Bottles for Homemade Sauces

sauce bottles

Bottles for sauces are some of our core products and extremely popular. A bacon sandwich just isn’t the same without ketchup and you can’t have a cheese salad sandwich without salad cream, and both of these sauces are so much better homemade!

Sauce bottles at Wares of Knutsford

Our selection of bottles for sauces includes bottles specifically designed for certain sauces and others which are good all rounders.

Worcester sauce bottles, for example, come in 150ml and 300ml sizes, in that distinctive ‘Worcester’ shape. They are available in packs of six, 12, 24 and 36, and with black screw top lids, with or without sprinkler insert. There is also a salad cream bottle in 270ml with a deep, twist off lid in a choice of silver or red. These are sold singly or in packs of 12, 24 or 36.

There is also a choice of round, square and hexagonal shaped clear bottles in sizes from 60ml to 300ml, plus a squeezy plastic sauce bottle and cheeky squeezy plastic tomato shaped sauce bottle.

You can of course keep all your home made sauces for yourself, but they make great and thoughtful gifts for Christmas!

Recipes for sauce bottles

Salad cream

Whether you choose the salad cream bottle or one of our other sauce bottles, this home made salad cream recipe will be delicious in sandwiches and salads, both creamy and tangy.

  • Yolks of two hard boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons English mustard
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150ml olive oil
  • Salt and ground white pepper

Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and double cream to a food processor and whizz until the sauce begins to thicken. Keep whizzing as you gradually pour in the oil until the cream becomes a smooth emulsion. Add salt and ground white pepper to taste and pour into clean, sterilised bottles and seal.

BBQ sauce

You’ll never buy commercial barbecue sauce again after tasting the home made version!

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 55g soft dark brown sugar
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml tomato ketchup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Fry the onion, garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and sugar together gently for a few minutes then add the ketchup and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Season to taste then pour into clean, sterilised bottles for sauce and seal.

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Article by Jeanne Christie

What a good idea it was of Valerie’s at Wares of Knutsford to start a preserving magazine!  For someone like me, living in the Outer Hebrides where I have to ‘import’ much of my fruit for preserving, “The Good Life” was a rich dip into a wonderland of “hedgerows . . . rosehips, blackberries and elderberries”.  I was fascinated to read about preserving in wartime Britain; and coming across the story of Marguerite Patten travelling the country in a touring caravan and stopping passers-by made me want to pay a small personal tribute to that great lady, who passed away in June 2015 aged 99.

I didn’t know her, of course – her touring caravan probably didn’t make it to the Isle of Barra – and, oops, I wasn’t born then, either!  But several years ago another visionary lady, here in Barra, decided to encourage people to grow their own and become more self-sufficient, as people used to be on these islands.  Sarah MacLean started with “Island Markets” every six weeks or so and has now extended to a local producers’ shop, known as “Bùth Bharraigh”*, which just means in English, “The Barra Shop.” It’s part of a wider project called “Hebridean Living”.  It’s social enterprise at its best, creating jobs and opportunities for people in this small community.

Back in those early days of the island markets, my daughter suggested I make jam for them.  She can’t remember why, particularly, and neither can I.  But I knew nothing about making jam, and my early efforts were a bit hit-and-miss to say the least!  Then came my birthday, and my son presented me with a book, saying rather apologetically, “It’s probably a bit basic, mum.”

My goodness!  He couldn’t have done better.  The book was called, “The Basic Basics: Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook.   All you need to know to prepare and store over 200 of the world’s best preserves,” and it was by Marguerite Patten.  It’s been reprinted time after time.

For the modest sum of £7.99 I had my hands on a wealth of knowledge and experience generously shared.  I think I would say that the word “generous” sums up my experience of this book.   The whole range of preserving is there, from essential information (definitely read this before you start) to complex (to me, anyway) methods of preserving such as crystallized fruit.  I’ll get there one day (when I don’t have to make so many preserves for Bùth Bharraigh) but so far I have only begun to plumb the depths of the possibilities this book opens up.

