever type of homemade cosmetics you plan to make, you will need a supply of jars. Here at Wares of Knutsford, we offer an extensive range of jars suitable for all types of homemade creams and potions. Our amber glass jars are especially popular for making your own cosmetics and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit every application. For the peppermint foot lotion we are talking about today, we recommend the 120ml amber glass jar.

 Peppermint foot lotion

 For this recipe, you will need:

60ml shea butter

60ml coconut oil

2 tbsp olive oil

12-15 drops peppermint essential oil

 Here are the simple steps you need to take to make this lotion:

 –Put the butter and coconut oil in a glass bowl and melt the ingredients over a pan of water on a gentle heat.

– Once melted, add the olive oil and leave to cool slightly.

– Stir in the essential oil and then whisk vigorously until the mixture is creamy.

– Transfer the mixture into your amber glass jars and store in a warm place.

 Need more cosmetic jars?

 After a long day at work, or out in the garden, your feet can be in need of some TLC, with this foot lotion just the ticket. It will soothe tired feet and moisturise the skin beautifully, leaving your tootsies in tip-top condition. As this recipe is so simple, it is also perfect for showing beginners just how easy homemade cosmetics can be. Once you have had a go at this recipe, you will be keen to try something more adventurous; in no time at all, your bathroom cupboards will be stocked with gorgeous, natural products that you made yourself. Knowing you have made your cosmetics yourself is enough to make you feel better on its own!

 

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Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Old kitchen in Wales

Whilst most of us probably grew up watching our mother of grandmother making cakes, pies and pastries on a regular basis, baking fell out of favour in the early 80s. Perhaps we felt we didn’t have enough time, or we simply fell in love with the convenience of shop-bought cakes. Whatever the reasons behind the decline, it is fair to say that this trend has been well and truly reversed and the nation has again started to bake in earnest. We suspect a certain Mrs Berry and Mr Hollywood have something to do with this, of course, as The Great British Bake Off has become something of an institution in recent years. If you have been inspired to bake a cake or two, you will need a few key pieces of equipment to get started.

Baking equipment essentials

The main items of equipment you need to start making your own cakes and pies are weighing scales, a measuring jug and a mixing bowl. There are other items that will help your baking endeavours, of course, but these are the most important items to choose first.

We have a range of stylish weighing scales, including vintage-inspired enamelled or chrome-plated scales and traditional balance scales that hark back to our grandmother’s kitchen. If you prefer a contemporary look, we have some ultra-modern ‘add and weigh’ scales that let you add all the ingredients together by setting the dial to zero after each item is put in.

When it comes to mixing bowls, Mason Cash is the name to look for. This firm has been manufacturing traditional mixing bowls for over 200 years and its bowls will stand you in good stead for many years to come. Choose a traditional stone-coloured bowl or go for one of the newer styles in a vibrant green, yellow or red.

A good measuring jug should be next on your shopping list; after all, you won’t get the best results if you don’t follow your recipes accurately. Jugs are available in a range of sizes up to a capacity of two pints.

Baking extras

Once you have sourced your baking equipment essentials, it is time to check out the optional extras. A good range of baking pans, pie dishes and pudding basins will have you ready for any baking challenge. If you fancy trying your hand at making biscuits, some shaped pastry cutters will set you in the right direction. These are also a great way to have fun in the kitchen with your children, who will love cutting out fun shapes such as animals, letters and gingerbread people.

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The kitchen

The kitchen

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home and it is no surprise that so many of us love our kitchens so much. Even if we are not keen cooks, we love sitting down together to a family meal, chatting and relaxing with good food and friendly faces. For those of us who do love cooking, our kitchens play an even more important role and become something of an artist’s studio – a place where creative ideas can be explored and small works of art created to share with friends and family. Every artist needs the very best tools, of course, and in today’s post we take a look at some essential kitchenware items that would stand any budding cook in good stead for creating their very own mini masterpieces.

