Choosing the Right Jar for Your Product

jar

Whether you are producing preserves for personal use, to give as a gift or commercially, you need to choose a jar which satisfy some very specific requirements. Use the shape, labelling and closure of the jars you choose to present a distinct and unique brand image when selling your produce, or choose a decorative jar to elevate a home made gift to something special with a personal touch.

The easy storage jar

If you are producing on a large scale for your own use, your main requirements probably focus around ease of use – storage and cleaning are two obvious points.

Unless you are lucky enough to have one of those huge, old fashioned walk in larders as seen in the likes of Downton Abbey, you need to think about how you can accommodate large numbers of jars. You may be happy to have them hanging around on your worktop for ages but really you need to be able to store jams, chutneys and sauces in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard. Larger jars can be an efficient use of space but are not suitable for products with a short shelf life once open. Square jars can fit neatly into most cupboards and you need to consider the potential for stacking jars on top of each other.

Jars for commercial use

The jar in which you present your produce will be what customers see before they get to taste what’s inside, therefore it’s important that the packaging accurately represents your brand image. If you are aiming for a traditional approach then the classic jam jar should fit the bill, but you will need to devote some thought to labelling and other packaging to make your product stand out from the crowd. Unusual shapes or decorative jars can give your product a premium look while funky shapes can lend a modern look to a classic product.

Jar toppings

The method of closure you select can hugely influence the overall image presented. Clip tops allow easy opening and present a traditional, even rustic appearance, while simply changing the colour of a screw top lid can dramatically alter the overall appearance of the product.

Jar sizes

Presenting produce in a wide range of jar sizes makes your operation look professional, but remember standard size jars tend to become that for a reason – which is usually that they are the most convenient and logical option for the function in question. Using miniature vessels to give away samples can be very clever marketing, convincing potential customers to buy.

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Medicine Bottles

medicine bottles

Wares of Knutsford’s Aromatherapy and Pharmacy Bottles department contains a number of suitable bottles for medicine. Whether you are making up essential oil mixes, soothing body lotions or home made hangover cures, presenting it in one of our bottles for medicine looks smart and professional.

Medicine bottles range

The range starts with tiny, 5ml bottles right up to one litre size medicine bottles, in clear, blue, green or amber glass and a wide variety of caps. Dropper bottles with pipettes, for example, are the easiest way to dispense small quantities.

Coloured glass is often used to protect the contents from degradation by UV rays and looks traditional, while there is a variety of shapes available in both modern or traditional styles. Clear plastic bottles with white PVC press caps or spray caps can also be useful if the safety of glass is an issue.

Medicine bottles for ginger brew hangover cure

Ginger is well known to help with nausea and can work wonders on a hangover, but at the time you may not feel able to stand upright long enough to prepare this brew! The solution is to keep a prepared bottle ready in your medicine cabinet when you have a big night planned.

Add 10 slices of fresh ginger root to a saucepan with four cups of water and boil for ten minutes. Strain the mixture and stir in the juice of one orange and half a lemon plus half a cup of honey. Decant into a medicine bottle and reheat gently before using.

There’s no real cure for a hangover apart from time, but this brew can help to relieve some of the common symptoms.

Homemade insect repellent

You don’t have to smother yourself in nasty chemical such as Deet to avoid becoming bug food, you can make your own insect repellent oil. Add a few drops of lavender, citronella and geranium essential oils to a bottle of carrier oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed oil and apply to ankles and other vulnerable areas at duck, when the mozzies most like to feed.

Soothing skin cream

You will need a quarter of a cup of oats, ground to a fine powder in a food processor, three quarters of a cup of coconut oil, a few drops of rosemary essential oil and a tablespoon of olive oil. Melt the coconut oil over a low heat until it turns to liquid then stir in the other ingredients. Pour into an aromatherapy jar and allow to set, then rub into dry patches of skin as needed.

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Jam Making Website

making jam

Wares of Knutsford began life selling preserve making equipment. We’ve come a long way since then and are very proud of our range, which includes both traditional and modern kitchen wares such as baking equipment, enamel ware and interesting household goods. However we still consider ourselves to be primarily a jam making website, and June marks the beginning of the preserving season!

Making jam at home

Jam making is one of those traditional hobbies which is undergoing a resurgence in popularity, with celebrity fans including supermodel Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge publicly stating their love for making their own preserves. It’s an enjoyable, rewarding and therapeutic pastime, and the result is far more delicious than any preserve you can find in the shops.

You may only want to make a few jars to enjoy in private, but home made jam makes a fantastic gift and as it’s one of those things which is easier to make in bulk, it makes sense to spread the love! If your jam is really good and you demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, you may even find you can make a career out of a hobby.

Get started making jam

It’s not difficult to get started, even if you don’t have any experience. You can find all the equipment you need on a jam making website like Wares of Knutsford, including preserving pans, thermometers, funnels, straining kits, jars and labels. You will also find a helpful selection of recipe books.