Yes, I’m now the island’s main producer of preserves of different kinds and I run a limited company with my husband (though we haven’t had time to do a website yet!).  It’s all down to Marguerite Patten.  The only other incentivehad been a lady in a neighbouring island who used to make home-made preserves for sale, but I’d never have been able to follow in her footsteps had it not been for Marguerite Patten’s sound and kind advice.  I say, “kind” in the same way that I came to the word, “generous” earlier; her book is full of the plenitude of the hedgerow and of her own rich and full life in food preservation and cooking.  I’m indebted to her.  What an important heritage she has left.

I want to say before I finish this little piece that I’m also indebted to Edna and Colin Campbell, of Tollie Croft, Tollie of Brahan, Lochussie, near Inverness.  They go out of their way to ensure I have all that I need of fruits that we can’t grow easily in wild and windy Barra.  I am proud to be part of the tradition that makes the most of our hedgerows and our farms.  I am heartened every time I visit the garden project in Barra where adults with learning difficulties produce some of the fruit and vegetables I use.  In the tiny wood near the house I make sure I leave the centre of the prickly bramble bushes (!) for the birds in migratory passage here.

And last but not least  . . . I couldn’t do it without the help of Wares of Knutsford.  Other companies charge the earth to send jars to the islands – Wares of Knutsford charges the minimum, and Hebridean Preserves and Pastries Ltd can keep going.  Thank you, Valerie!

Jeanne Christie.

*Bùth Bharraigh has a Facebook page:

tel 01871 817948

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Homemade Gifts for Christmas

homemade christmas gifts

Now Halloween is out of the way, you’re probably starting to think seriously about Christmas gift ideas. Hopefully you’ll find plenty of inspiration from the Wares of Knutsford blog, where we try to provide lots of tips for gift ideas and wrapping all year round. We also firmly believe that home made gifts are best, particularly those with a seasonal flavour, so here are some ideas for homemade Christmas gifts.

Homemade Christmas gifts: Christmas chutney

Chutneys usually need a little time for the flavours to mature, so it’s best to get going this month. This also leaves you less to do next month, when things start to get really hectic! This tasty Christmas chutney works brilliantly with cold meats and cheese, and takes the monotony out of left over turkey sandwiches.

To make about 2.5kg:

  • 900g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 3 red peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped
  • 700g onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 300ml white wine or distilled malt vinegar
  • 350g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon each of salt, crushed coriander seeds and paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Put the tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, onions and garlic into a large heavy based saucepan over a high heat until bubbling. Cover, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for about an hour, stirring regularly. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring gently until the sugar completely dissolves. Keep boiling gently for about 30 minutes, until the chutney thickens and the liquid has reduced. You will need to stir the chutney regularly to prevent it catching the base of the pan.

Spoon the chutney into clean, sterilised jars while still warm and add a wax sealing disc to the top. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for a month before using.

Homemade Christmas gifts: Cranberry chutney

This is a very easy to make seasonal chutney.

  • 350g fresh cranberries
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, in strips

Heat the sugar with the red wine until completely dissolved and boiling. As the rest of the ingredients and return to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cranberries have burst. Use the same method as above to bottle up and store in the refrigerator.

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Globe Jars Wholesale

globe jars

Talented crafters should take a look at our wholesale conditions in the run up to Christmas – if you have large volumes to make, Wares of Knutsford can supply jars at wholesale prices.

Bulk buy globe jars

At Wares of Knutsford we like to think we offer the best and widest selection of jars on the internet. We know that our customers use our jars in many wondrous ways apart from food storage, including various clever crafts. This is a great way to create unique and budget friendly Christmas gifts and now is the time to start preparing for the holiday season. Stock up on jars of all sorts of shapes and sizes at wholesale prices, which are available for pallet sized quantities and for minimum orders of £450.00. If you are buying for commercial purposes or simply want to get together with friends to share a discount, wholesale prices offer welcome savings to individuals or businesses in the UK. You can make up a wholesale order of any particular product, such as clip top globe jars, or you can make up your order from a mixture of any of our products in box quantities.

Using globe jars for Christmas crafts

Globe shaped jars make wonderful modern snow globes. Create your snowy scene on the lid of the jar by gluing ornaments to the lid – a typical Christmas scene might include a fir tree, a reindeer, Father Christmas and a sack of gifts, for example. Leave the glue to dry for at least 24 hours to make sure your ornaments are secure on their base. Now turn your attention to the jar. Add a spoonful of white or silver glitter to the empty jar, then fill it almost to the top with distilled water and add about five drops of glycerin to the mixture. Screw on the lid and watch the ‘snow’ glitter fall on your winter scene!