The kitchen as a creative studio

Carrying on the theme of cooking as an art form, some types of cookery are obviously much more creative than others. Whilst preparing a traditional roast dinner might not garner too many gushing compliments, baking an elaborate cake and decorating it with gorgeous sugarcraft flowers would certainly impress. Cake decorating is an addictive hobby and the sky really is the limit in terms of the decorative touches you can add to your baking creations. We have an extensive range of icing, piping and sugarcraft equipment for sale in our online store to help you achieve some very professional effects. Whether it is cookies, cupcakes or your own three-tier wedding cake that you plan to make, there is no reason why you can’t produce some amazing results with the right tools, some practice and a little patience.

Kitchen basics

If you are not yet ready to scale the dizzying heights of creative cake decorating but still love baking, we have plenty of kitchenware products to tempt you. No cook should be without a strong and sturdy mixing bowl and our range of bowls from Mason Cash has something to tempt everyone, from the traditional stone-coloured bowls that your grandma used to use to more contemporary colours that add a zingy freshness to the proceedings. If you are fed up of paying over the top prices for shop-bought cakes and biscuits that contain too many artificial flavourings and preservatives and way too much sugar, why not have a go at making your own? Home-baked goods still contain sugar, of course, but you would be surprised how much less sugar most recipes require compared with shop-bought equivalents.

From pudding basins to pie dishes and sieves to sifters, take a look at our kitchenwares department today to see what new equipment you might need!

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Milk bottles for parties

Milk bottles for parties

Pink retro striped theme dessert table at a girls birthday party horizontal

When it comes to organising parties, whether for adults or children, it is often the small details that really make a difference and show that you have put a lot of time and thought into the event. From the overall theme of your party down to what you choose to serve your drinks in, every element adds to the overall effect and combines to make a party something to remember. In today’s post, we take a look at glass milk bottles and how they can be used creatively.

Milk bottles for children’s parties

With a little imagination, small glass milk bottles can add a fun twist to children’s parties. For winter parties, use glue dots to add three buttons to the outside of the bottle and fix a small felt scarf around the neck. Fill the bottle with milk and hey presto, your bottles have turned into mini snowmen! Add a striped straw and pop some ring biscuits or a mini doughnut over the top of the straw to rest on the lip of the bottle. What child could resist milk and sweet treats presented in such a cute way?

In addition to plain milk, milk shakes are always popular at parties. Jazz up a plain milkshake by dipping the rim in melted chocolate and pressing this firmly into a dish of sprinkles, also known as hundreds and thousands. Again, top with a straw for a fun and colourful effect that children will adore.

Milk bottles for grown-up parties

These cute glass milk bottles are not just for children. They work just as brilliantly at grown-up parties, showing off your creative cocktails through the glass. For a rich and decadent treat, try chocolate martinis or coconut mojitos. You can still decorate the rim of the bottles as we described above; however, instead of sprinkles, try toasted coconut or finely chopped almond flakes.

Our larger milk bottles might be a little on the big side for serving drinks, but they can still be put to good use at parties. Use them as vases in groups of three to five for simple arrangements of cut flowers or twigs. Alternatively, wind a string of tiny LED lights inside a bottle to provide a simple lighting solution. This kind of thing really works well with the vintage-inspired and back-to-basics themes that are so on trend.

If you have a party coming up soon, why not check out our range of glass milk bottles to see how they could add a certain something to your event?

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Crafting with Mason Jars

Crafting with Mason Jars

There is no denying the fact that crafting, in all its forms, is hugely popular. A quick online search of sites such as Pinterest, Etsy and Craftster shows that the US is especially keen on crafting; however, when it comes to Mason jars UK crafters have plenty of great ideas up their sleeves. In today’s post, we look at some simple but effective ideas for using Mason jars to make quirky and original items for your home.

Making lights with Mason Jars 

A Rustic Mason Jar Chandelier in an old barn.

One of the easiest Mason jar craft projects we have come across is using them to make beautiful lights. Wind strings of pretty white LED lights into the jars and string the jars from trees in the garden; alternatively, children’s neon light sticks bent to fit inside a Mason jar will give a funky effect perfect for children’s parties after dark.