However once you have mastered the basics of making jam, the fun is all in experimentation and coming up with your own delicious preserves. Jamming is an economical way of using up a glut of seasonal fruit and allows you to enjoy a fruity flavour all year round, but in fact there are plenty of free ingredients you can use – blackberries, elderberries, crab apples, cherries, damsons, sloes, rosehips and hawthorns for example can all be found growing wild in the UK, so take advantage of nature’s bounty to come up with some creative jam flavours! Just make sure you know what you are picking, that you are not trespassing and that you wash the fruit well before use.

The internet is your friend here, as you will find all sorts of useful advice, recipes and instructions online, including here on the Wares of Knutsford website. Check out our blog, Facebook page and recipe selection, which are regularly updated with preserving themed information.

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What to Grow in June

what to grow in June

There are few pleasanter months to spend in the garden than June, with the sun warming your back as you work the fresh smelling soil – it’s a good job too as there’s plenty to do before June ends!

What to grow in June indoors

Most of the work in June is outdoors but there are some seeds which still benefit from being undercover. Cucumber and gherkins can be started off in the greenhouse in individual modules or pots and now is a good time to start off your winter cabbage seeds, which need a long growing season. French beans and runner beans can be started off indoors in module trays but they can go straight outside if you trust the weather.

What to grow in June outdoors

There’s a huge list of vegetables which can be sown directly outdoors this month, starting with a thin sowing of beetroot and chicory. Broccoli and calabrese can go in a nursery bed for later transplantation or directly into a vegetable plot. Sow your carrots in rows and avoid coming under attack by carrot fly by protecting the seedlings with fleece or enviromesh.

You’ll be able to enjoy healthy, fresh salads this summer if you sow salad leaves in modules under glass and transplant them later or directly into the ground now but remember to plant little and often for regular cropping. Spring onions are a quick cropper sown in drills and radish seeds also offer swift rewards for tasty and interesting salads.

Courgettes and other squashes can be started in pots or sown directly outside and you can sow your swede and turnip seeds in rich soil for cropping later in the year.

Sweetcorn can be started off in the greenhouse or go directly into the ground. You should aim for about 12 plants to ensure pollination and sow in a grid formation rather than a line so that the wind can assist the pollination process.

What to grow in June on the herb front? Well parsley, coriander and dill grow like lightning either outside or indoors.

What to plant in June outdoors

Plenty of the crops you’ve been carefully nurturing from spring are ready to move outside now. Brassicas including Brussels sprouts, summer cabbages, cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli and Calabrese can all go in but will need plenty of space and moisture.

Peppers can be transplanted from modules into grow bags in a sheltered, sunny spot, along with cucumbers and tomatoes. Plant out squashes and pumpkins – hungry plants which appreciate a fertile, rich soil.

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Where to Buy Spare Jam Jar Lids

jam jar lids

At Wares of Knutsford we pride ourselves upon providing a complete service as a preserving website. This includes not only preserving equipment and a huge range of jars and bottles but also spare parts including lids for jars.

Re-using jam jar lids

The Food Standards Agency recommends against re-using jam jars for commercial purposes, but many people are happy to re-use glass jars if they are well washed and sterilised. However it’s not a good idea to re-use jam jar lids as even after thorough cleaning they could harbour bacteria which can not only spoil your food but also make you ill. There is also a risk that you won’t achieve a completely airtight seal with a re-used lid, which will again spoil the contents of the jar.

If you are using a clip top lid or something like a Kilner jar with a sealing disc, you should replace the rubber sealing ring or the disc, but otherwise wash, sterilise and re-use the jar in the usual way.

Jam jar lids at Wares of Knutsford

Here at Wares of Knutsford we like to make preserving easy, so we have a specific department where you will find spare lids and other spare parts for jars. Standard, heat sealable twist lids are available in 38mm, 43mm, 48mm, 53mm, 58mm, 63mm, 66mm, 70mm, 82mm and 100mm and in a choice of colours. They are sold in packs of 12.

Rubber sealing rings are available in packs of 10 in 85mm and 100mm sizes and you will also find spare sealing discs for Kilner, Mason, Leifheit and Familia Wiss jars.

If you need any help working out which lids you need, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and helpful staff for advice. Our helpline number is 0845 612 1273 or you can click on the ‘Live Help’ tab at the bottom right of the screen.

Glass jars can be re-used almost countless times and in many different ways and by using new lids every time you preserve, you can be sure that you are creating a good seal and a bacteria free environment to keep your goods at their best.

Sterilising jars

To re-use glass jars you should wash them in hot soapy water and rinse well before sterilising. The easiest way to sterilise jars is to run them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle. Alternatively you can place them in the oven on a baking sheet at 140C for about 15 minutes, or boil the jars in a large pan of water for 5-10 minutes.