You can also use the jars to make mega hot chocolate gifts – simply fill the jars about halfway with a mixture of good quality hot chocolate powder and finely grated dark chocolate. Lay two chocolate mint squares on top and fill the rest of the jar with mini marshmallows. Add a pretty label detailing how to make up the drink.

You can also make pretty winter luminaries out of jars – use a white glass pen to paint snowflakes or other winter motifs on the outside of the jars, then pour salt into the jars to about an inch up the side. Place a tealight onto the salt ‘snow’ and use to create a Christmassy atmosphere.

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Mason Christmas Pudding Basins

Christmas pudding basins

Like fine wine and Helen Mirren, Christmas pudding is one of those things that just gets better with age, so you need to think about making yours now to give it time to mature for Christmas. Traditional is usually best in this case, so go for a classic recipe, made in a proper Xmas pudding basin.

Christmas pudding basins at Wares of Knutsford

Mason Cash make the best pudding basins we’ve found, and we keep a range of different sizes in stock. They come in the traditional Christmas pudding basins shape, with sizes starting at 11.5cm and going on through 12.5cm, 14cm, 16cm, 17cm, 20cm and 22cm. If you make a lot of puddings, you can also buy a set of seven containing each size. The basins are glazed in white and feature a protruding rim to make tying a lid easy and hold it on through the steaming process, while the vented base allows for the release of air pockets during steaming. While designed for steaming, the bowls can also be used in a conventional oven and are microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

A basic recipe for your Christmas pudding basins

These quantities will make about 1.7 litres of Christmas pudding – adjust according to your basin size.

  • 150g each of currants, sultanas and chopped prunes
  • 175ml brandy, rum or sherry
  • 100g plain flour
  • 125g breadcrumbs
  • 150g suet
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Quarter teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of one lemon, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey

Soak the currants, sultanas and prunes in the alcohol in a large covered bowl overnight or for up to a week. When you are ready to use the fruit, mix in all the other pudding ingredients, stirring well to combine. Set a large pan of water to boil and butter your Xmas pudding basin. Scrape the pudding mix into your basins and make a vented lid from greaseproof paper. Wrap the whole lot in a layer of silver foil then put the bowls in your saucepan so that the water comes at least halfway up the side of the basin. Leave to steam for five hours, adding more water to the pan when the level drops. After cooking remove the basins from the pan carefully, remove the foil wrapping and store in a cool, dark spot until Christmas.

When you’re ready, re-wrap in foil and steam for another three hours, then turn out and serve garnished with a sprig of holly and with custard, cream or ice cream.

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Christmas Gift Packaging

Christmas gift packaging

Wares of Knutsford is hoping to make your Christmas gift planning easier this year, with a clever selection of Christmas gift packaging that’s ideal for awkward shapes.

Christmas gift packaging for jars

Home made food gifts are very trendy this year and are a great way to give gifts on a budget but with a really personal touch. However they can be really awkward to wrap. Fortunately Wares of Knutsford has the solution in the form of specially shaped boxes and bags for jars.

The range includes two and three jars boxes in small, medium and tall sizes. The boxes are made from sturdy card stock and arrive flat for easy storage and assembly at home, shaped to hold jars neatly in place and with display windows to show off the contents. They are available in natural and green colours. Co-ordinating shredded paper and jute ribbon are also available.

Along with the boxes, we also stock some handy jute bags specially designed to hold different sizes and shapes of jars. There are bags for two or three jars in small, medium and tall sizes, made from environmentally friendly natural hessian with clear plastic display windows. Each bag has an integrated carrying handle.

Christmas gift packaging hampers

If you want to put together a few small gifts rather than one large one, a hamper or gift box is the ideal way to create impact with your Xmas gift packaging. Our card trays are ideal for creating pretty hampers or gift boxes of food, cosmetics, toys, ornaments or other small objects. The trays are made from sturdy card stock and come flat packed so they can easily be stored at home and assembled when you need them. They are available in square and rectangular shapes, in shallow or deep sided formats and in small and medium sizes, in natural, olive green and burgundy colours. Simply lay a soft backing of shredded paper then arrange your gifts on top. Wrap the finished box in clear plastic and decorate with some ribbon. Fine cut shredded paper can be found in our packaging department in 1kg packs in red, brown, green and vanilla colours to co-ordinate perfectly with our card trays.