If you are feeling really creative, why not go all out and convert a hanging light fitting into a Mason jar chandelier? First, find a light fitting with candle bulbs hanging vertically from a central frame. Glue the screw-threaded part of one lid to the frame, surrounding each light bulb, and spray paint the inside of each Mason jar before screwing it onto the lid over the light bulb. If the light fitting has plenty of bulbs, try a rainbow-coloured Mason jar chandelier; alternatively, if it only has two or three bulbs, try an elegant glitter or snow effect for a romantic feel.

Getting organised with Mason jars

Overhead shot of a clear mason jar full of vintage buttons spilling out onto a rustic wooden table. Natural light.

We have talked in the past about how great Mason jars are for household storage. You can simply fill them up and line them on a shelf or windowsill; alternatively, if you are feeling particularly creative, you can go one step further. Find a piece of interesting wood – driftwood or a piece of pallet wood, perhaps – and screw giant jubilee clips at regular intervals along the wood. Fix the wood horizontally to the wall, fix the Mason jar lids into the jubilee clips, and tighten until they are held firmly. Screw on the jars and fill them with the items of your choice.

When it comes to sourcing Mason jars UK crafters are in luck. Here at Wares, we stock the full range of jar sizes, from the dinkiest of jars right up to one-litre whoppers. Whatever your crafting ideas, we have Mason jars to suit!

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Amber Glass Jars: A History

Amber Glass Jars: A History 

Blank Realistic Cosmetic Container for Face Cream, Powder, Gel, Face mask, cream soap, shampoo, ointment, lotion. Package isolated on white background. Black Box or cardboard packaging. 3d illustration. vector. For Beauty advertising. Mock up. Cosmetic vial flask. Container for perfume. Medical bank.

Ever since we started using plants and herbs to create medicinal potions and remedies, we have needed a safe and reliable way to store those liquids. It wasn’t until the late 1600s, however, that glass jars became popular for this purpose, as before that time, medicines had largely been stored in ceramic vessels. By the late 1700s, glass jars had all but replaced ceramic containers for holding medicines, as they were thought to be more ‘inactive’ than ceramic vessels.

Why Amber Glass Jars?

It was quickly deduced though, that to store medicines effectively in glass jars, the glass needed to be coloured in order to prevent it being affected by light. It was believed that black glass jars would be most effective for this purpose, but this colour had the disadvantage that you could not see the contents through the glass. Blue, green and purple glass jars all became widely used, but research found that red glass was actually the most effective colour for storing liquids. Red glass, however, was and remains very costly to produce, since it involves adding gold to the glass to produce the red colour. By the turn of the 20th century, amber had become the dominant colour for medicinal bottles and jars, as it was inexpensive to produce and gave the best light protection for the contents of the jar or bottle.

The shapes and design of medicinal bottles and jars is as fascinating as their colours. Back in the 1800s, when many people were more or less illiterate, a system was needed that could alert people to the fact that a bottle or jar contained poison. This is why poison was stored in blue jars and bottles, and why, eventually, legislation was introduced to make it compulsory for bottles containing poison also to have a ribbed design.

Amber Glass Jars Today

Today, amber glass bottles and jars are still used for medicines, essential oils and cosmetics. The colour and shape of the container still carries a clear indication of what might be contained inside the bottle or jar. Here at Wares, we stock a comprehensive range of amber glass bottles and jars for use with homemade infused oils, cosmetics and creams. Whether you want to make your own foot balm, face cream or an all-natural herbal cold remedy, using one of our amber jars or bottles will make it really look the part, and will also give you the reassurance that other family members will treat the contents respectfully. Check out our range today, to find the perfect jars and bottles for your next homemade project.

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Using Deluxe Glass Jam Jars

Using Deluxe Glass Jam Jars 

Jars of pickled vegetables in the garden. Marinated food.

We’ve talked in previous posts about how the choice of jar that you make for your home preserving projects can have quite a big impact on the overall effect of the finished product. After all, a batch of jam from a fancy recipe will never look fabulous if it’s poured into a mismatched assortment of old jars in random sizes, with tired looking lids. That same jam, presented beautifully in a set of smart, new jars with shiny lids will look so much more professional and appetising, and suitable to give as a gift to friends and family. In today’s post, we look at our range of deluxe jars and suggest ways in which you can use quality food jars to their best advantage.