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Jam Jar Packaging

jam jar packaging

So many times Wares of Knutsford clients have contacted us looking for packaging items, so we decided to respond in the most appropriate way we can think of, which is with a new packaging department. Here you can find packaging for jam jars, hamper trays, gift boxes, shredded paper filling, ribbons and other wrapping items. These are a great way of making your homemade produce look smart to give as a gift but can also help jam sellers to present their goods in an attractive and professional way.

Boxed jam jar packaging

Jars can be awkward to wrap and transport so we think our selection of jar gift boxes offers an excellent solution to jam jar packaging. Boxes are made of high quality fluted card for a sturdy finish and delivered in flat pack form which is easy to make up yourself. There is a range of shapes and sizes to cover jars of different proportions and all feature display windows and integrated carrying handles. Boxes are available in small, medium and tall sizes for two or three jars and in natural or olive green colour – simply add a tag or ribbon.

Jute bags for jars

The jute bags range of packaging for jam jars offers a softer option than boxes but is also available in a useful range of sizes. Extra small, small, medium and tall bags come in two and three jar variations with clear plastic display windows and an integrated carrying handle. The environmentally friendly bags are made of biodegradable natural hessian from India and are an inexpensive way of making simple jars of jam, honey, chutneys or any preserves look amazing.

Hamper tray jam jar packaging

If you want to create a more dramatic look, create gift hampers with our cardboard trays range. Available in natural, olive green or burgundy and in small, medium or large sizes, the trays can easily be filled with shredded paper or other packaging material to present jars and other products decoratively. You can choose from square or rectangular shaped trays or even a wooden crate effect version for a rustic style. Once you have filled the tray, use jute ribbon in co-ordinating colours to decorate and hold everything in place.

Packaging with shredded paper

Fine cut shredded paper works as a base in boxes and bags both to protect jars, help position them and simply to look pretty. At Wares of Knutsford you will find fine cut shred in tea green, vanilla, red and brown to co-ordinate with the rest of our packaging range.

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Freezing Mint

Freezing mint

A constant supply of fresh herbs can certainly improve your home cooking, but if you don’t naturally have green fingers you don’t have to be stuck with dried herbs instead, as there are other ways of preserving herbs. Mint is one particularly useful summer herb which can easily be frozen to give you the benefit of fresh mint leaves all year round.

Freezing mint in ice cubes

Freezing mint is a self explanatory way of preserving this herb. Prepare your fresh mint by picking out any damaged leaves and tough stalks. Rinse and gently spin or pat dry the mint leaves you want to freeze. Finely chop the mint leaves and add a teaspoon or two into the compartments in ice cube trays. Fill the tray with water and freeze in the usual way. Once the cubes are fully frozen you can remove them from the trays and store them in the freezer in a plastic tub or air tight freezer bag.

Now you have fresh mint ice cubes available to use in tea, sauce or soup all year round. You can also defrost the mint ice cubes and strain them to remove the liquid and leave only the herb itself if you want to use the in dishes without the water content.

Make a mint iced tea by adding a couple of frozen mint ice cubes to tea while it’s brewing. Allow to cool and serve with plain ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink.

Even better, you can freeze the mint into Mojito ice cubes by adding lime zest, lime juice and a little sugar syrup into the trays with the mint for an instant, icy cocktail – just add them to a glass of fizzy water or rum!

Freezing mint with a vacuum sealer

Preserving mint by the vacuum sealer method retains more colour, flavour and texture than mint ice cubes. You will need a vacuum sealing machine and the appropriate material to make the bags.

Rinse the fresh mint sprigs and gently spin or pat dry to remove as much excess moisture as possible. There’s no need to chop the mint leaves when vacuum sealing but do snip off any tough, woody stalks and damaged leaves. Take enough bag material for the amount of mint you want to freeze, seal one end and label with the date and contents. Place the fresh mint sprigs into the bag and seal the open end in the machine. Lay the bags flat in the freezer until fully frozen, after which they can be stored upright to save space.

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Mint Cutter

mint cutter

A dedicated cutting tool for mint and other herbs may sound like an unnecessary luxury or gimmick – doesn’t a knife do the job just as well? If you are very adept at fine chopping then yes, of course it might. However if you like to use lots of fresh herbs in your cooking then a cutting tool for mint and other herbs can come in very handy, saving time and offering a neat, uniform result while minimising injuries caused by clumsy fingers. If you suffer from motor control issues handy gadgets such as a mint cutter can make it much easier for you to continue your culinary efforts in safety and without being restricted by your condition. Wares of Knutsford offers a couple of handy options.

Kitchen Craft plastic herb mill and mint cutter

This white plastic mill is so easy to use. You simply load your fresh herbs into the cup at the top and turn the handle to produce neatly grated herbs. It features an internal stainless steel blade which operates in a rotary action for effortless herb chopping. There is a detachable handle for easy storage and the mill can be used by both left and right handed cooks. This mill means your children can safely help you to chop herbs without using sharp bladed knives or creating too much mess!