Christmas gift tags

Our packaging department also contains a selection of attractive seasonal gift tags to identify your wrapped gifts. This year for Christmas we have gone with the traditional seasonal motifs of Father Christmas, snowmen and robins, but there are also tags in plain white, wood and floral themes which could also co-ordinate well with your Christmas gift wrapping.

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Ideas for Christmas Decorations

handmade christmas decorations

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your house look like a spread in ‘Homes and Gardens’ this Christmas. A few clever handmade Christmas decorations will make your house look welcoming and festive but also stylish this Xmas.

Handmade Christmas decorations in jars

Seasonal luminaries in Mason style jars are some of the easiest but most effective Christmas decoration ideas. Use them to set your table, on the mantelpiece or windowsill or even in your porch or along your front path.

You will need:

  • Glass jars
  • Pine cones
  • Snow spray
  • Brown string
  • Epsom salts
  • Candle

Start by spraying your snow around the rim, neck and shoulders of the jars – where it would naturally lay if it were freshly fallen! Spray a little snow on your pine cones too at this point.

Use a glue gun around the neck of the jar and wrap the twine around it a few times, keeping the ends of the twine free. Use the glue gun again to glue the ends of the twine around the pine cones so they sit neatly at the top of the jar.

Pour some Epsom salts into the jar to about an inch deep, then use a pair of tongs to put a candle into the jar, on top of the salt ‘snow’.

Alternatively, apply a seasonal sticker to the outside of the jar – reindeer, Christmas tree, snowman etc. Spray glass paint all over the outside of the jar – white always looks good. Carefully peel the sticker off to leave a clear patch in silhouette. Wrap some brown twine around the jar neck and tie neatly in a bow. Pour an inch of Epsom salts into the bottom of the jar and place a candle on top.

Snow jar handmade Christmas decorations

Turn your jars upside down and create a miniature snowy forest.

You will need:

  • Glass jars
  • Small Christmas ornaments and fake fir tree pieces
  • Glitter
  • Epsom salts

Use a glue gun to stick your little fir trees, miniature snowmen, reindeer or other Christmas ornaments to the inside of your jar lids. Allow to dry completely.

Sprinkle a layer of silver glitter in the bottom of your jars, followed by a thicker layer of Epsom salts – about half an inch. Screw your ornamented jar lid on carefully, then tip the jar upside down so the ‘snow’ falls over the ornaments and then lays on the jar lid base as if it were freshly fallen.

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Jars for Cocktails

jars for cocktails

When we introduced drinking jars, we had no idea how popular they would become! However, it turns out that people love finding interesting new ways to serve drinks. This holiday season, use drinking jars for cocktails.

Jars for cocktails at Wares of Knutsford

There’s a great range of drinking jars available at Wares of Knutsford now, plus some cute accessories. The range starts with 400ml handled jars by Kilner in clear, blue, green and pink glass and available in packs of three, six and 12. You can buy flower lids to fit these jars separately, or buy a nine piece mug and straw set. You can also buy Mason drinking jars in two sizes: 450ml and 630ml, and in three varieties: without lids, with solid lids in gold or red gingham, or including silver lids with a hole cut for a straw. The jars can be bought in packs of six, 12, 24 or 48.

Handled drinking jars for cocktails make lovely Christmas gifts and are ideal for taking on picnics. All of our handled jars are made of quality, heavy duty glass but are not proven to be suitable for use with hot drinks.

Jars for cocktails at Christmas

These cocktails have been given a seasonal twist to scream Christmas and look wonderfully wintery served in handled jars rather than traditional cocktail glasses.

Cranberry Christmas cocktail

  • 200ml vodka
  • 200ml Cointreau
  • 600ml cranberry juice
  • 400ml orange juice

Mix all the ingredients together well in a large jug. Fill the cocktail jars halfway with crushed ice, then pour over the cocktail. Garnish the glasses with a couple of strips of lime peel.

Christmas Cosmo

  • 500ml vodka
  • 500ml ginger wine
  • 1 litre cranberry juice
  • 5 limes
  • Slices of stem ginger

Slice strips of the zest from the limes and extract the juice from the fruits. Mix the vodka, ginger wine and cranberry and lime juices together in a large jug. Serve garnished with stem ginger slices and strips of lime zest.