Choosing the Right Food Jars

Our deluxe jars come in a range of sizes, including 110ml, 125ml, 190ml, 300ml and 500ml. All the jars in the deluxe range feature straight-sided, heavyweight glass, for a quality feel. The two smaller jars are perfect for smaller servings of things like lemon curd, honey, chilli jams or mustards. Some customers also buy these sizes of jars to store homemade baby food in, which we think is a great idea!

The larger sizes of jar suit all sorts of home preserves, and especially more contemporary recipes such as strawberry and vanilla jam, chocolate and raspberry jam, or fennel and citrus pickle.

Labelling Your Food Jars

Whilst your choice of what jam jars to use says a lot about how professional you want the end product to look, it’s just as important to get the jar labelling right. Rather than simply sticking on a plain white printer label and hand writing what flavour the pickle or preserve is, why not check out our range of jam jar labels and tags, to find a label that perfectly matches the look that you’re aiming for?

From labels featuring gorgeous fruits to bright and contemporary Union Jack designs, we have jam jar labels to suit all styles and tastes. Our jam jar stencil kit is a firm favourite, and suits these quality food jars perfectly. The clean lines and chunky glass of the jars match the modern and robust typeface used for the stencils, and the finished stencil effect is as modern as it gets.

Whether you are an artisan producer selling your preserves commercially, or you’re simply an enthusiastic amateur who wants your produce to look its very best, our deluxe jam jars should help you along the way. With a cracking recipe and quality ingredients, these jars will help you steal the show!

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Creative bathroom ideas for blue Kilner jars

Creative bathroom ideas for blue Kilner jars blue kilner jar

When we think of Kilner jars, we tend to think of clear glass jars; in addition, we tend to assume that the most likely place to see them is in the kitchen or pantry, filled with delicious jams, pickles or preserves. It is true that the iconic clear glass Kilner jar is the most popular style of jar available; however, Kilner has expanded its range in recent years to include some shaped jars and coloured jars. In today’s post, we take a look at the blue Kilner jar and how it can be used in the bathroom for both practical and decorative purposes.

Blue Kilner jars for storage

If your bathroom shelves look a little cluttered and you are forever picking up cotton buds and the like that have fallen out of the pack, why not get organised and start storing all your bathroom essentials in some Kilner jars? The blue jars are perfect for working a slightly coastal look that is perfect for bathrooms, and a row of these jars will look very stylish indeed lined up on the bathroom windowsill or on a shelf. Take a good look through your bathroom shelves and cabinets to see what would work better stored in a jar, then simply order the number of jars you need.

Blue Kilner jars for decoration

These gorgeous Kilner jars are not just useful, as they can also be put to work as decorative elements in a stylish bathroom. Try filling a jar with beautiful sea shells, or perhaps driftwood, for a simple, low-budget design feature that will make you smile whenever you go into the bathroom. You could also use these jars to hold tealights and dot them around the bathroom for the ultimate romantic and relaxing bathtime experience.

If you are feeling particularly creative, why not make your own perfumed bath salts? There are lots of recipes for homemade bath salts available online and the ingredients are easy to source. Once you have made the salts and added your own personal fragrance, simply pour them into one of our blue Kilner jars and sit it by the bath ready for an indulgent soak. Homemade bath salts are so lovely; in fact, you may even decide to make some to give away as gifts to friends and family.

As you can see, the humble Kilner jar can be put to very good use outside the kitchen environment; in fact, once you start thinking about ideas such as those we have talked about today, you will start to think of all sorts of other creative ways to use them.

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Introducing Our Globe Jam Jars

More fruit jam:

Whether you are using our jam jars for jams, pickles and preserves, or you plan to include them in a craft or decorative project, the exact shape and size of the jar you choose can be every bit as important as what you ultimately put in it. In today’s post, we’re showcasing one particular shape of jar that is extremely popular with our customers – the globe jam jar.

What Are Globe Jam Jars?