The mill is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and can be used with any leafy herbs – mint, coriander, parsley, basil etc.

Kitchen Craft professional herb and mint cutter

This cutting tool is of the high quality you’d expect from Kitchen Craft, featuring stainless steel rotating blades for quick and easy operation and a comfortable, oval shaped handle for a steady grip. An integrated hanging loop makes for easy storage and the cutter is dishwasher safe. It also comes with a 25 year guarantee so you can be sure of freshly chopped mint for mojitos for years to come! The cutter makes short work of leafy herbs, chives, rosemary, thyme, sage and all sorts of other herbs.

If you prefer to do it the old fashioned way, work like a professional chef with an hachoir. This slices herbs, spices and vegetables in a controlled, speedy manner and can be great fun to use! The regular, rocking motion is surprisingly therapeutic. Wares of Knutsford offers single and doubled bladed hachoirs and a smart gift boxed hachoir set including a shaped wooden chopping board.

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Guide to Selling Jam

selling jam

Do you think make fantastic jam that you think could earn you some money?. Be aware that the quality of your product is not the only consideration – you also have to comply with the law as set by the Food Standards Agency. This may sound daunting but don’t be put off by bureaucracy – this quick guide should boost your entrepreneurial spirits and have you on the road to selling jam in no time.

Where should I start selling jam?

Research the market! Find what’s selling well at your local markets and food fayres – if jam is selling well or if there is a gap in the market there, see if you can fill it. Consider also who will be your customers – would you be better off with some plain, down to Earth packaging in simple jars or do the locals look they have rather fancy taste which would be better satisfied by decorative jars? If you have the opportunity, ask around to find what the market requires, including canvassing the opinion of other sellers who already know local tastes.

Check your figures

Consider the cost of ingredients, packaging, electric and gas bills and equipment, the location pitch fee, transportation to the point of sale, fees for any training and certificates and administration costs, such as an accountant.

Once you have worked out how much each jar of jam costs you to make, you can then add a reasonable amount for profit. Consider also how much the competition is charging.

If you find people are happy with your prices you may be able to look at increasing them, but if people comment that your jam is expensive, you will either have to cut your profits or find a way to reduce your expenses – or both.

Check the law on selling jam

Make sure you know what is legally required of you before selling homemade jam. You don’t need to worry if you are only selling in very minor quantities and on a casual basis, but if you are planning to sell on a regularly and earn good money, you will need to contact your local authority to register your kitchen with them and check all related legislation. Different areas have different rules to follow regarding issues such as packaging and labelling and you must make sure you are complicit with the law.

You will also need to get a basic food hygiene certificate, which can be acquired online and costs about £15.

Find out more at the Food Standards Agency: http://www.food.gov.uk/.

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Can You Sell Jam in Re-used Jars?

re-used jars

Home made jams are an essential and delicious part of summer fayres, school fetes and church bazaars up and down the country. However an EU ruling threatens to interfere with that tradition, decreeing that re-using jars for jam and preserves marks a breach of food hygiene regulations.

The law on re-used jars

EC Regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006 prohibit the re-using of containers which were not designed specifically for that purpose. As a result the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service and the Women’s Institute, among others, have advised their members that produce in re-used jars should not be sold at their events.

According to the Food Standards Agency the rules have been applied to prevent old containers from leaching chemicals into food – but conceded that it did not suppose that re-using glass jam jars was likely to cause contamination. The regulations can be enforced by local authority environmental health officers, who can apply fines of up to £5,000, a six month prison sentence or both to offenders.

Jam making is becoming a very popular activity, with supermodel Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge among famous proponents of the hobby. TV chef Mary Berry, church leaders and jam makers all over the country are distinctly unimpressed by the legislation.

New or re-used jars?

No matter how nonsensical the law appears in this case, those planning to sell their home made produce should be aware of the rules and consider carefully the consequences should they choose to break them. Buying new jars all the time may not seem to make economic sense but it is necessary to stay on the right side of the law. Wares of Knutsford can supply a massive range of jam jars at excellent prices – particularly if you’re buying in bulk. Thanks to a flat delivery charge, you can buy as much as you like without worrying about postage and packing charges mounting up.

Bear in mind that if you are selling jams and preserves there are also regulations to observe about labeling.

The re-used jam jars rule only applies to commercial enterprises and does not stop people re-using jars for their own use or to give away as gifts, however it is advisable to buy new lids if you are re-using old jars, which can also be found at Wares of Knutsford. Whether you are using new or re-used jam jars, you should always wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water, rinse well and then sterilise them before filling – and the same applies to lids.