Christmas Pimms

  • 500ml Pimms
  • 500ml brandy
  • 1500ml apple juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 apple and 1 orange, sliced

Combine all the ingredients together in a jug and serve in cocktail jars half filled with ice cubes.

Non-alcoholic cranberry and orange spritzer

  • 500ml cranberry juice
  • 500ml orange juice
  • 400ml sparkling elderflower presse

Mix the cranberry and orange juices together in a large jug, then add the elderflower presse slowly so that it doesn’t fizz over. Serve over ice cubes in drinking jars.

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Large Glass Drinks Dispenser

glass drinks dispenser

Christmas is coming (had you noticed?), with lots of parties and gatherings. While these are great fun, being the host or hostess can be hard work! You’re always running around making sure everyone enjoying themselves and has drinks and something to eat. You can take one of those duties off your hands by making sure that guests can easily help themselves to drinks.

Of course you can simply leave a load of bottles out and make up a large sign saying ‘Help Yourself!’, but at Wares of Knutsford we believe in going for something a bit more elegant…

Glass drinks dispenser with tap

Among our new stock this year was an excitingly huge glass drinks dispenser with a tap. It holds seven litres, which is about two gallons and features a clip top lid for easy filling and cleaning and is a great way to serve drinks and cocktails prepared in advance. As soon as we saw it we knew this would be ideal for summer barbecues and parties all year round, and perfect for artisan producers and stall holders to serve their ciders, wines and ales at markets and events.

For Christmas events, fill it with seasonal punch and as a Christmas cocktail dispenser – just make sure you provide plenty of glasses, ice and little bowls with garnishing ingredients, if necessary. Here are a couple of Christmas cocktail ideas in large quantities to fit the dispenser!

Glass drinks dispenser Christmas punch

  • 2 litres orange juice
  • 350ml Benedictine liqueur
  • 500ml whisky or cognac
  • 750ml cranberry juice
  • 3 vanilla pods, seeded
  • 1 clementine, sliced horizontally
  • 3 litres sparkling water

Refrigerate all the ingredients before preparing. Mix the ingredients together in the cocktail dispenser only just before you’re ready to serve.

Glass drinks dispenser chocolate orange Christmas cocktail

Orange syrup:

  • 1.5kg golden caster sugar
  • Zest of 10 oranges, in strips

Start by making an orange syrup. Add the caster sugar to a large pan with 1.5 litres of water and the orange zest. Heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring to the boil and set aside to cool. Strain to remove the orange zest.

Chocolate orange Christmas cocktail:

  • 2 litres vodka
  • 2 litres crème de cacao
  • 800ml orange juice
  • 1.2 litres orange syrup

Add the vodka, crème de cacao, orange juice and syrup to the cocktail dispenser and stir well to combine. Make sure there’s plenty of ice available, plus glasses with rims dipped in grated dark chocolate!

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Things to Make from Mason Jars

mason jar crafts

We may be slightly obsessed with preserving here at Wares of Knutsford, but never let it be said that we lack imagination… As far as we are concerned, there is no limit to the amount of fun you can have with mason jar ideas!

Herb garden mason jar crafts

Mason jar herb gardens are as beautiful as they are useful. An old fashioned kitchen garden is great but when it’s pouring down with rain outside, most of us simply pop open the dried herb jar instead of going out with scissors to cut fresh herbs. Growing your herbs inside circumnavigates this llittle dilemma, and the prettiest way to do it is in mason jars. Fill a series of mason jars with some good potting compost mixed with a little perlite, then plant with your herbs – it’s fascinating watching the plants’ root growth through the glass. You can then group your herb jars together in a wooden tray, line them up on a shelf or make a hanging herb garden by nailing metal jubilee clips to a length of wooden board on the wall and fastening the jars within the jubilee clip loops.

Mason jar lamp base

This mason jar craft idea requires drilling a hole in glass so some equipment and skill is required, but the results are great! Glass lamp bases are very popular right now and you can make your own unique version with a mason jar. The first step is to (very carefully!) drill a hole in the wall of the jar, at the bottom for lighting cable to pass through. Fix a light fitting into the neck of the jar and pass the cable through and out of the hole you have drilled, then fit to a plug. Fit a lampshade and a bulb onto your light fitting.