These jars have a very distinctive shape, looking rather like a globe, or perhaps an onion if you prefer, with a flat bottom. They are available in a choice of three sizes, and customers can choose from any of our seven standard lid colours: gold, silver, black, white, green, blue gingham check or red gingham check. The sizes start at 106ml and go up to 314ml. Additionally, there is also a mini globe clip-top jar available, with a size of 120ml.

Whilst it’s perfectly possible to put absolutely any type of jam or preserve in these jars, they do particularly suit certain things. Because of their smaller size and unique design, they work well for more unusual jams and pickles, and for those preserves where you don’t want to use large jars. For instance, since homemade lemon curd contains fresh eggs, it doesn’t keep for long, so it makes sense to use smaller sized jars, and the 212ml globe jam jar is perfect for this type of thing. Other preserves that might work well in a globe jam jar include chilli jam, hedgerow jelly, gooseberry and elderflower preserve and rosehip jelly.

The clip-top globe jam jar is very popular with couples who are planning their weddings. They use these stylish little jars to hold their wedding favours, as they make appealing containers on wedding tables and pretty mementos of the big day. Wedding favours might include homemade bonbons, fudge, marshmallows or jelly beans, for example.

Help – I need a lot of these jam jars!

If these mini clip-top globe jars are just what you’ve been looking for and you want to buy a large quantity of them, then you’re in luck, as we offer these jam jars in bulk. Our bargain pack contains 192 of the cute little jars, complete with seals. If you’ve decided to use these to hold your wedding favours, for example, then buying these jam jars in bulk will bring significant savings. You’ll find this bulk deal in the bargain packs section of our online store, along with many other bulk buy offers.

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The world of storage jars

The world of storage jars

 If your home is full of clutter, with bits and bobs filling every available shelf, windowsill and counter top, it is time to do something about it and get organised. For some reason, clutter seems to creep up on most of us from time to time and we tend to put off doing anything about it because we don’t know how to tackle the problem or where to store all the ‘stuff’. This is where storage jars can make a real difference, helping you to reclaim your living space, tidy up, and never be at a loss for where to find that certain something you just know is close at hand somewhere.  You will find all our storage jars here https://www.waresofknutsford.co.uk/jars/storage-jars/

A close up selection of pickled and fermented vegetables in Kilner jars

Clip Top Jars ideal for food storage of every kind.

 Storage jars in the kitchen

 There are jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes suitable for use as storage containers. The type and size of jar you use will, of course, depend largely on what you plan to store in it. If you need to get your kitchen cupboards or pantry in order, for example, you will find that some big plastic jars work brilliantly for storing foods such as pasta, rice, lentils and cereals. Small glass spice jars will have all your herbs and spices tidied up in no time, and organising these might just inspire you to use some of them in a tasty curry or a new baking experiment!

 Storage jars are not just for food

 One of our biggest jars is the one gallon large storage jar. If you are a fan of pickled eggs, why not have a go at making your own? This is the perfect jar for this purpose or for something such as preserved lemons. Alternatively, this large storage jar will look fabulous as a decorative ornament, filled with seashells, pine cones or similar and positioned stylishly on a bathroom shelf.

 If you have children who have toys with many parts, such as toy cars or Lego, plastic storage containers could prove invaluable in helping to keep the play area or bedroom tidy. A large storage jar also works brilliantly as a pot for crayons and colouring pencils, or for storing craft materials.

 Craft activities have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years and many adults now dedicate a spare bedroom as their ‘craft room’. Whether you are interested in dressmaking, embroidery, knitting or another craft, you probably have plenty of tools and supplies cluttering your workspace. Again, some sensible plastic storage containers will have your space organised before you know it, leaving you with more time to enjoy your projects and less time spent looking for specific items or materials.

 

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Inspiring Ideas for Pie Dishes

Ideas for Pie Dishes

 This winter has been nowhere near as miserable as last year; however, on wet and windy days and with the nights still dark before we arrive home from work, we all need some seriously warming comfort food from time to time. Pies are the quintessential wintertime treat – filling and hearty, simple and delicious. As 23 January is National Pie Day, we thought we would take a look at some mouth-watering pie recipes and showcase a few of our classic pie dishes in which to serve these tasty delights.