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Swing Top Colourful Bottles

glass bottles wholesale

Among its extensive range of glass bottles, Wares of Knutsford stocks swing top top bottles in various sizes and colours, including a useful set of six colourful swing top bottles.

Colourworks colourful bottles set

This set of six high quality swing top colourful bottles from Colourworks by Kitchen Craft features a plastic flip top lid with a durable silicone seal. It is available in 500ml and one litre sizes with one each of red, green, pink, blue, yellow and purple glass bottles. They are ideal for water or any cold drinks including wine, and make a great gift for yourself and others!

Remember that Wares of Knutsford follows a single delivery charge policy, so you will pay the same whether you order one set of bottles or much, much more. This means you purchase gets more economical the more you buy!

Setting the table with colourful bottles

Coloured glass bottles are ideal for setting a theme at parties and other events. Whether you are going for a floral fiesta, a Mexican cinco de Mayo celebration, a Disney themed children’s party or a hippy wedding, the Colourworks swing top bottle collection will help to set the theme. Fill them with water or with a selection of cordials and soft drinks or even cocktail mixes then accessorise with some bright, pretty tissue paper pompoms, balloons, a string of bunting and colourful tableware to match. Don’t forget the party poppers too! It’s also fun to make the food match the colour scheme, and in this case macarons and cupcakes can be coloured to the same hues as the bottles.

The bottles also look fabulous used as vases or as home décor, grouped on a shelf. Line them up along a window sill and the light will shine through for a fantastic light show – intersperse them with tea lights in coloured holders for a really dramatic effect. Fans of the upcycling trend will enjoy putting a light fitting on the top with a funky shade to make a colourful and unique table lamp. Really clever crafters will cut the bottle bottoms off and use as a pendant light shade! You could also fill the bottles with fairy lights for a colourful light show around the house.

When labelling the bottles go for glass paint pens rather than labels for a modern style.

The bottles can also be used around the home to help children organise their beads and marbles by colour – fill the matching colour bottle with the marbles.

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Jars for Mint Sauce

jars for mint sauce

Mint sauce is one of the easiest and most rewarding condiments to attempt at home. The ingredients list is small, it’s quick and gives so much more depth of flavour than shop bought versions. You may also be amazed at how may different ways you can use it apart from as an accompaniment to lamb. If you’re making some, either to keep for yourself, to give as a gift or to sell, you’ll need some mint sauce jars and Wares of Knutsford is pleased to be able to offer you a number of options.

Jam jars for mint sauce

The simplest option is to use some basic jam jars for mint sauce jars. They come in a wide variety of sizes, with heat sealable lids in a choice of colours, so they are suitable for all kinds of preserves. The 228ml jam jars are a useful size and can be bought in packs of 12, 24, 36 or a bargain pack of 192. This isn’t the most glamorous choice of jar but can easily be tarted up to look the part as a gift and offer great value for money. These half size jars are one of our most popular products and we think they work very well for mint sauce, but if you get through lots of it you can always opt for one of our larger jam jars.

Decorative jars for mint sauce

If you are selling your mint sauce and want to make your product stand out or if you want to make a gift look a bit special, go for a pretty, decorative jar. The shaped jars category includes globe, square, Grecian and hexagonal jars for example, plus novelty options such as teddy bear or heart shaped jars. Any of these will look attractive on a dinner table and can easily be made showy looking with the addition of a decorated label or tag and a ribbon around the neck.

Remember that with Wares of Knutsford you only pay the same, flat delivery charge no matter how much you order, so you can buy as much as you like without worrying about being hit with a huge delivery charge at the end. All jars come well packed and most orders are sent on overnight delivery.

Wholesale prices are available for pallet quantities with a minimum order value of £450.00. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for our wholesale price list and delivery terms.

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Fruits in Season in June

fruits in season June

June is when summer really begins in the UK and the ripening of juicy fruits coincides with lighter, warmer evenings and the feeling of freedom when you release your feet from winter boots into summer sandals. There’s a beautiful heap of June fruit to be eaten, either in its natural state or used in mouth watering recipes. Even better, you can eat a cake made with delicious June fruit and claim it as health food, as it makes up one of your five a day!

Fruits in season June: Apricots

Fruit doesn’t get much more attractive than apricots – the soft, almost fuzzy skin, the fragrant flesh which is at the same time tart and sweet. It can be used in so many recipes but it’s hard to beat the simplicity of a tarte Tatin.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Scatter 35g of caster sugar in a heavy based, oven safe frying pan and heat gently. As the sugar begins to caramelise, scatter over another 35g and stir in unti you have a soft, golden syrup. Whisk in 40g of melted butter and, once well combined into a caramel, remove from the heat. Place apricot halves with the cut side up into the caramel – as many as will fit in the pan. Cover the caramel apricot layer with a sheet of puff pastry, cut slightly larger than the pan so that you can tuck the edges in around the sides. Prick the pastry with a fork to allow steam to escape than bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and risen. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then turn out onto a plate..