Xmas mason jar crafts

There are all sorts of mason jar crafts you can do to make unique and budget friendly Christmas decorations. Start with a table centrepiece for Xmas dinner: use a glue gun to place a strip of glue around the neck of a mason jar. Wrap a piece or brown twine a few times around the neck of the jar and use the twine and the glue to fix a Christmas decoration of your choice to the jar – a piece of fir tree with holly berries is always cute. Once the glue has dried, pour some salt into the jar to fill about an inch up from the base, then place a candle onto your salt ‘snow’.

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How to Make Jam Jar Puddings

jam jar puddings

Instead of finishing with heavy cake or Christmas pudding, lighten up Xmas dinner this year with fruity jam jar puddings. To make your life a bit easier you can also prepare these in advance!

Strawberry and basil lemonade sorbet jam jar puddings

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Handful fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

Add the sugar and basil to a saucepan with the water. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved completely, then set aside to cool. Remove the basil leaves from the sugar syrup then add to a blender with the strawberries and the lemon zest and juice. Whizz for a few minutes until the mixture is nice and smooth. Pour the mixture into jars, cover with some clingfilm or foil and freeze for 30 minutes. Stir the sorbet with a fork then cover again and return to the freezer for another 90 minutes. Stir the mixture with a fork again, then put the lids on the jars and leave in the freezer until ready to serve. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Trifle jam jar puddings

Jars are the perfect way to serve trifle, so you can see the beautiful layers of the desert though the glass!

Create the first layer of trifle with a few spoonfuls of raspberry jam mixed with some broken up sponge cake – cupcakes, madeleines or any kind of sponge works well here. Add a layer of custard and top with a layer of vanilla whipped cream. Put the lid on the jars and refrigerate, then crumble some almond biscotti on to the cream to serve.

Strawberry shortcake jam jar puddings

Another layered dessert shown off to advantage in jars. Break up some shortbread biscuits and put in the bottom of jars as the first layer. Whisk mascarpone cheese with some icing sugar and a couple of drops of vanilla extract, and add a dollop to each jar on top of the shortbread. Add a layer of strawberry jam and refrigerate. Serve topped with a couple of fresh strawberries and a couple of fresh mint leaves.

Chocolate orange jam jar pudding

Break up some chocolate covered oat digestives and use to make the first layer in your jars. Whisk up some mascarpone cheese with melted dark chocolate and some single cream and add a dollop to each jar on top of the biscuits. Add some peeled mandarin segment and top with grated chocolate. Refrigerate and serve garnished with a sprig of fresh basil.

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How to Make Ships in Bottles

ships in bottles

Sailors used to make ships in bottles as an onboard hobby, where they didn’t have much room for other occupations or money to buy gifts for loved ones at home. The process has become a mysterious art and you can find some absolutely fabulous creations. However you can also build your own ship in a bottle, either for your own pleasure or to give as a gift.

Build your own ships in bottles

If you are really crafty, you can build your ship from scratch from craft wood – but this is not a task for the faint hearted! You will need to be very deft with tiny pieces of equipment and have plenty of time on your hands. On the other hand, if you have the skills and the patience, the result will be incredibly rewarding! You can also find online tutorials detailing how to create a bottle ship from paper. For most people, however, a ship in a kit is the way to go.

Make ships in bottles from kits

You can find bottle ship building kits online and in craft shops. Essentially you construct the ship and attach the sails, which are on hinges and can be folded down. You can then slide the ship into the bottle and pull a string to raise the sails remotely. Instructions vary but your kit should contain light wood cut to shape to construct a hull, dowels to make masts, crossbeams and a bowsprit, sail hinges, some material to make sails and lots of thread to control them. You will need decent glue to hold it all together, a sharp craft knife, tweezers and a small paintbrush.

You also need to find a pretty bottle for the ship and decorate it appropriately.

Decorating a ship bottle

On a basic level, you can paint ‘water’ in blue on the bottom of your bottle. You can then go further and set a scene, if you like. Start by covering your blue paint ‘water’ with some clear glue, then use a long, thin dowel to push items in place through the neck of the bottle. You can use a sand, rocks and miniature anchors to create a shipwreck effect – ideal if your shipbuilding efforts haven’t gone smoothly as you can say the ship is meant to look a bit battered! You can also look at adding fish and other sea creatures to the bottle or, if you’re really clever, a little jetty alongside the ship.