 Delicious ideas to fill those pie dishes

 Some pies are obvious choices for hearty winter-warmer suppers, such as beef and ale pie or traditional shepherd’s pie. If you want to do something a little more unusual, why not buy some diced game from your local butcher and make a rich, indulgent hot game pie filled with pheasant and venison alongside winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and swede?

 If you are looking for a pie that is a little lighter, a chicken and mushroom pie usually goes down well, as does a chicken, ham and leek pie. Vegetarians will love a broccoli, spinach and cream cheese pie topped with mashed potato, or perhaps a leek and potato pie with added feta cheese and a crusty pie topping.

 No post about pies would be complete without at least a mention of sweet pies. If you have a hankering for an appetising dessert pie, look no further! The good old-fashioned apple pie is the nation’s favourite, of course, but sometimes we all fancy cooking something a little different. Try rhubarb and custard pie for a sweet treat that will have everyone queuing up for more. Mix rhubarb and a smooth egg custard together and pour into a pastry base, then cover with a pastry top for a pie like no other.

 Enamel or ceramic pie dishes?

 

Home-made shepherds pie in traditional enamel dish.

Home-made shepherds pie in traditional enamel dish.

We stock a wide range of pie dishes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The two main brands are Falcon, which produces those iconic white enamel dishes with a blue rim, and Mason Cash, maker of the traditional brown pie dish. It is really up to you as to whether you choose to use an enamel or ceramic pie dish; however, if you are thinking of making a pie to heat up later in the microwave, an enamel pie dish would not be suitable and a Mason Cash dish would be the right choice.

 

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Wonderful Wedding Jars

Wonderful wedding jars

Old-fashioned, romantic wedding themes are very much on trend, as are country cottage and rustic themes. Pretty English native flowers, pastel colours and simple accessories all combine to give the romantic wedding theme a timeless charm that is hard to beat. In today’s post, we look at how our glass jars are being used by wedding couples across the country to help create their own unique and oh-so-romantic wedding theme.

 Romantic ideas for wedding jars

 For a simple, vintage-inspired look, many couples are choosing to make their own table centrepieces. If you would like to do this for your own wedding, try grouping several jars of different sizes together, with the largest jar containing a posy of traditional English flowers and the smaller jars holding scented tea lights. You can decorate the jars by sticking ivory lace to the outside, painting a design on them, or using a frosting lacquer to create an etched design that will allow the candle light to flicker through.

 If your wedding reception is outside or there is at least some outside element, consider hanging jars containing tea lights or fairy lights from the low branches of nearby trees. Tie the jars on using a traditional jute thread or simple twine. A group of these will look enchanting, bobbing around in a gentle breeze and providing a flickering and ephemeral light.

 Using wedding jars as favours

 Jars do not just work well as wedding centrepieces or vases; in addition, they make wonderfully simple containers for wedding favours. Fill small jars with old-fashioned sweets, such as candy Love Hearts or those delightful white chocolate buttons coated in hundreds and thousands. Screw on the lid, tie a pretty ribbon around the neck of the jar, and attach a label with a message for your guests. This idea is guaranteed to enchant everyone at your wedding, young and old.

 If sweet treats are not your thing, there are plenty of other ideas for wedding favours that would work brilliantly in jars. Shots of homemade infused spirits are always well received, so experiment with some different recipes to find the perfect tipple for your wedding. Rhubarb-infused vodka looks so pretty in pink and is ideal for serving in a small jar, while sloe gin is another firm wedding favourite and looks fabulous served in our smaller Kilner or Mason jars.

 

Whilst simple jars work best for the vintage-inspired wedding styles that are so popular these days, virtually any jar could be put to work to add a uniquely personal touch to your own wedding. Why not browse our range for some inspiration?
Lovely wedding table centrepiece, showing beautiful flowers in a unique wooden plinth and jars.

Lovely wedding table centrepiece, showing beautiful flowers in a unique wooden plinth and jars.

 

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