Fruits in season June: Cherries

Like apricots, there’s something extremely sensuous about cherries. Once again simplicity is beautiful, so try a good, old fashioned pie.

Heat 150g of good quality back cherry jam gently in a saucepan with 100ml water until melted and bubbling. Make a smooth paste of one tablespoon of arrowroot and two tablespoons of water and stir into the jam mixture until smooth and thickened. Stir in 750g fresh cherries, stones removed and leave to cool. Use ready made pastry to line a pie dish and fill with the fruit mixture, then top with the pastry and prick with a fork. Glaze with some beaten egg and bake for 40-45 minutes in a preheated oven at 190C, until the top is golden.

Keep an eye out for other fruits in season in June such as kiwi and a number of red fruits just beginning to make their mark on the season: blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

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Bottles for Elderflower Cordial

bottles for elderflower cordial

Elderflower cordial is made from the prettiest, most delicate of hedgerow flowers, which is also the subject of a huge amount of romantic folklore, and as such it deserves elegant presentation. It’s an ancient drink undergoing a modern revival, so swing top bottles for elderflower cordial perfectly represent that facet of its character. This drink can easily be made at home and co-ordinates so well with a number of other flavours – cucumber, orange, thyme or pomegranate, for example, so it’s really easy to come up with something original and special.

Wares of Knutsford’s bottles for elderflower cordial

The swing top bottle range at Wares of Knutsford includes a variety of styles. Apart from the standard straight sided, sloped shoulder form there churn style bottles, curvy sided Sorrento and Capri bottles, a Growler bottle, a handled bottle, square based versions and faceted bottles. There are swing topped bottles in clear, amber and candy coloured glass and sizes ranging from miniature 70ml up to one litre bottles. In effect, all bases are covered!

Decorating bottles for elderflower cordial

Elderflower cordial bottles look beautiful with their delicate, greeny yellow liquid – or even pink versions made with raspberries or strawberries and of course less tends to be more. However if you are giving away your home made cordial as a gift or producing it commercially, it’s worth putting some effort into the presentation. For a start, labelling is essential and on a commercial basis is a legal requirement and flowery and feminine is an ideal theme for this kind of delicate drink. You don’t need to be restricted to a sticky label – although Wares of Knutsford does offer a lovely variety of these. Consider instead tying a tag around the neck of the bottle with brown string, which makes it easy for people to re-use them afterwards. Add a sprig of fresh elderflower or some beads to the tie for a really pretty, romantic effect and to differentiate the real, home made efforts from shop bought versions.

Alternatively, use a glass pen to write label details directly onto the bottle for a very simple finish.

Make the gift look more substantial by including a couple of classic Picardie glasses for serving, with some twine wrapped around the bottle to hold a couple of straws. Customers buying the cordial might appreciate some recipes showing how they could use it in cooking or serving suggestions.

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Labels for Jars

labels for jars

While you’re stocking up on preserving equipment for this summer’s fruit season, don’t forget to add some jar labels to your basket. Adding a pretty label to your produce not only makes it look more professional, but avoids any mishaps when you forget what’s in a jar. If you are planning to sell any of your home made preserves, labelling is a legal requirement.

What you need to include on labels for jars

For commercial purposes, contact your local Trading Standards office to find out what their specific regulations are concerning labels for jars and bottles. Usually you will have to include the name of the product, e.g. ‘strawberry jam’, plus the weight in grams. Even if you know your produce was grown cleanly and greenly in your own garden, you cannot label it ‘organic’ unless you have been certified so officially.

You must also include any information relating to the irradiation or genetic modification of ingredients and note any additives used in production, such as colouring, antioxidants, preservatives, sweeteners or flavour enhancers. Remember that if you have bought ingredients containing any of these things, that will count on your ingredients list, so sulphur dioxide might have been used to preserve dried apricots, and you will need to include this in brackets on your ingredients list. You must also make sure the price of the jar is clearly stated.

Those are all legal requirements, but it is also recommended that you voluntarily include a note of allergens which may be in your preserve, a ‘best before’ date and any storage instructions. Providing your name and address is a good idea not only so that customers can let you know if they have a problem, but also so they can buy more of your delicious preserves!

Labels for jars just for friends

If you are just giving your preserves away you don’t need to worry about legal requirements, but everyone appreciates knowing that they are eating! An attractive label elevates your preserve to a special gift. You should include the name of the product, the date it was made and any storage instructions, but it’s also nice to include a personal message. Wares of Knutsford stocks a huge selection of self adhesive decorative labels, with designs including fruits and vegetables, graphic elements such as spots or stripes or funky, modern motifs such as a Union Jack or a royal crown. There are also labels specially designed for honey and chutneys.

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Jars for Sweets

jars for sweets

The sweet jars section at Wares of Knutsford is popular with adults and kids alike! Storing your chocolates and candies in jars not only looks attractive but the air tight environment will help to keep the food in its best condition. At Wares of Knutsford you can find stacking glass jars with coloured lids, square jars with cork lids or screw tops, plastic jars and the traditional spherical jars, which can be placed on their bottoms or tilted sideways for easy access.

These jars for sweets are also great for storing any dried goods and can also be used in a number of creative ways.

Laundry products in jars for sweets

There’s no way to really make doing the laundry attractive – wash, dry, fold, repeat… However you will no doubt feel better about doing this particular chore if you can make the surrounding environment attractive. If you are lucky enough to have a utility room or if you just use a cupboard in your kitchen,tart up your laundry products selection to give them a bit of style and grace. Just like foods, tablets and sachets of detergent can look great stored in sweet jars. The Bronte or Pot Club storage jars with glass ball topped lids are ideal for this project and achieve the almost impossible – making doing laundry look glamorous! Fabric conditioner can be decanted into an attractive bottle and, if you want to go really mad, you can do the same for all your cleaning products – just remember to label all the containers clearly!

Glowing jars for sweets

This is a really simple craft that creates marvellous impact and requires very little equipment. Simply get hold of some glow in the dark paint and, using a small paintbrush, make some polka dots over the inside of some sweet jars. When night falls, it will look as if you have collected a jar full of glow worms!

Party in a jar

This simple little birthday gift could make someone feel really special. Simply gather together the contents of a party and present them in a sweet jar. Think about including some balloons, a party hat, a couple of birthday candles, a party popper and a miniature cupcake or some sweeties. Stick a birthday badge to the lid of the jar and wrap some miniature bunting around the neck for a really cute and original gift. Le Parfait orange top jars are perfect for this project.

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Shredded Paper for Gift Boxes

shredded paper

The new packaging department at Wares of Knutsford was opened due to popular demand. Quite simply, our customers kept asking us for packaging items and we always like to oblige. Apart from a selection of boxes and bags designed to present bottles and jars, ribbons and hamper boxes, you will find fine shredded paper for hampers in four colours: brown, red, green and vanilla. These can be used to pad out the bottom of hamper boxes and gift bags and are coloured to co-ordinate with the range of packaging available on our site. However, we have found a number of other uses for our fine cut shredded paper.

Shredded paper for gift boxes

Using the fine cut shredded paper for hampers as it was intended, you can make pretty Easter baskets, Christmas hampers or presentation boxes for any kind of gift. Simply fill out the bottom of the box or basket with a comfortable bed of paper and lay the contents on top. Then wrap our box or hamper and decorate accordingly.

Making a sensory bin out of shredded paper for gift boxes

Research has proved that child development is encouraged by sensory play experiences. Use fine cut shredded paper to fill small boxes or larger bins and hide objects within it. As children ruffle their hands through the paper to discover the contents, they will develop their sensory skills. Alternatively you can provide them with tongs or other implement to pick up the paper, which develops fine motor skills. This could keep your children entertained for some time but in a nice atmosphere of industrious calm – for both you and them! You can then provide some clean, empty plastic bottle and their lids and ask children to fill the bottles with the shredded paper to really challenge those fine motor skills again.

You could get adventurous and fill a very large box with shredded paper and put your child inside to play in it for an interesting sensory variation on the ball pen!

Shredded paper craft

Similarly, our fine cut shredded paper is great for crafts. Provide children with some brightly coloured background sheets as canvas and some glue, and ask them to create snowmen, animals, flowers, landscapes and other shapes out of shredded paper. Fine motor skills will be practised again along with artistic interpretation.

If you also have a child who likes playing with pretend food items in a small kitchen of their own, use shredded paper to represent coleslaw, spaghetti or noodles, for example, thus avoiding the mess of the real thing!

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A Guide to Rhubarb

rhubarb

Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Or is it even a herb? No-one seems to be prepared to commit but it’s quite possible to go along with the theory that wonderful rhubarb is all three. In scientific terms, the large perennial herb rheum rhabarbarum produces vegetable stalks which we know as the fruit, rhubarb. A rhubarb guide ruling in a New York customs court in 1947 defined it as a fruit and certainly that’s how it is usually used.

Rhubarb’s popularity really took off in the 19th century, when new cultivation techniques were developed. As the price of sugar fell, it became easier to soften the tartness of its flesh and so consumption increased, peaking between the two world wars.

Forced rhubarb in the UK

From December to March, dark sheds are used to harvest an especially sweet and tender stalk by candlelight earlier in the year than is possible when growing in a field. This practice is particularly prevalent around Yorkshire but the effect can be recreated by the amateur gardener, using an upturned bucket or bin to exclude light from plants grown in the ground. As a result, fresh stalks are available for a large part of the year in the UK.

The part of the fruit we eat is the stalk, which comes in colours from a deep red through a spectrum which includes dappled light pink to pale green. Some varieties grow small and neat stalks while others can grow up to 1.5 metres long and as thick as an aubergine. It is most often stewed with sugar and used as a preserve and in pies and crumbles. However rhubarb has a long medicinal history as a laxative, starting in China nearly 3,000 years ago. At one time it was very expensive in Europe and was part of the valuable spice trade across Asia. Rhubarb guide lines say the leaves of the plant should not be eaten as they have a sour taste and contain harmful toxins.

Buying rhubarb

Look for firm, crisp stalks something like celery. If snapped they should release sap easily. The stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and freeze well after cooking. Chop into 2-3cm chunks and stew over a low heat with very little water and sugar to taste. Apple or orange juice also works well as a sweetener if you don’t want to use too much sugar. The resulting stew is excellent eaten simply with custard or as a jam, as topping on breakfast cereal or in all sorts of desserts.

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Jar Table Decorations

jar table decorations

At Wares of Knutsford we always love to hear about how customers are using our products, particularly the more creative and unusual ideas! We found that many customers were buying smaller bottles and jars for table decorations and to create their own wedding favours, in the interests of both originality and economy.

We’ve put together some of our favourite ideas from the ones we’ve heard to help you with inspiration to design your own wedding.

Decorating jar table decorations

The key to using jar table decorations is to add a touch of pretty. Wrapping a strip of lace around each jar is elegant and stylish, or you could wrap brown twine around each jar in a band then tie a thin ribbon on top for a modern rustic look. Collect favourite fabrics or wallpapers to use in the same way. Beaded wire also looks pretty and ethereal in candle light. You could also use glass paint in solid shades to match your colour scheme or to create motifs – using the bride and groom’s initials is a neat way to personalise and to tie in the colour scheme.

The same effect can be created by hanging a printed tag around the neck of each jar or bottle.

Another smart effect can be created by painting the bottom half of each jar with glue then dipping them into glitter of the appropriate colour. Another modern way to decorate would be to paint each jar in chalkboard paint and give each guest a stick of chalk to write their own messages for the happy couple on the bottles.

You can also make the decorations symbolic of some part of your lives by wrapping pages of text from favourite books around the jars and, if you like, cutting a motif such as a heart, star or flower shape out of each page.

Jar table decorations with a theme

To create a theme, there needs to be some coherence and consistency. There are ways to do this without looking repetitive. For example, use jars of all the same size and decorate them in the same way, then fill some of the jars with flowers, some with candles, some with sweets and some with straws or cutlery for the meal. Other jars can contain a variety of decorations on sticks – pompoms, numbers matching the date of the wedding or letters featuring the couple’s initials. The uniformity of decorating creates the theme but the variety of fillings creates interest.

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Wine Making Accessories

wine making accessories

Home brewing, like fishing or model making, is the kind of hobby that requires a fair amount of accessorising. This is one of the reasons that Wares of Knutsford felt it was a good idea to launch a specific home brewing department on our website, so that visitors can quickly and easily find all the wine making accessories they need in one place.

Wine making accessories for brewing

Making wine is quite a scientific process, requiring specific measuring and monitoring to ensure a professional result. Before beginning, you need to make sure all of your equipment is clean and sterilised, to avoid contamination with bacteria which can spoil your home brew. Kilner steriliser tablets are easy to use and are super concentrated so a little goes a long way.

A hydrometer and trial jar are used to take small samples during the brewing process to measure the specific gravity of the liquid, which means how dense it is. This allows you to test the alcohol content and ensure your wine is fermenting properly.

You’ll also need an air lock to allow carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process to escape, without allowing air to enter the vessel.

A siphon is used to transfer liquid between containers cleanly while avoiding contamination. Wares of Knutsford likes the Kilner siphon with a tap and sediment trap, while gives good control over the liquid flow.

You can also buy a mixing spoon, straining kits and thermometers in our home brewing department.

Wine making accessories for bottling

Jars and bottles are core products at Wares of Knutsford. You can buy standard 75cl wine bottles in the traditional shape in clear or green glass, and corks in bags of 12. If you’re looking for another way to present your wine, there’s a huge choice of different bottles available in lots of sizes and styles, including a five litre demijohn in green glass with a loop handle for easy transportation.

Complete kits for making wine

If you are new to home brewing, don’t feel daunted by the list of equipment you need and stories of fermenting vessels exploding and foul tasting, vinegary wines. An easy place to start is with a complete kit, so that you have all the equipment and ingredients you need along with a complete set of instructions. At Wares of Knutsford you can buy a Kilner Complete Starter Kit containing all your essential kit including a 25 litre fermentation bucket, plus two wine making kits: Make your own Cabernet Sauvignon and Make your own Pinot Grigio. These contain all the ingredients you need for delicious red and white wine.

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