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Bottles for Home made Liqueurs and Vodkas

liqueur bottles

If you’re trying to come up with some budget friendly but stylish gift solutions for this Christmas, home made is the way to go. Jams and preserves, cosmetics and aromatherapy and home brewed drinks make creative and personal gifts, but you have to pay some attention to presentation. Clever and attractive packaging makes home made items look professional and desirable, and allows people to really appreciate the effort you have put in. At Wares of Knutsford we have your presentation requirements covered, as experts in bottles and jars for preserves and cosmetics, liqueur bottles and even a smart packaging department to help you with your wrapping.

Flask style liqueur bottles

Among our massive range of bottles you’ll find some cute flask style bottles, which are great for liqueurs, schnapps and sloe gin. The traditional shape of a flask looks bang up to date in clear glass and these are some of our most popular bottles for liqueurs. Remember that buying in bulk offers economies of scale, so bigger packs wok out more economical, while our flat postage rate means you can order as much as you like without paying ny more for postage.

There are a couple of options in 200ml size. The original flask/liqueur bottle comes with black Bakelite screw caps and can be bought in packs of six, 18 and 36. It is made from high quality clear glass with pretty, gently curving sides.

Alternatively, you can choose the more modern looking, straight sided 200ml glass flask, with a choice of caps in black Bakelite, aluminium EPE lined, white unlined and black polyconed. This flask is also available in packs of six, 18 and 36.

Sloe gin liqueur bottles

This traditional style sloe gin bottle comes in 500ml size in clear glass with a ceramic swing top. It is sold singly. There is also a smaller, 250ml size Kilner clip top sloe gin bottle, printed with the brand’s logo.

Blackberry whisky liqueur recipe

This is a great winter warmer with a beautiful, rich colour showed off to perfection in a clear glass flask.

  • 450g blackberries
  • 675g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons glycerine
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Whisky

Add the fruit, sugar and spices to a large glass jar then use a wooden spoon to squish them about a bit and mix the flavours together. Add the glycerine and fill the jar to the top with whisky. Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark place to infuse, giving it a gentle shake occasionally. Two or three months later, strain the liquid and decant into flasks.

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Buy Bottles for Crafts

bottles for crafts

At Wares of Knutsford we pride ourselves upon the quality and range of equipment we offer for the kitchen and cooking, but we’re also delighted to discover that many of you use our products not just for your cooking endeavours, but also as jars and bottles for crafts. We hope you don’t mind if we share your ideas with others – some of these will make great Christmas present ideas!

Wine bottles for crafts

There are endless ways to craft bottles, but in many cases some glass cutting is involved – there are lots of different ways to do this and you will find the way that suits you best with some practise. Just make sure you perform glass cutting safely!

Bottle pendant lamps

You’ll need: bottles, light fittings, glass glue, glass pebbles.

This easy craft requires a clean cut across the bottom of your bottles. Carefully sand down and sharp edges and all over the outside of the bottle to help adhesion – use a mask to make sure you don’t breathe in any glass dust while doing this. Next, thread the cord of a light fitting up through the bottom of the bottle and out through the neck so that the fitting sits neatly below the neck. Use a wooden dowel to fix the cord in place in the neck of the bottle. Now comes the interesting and creative part! Use glass glue to cover your bottles with glass pebbles. You can variate different colours of pebble to create whimsical effects. Once the bottles are covered and the glue is dry, hanf your pendants where you want to shine some ambient light! These look particularly good hanging in groups of three.

Soap bottles for crafts

Washing liquid and hand soap are necessary evils, but it doesn’t make sense to spend ages creating a beautiful and stylish kitchen or bathroom and then leave ugly plastic soap and detergent bottles around. However you can make these very functional items look decorative by the very simple method of decanting them into pretty bottles. The designer bottles selection at Wares of Knutsford has plenty of elegant and pretty options which look great next to a kitchen and bathroom sink while keeping your soaps and cleaning fluids handy. You can keep screw or cork tops on the bottles or replace them with practical pump or pour tops for easy use.

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Where to Buy Sweet Jars

sweet jars

As Christmas approaches it’s easy to run out of inspiration for Xmas gift shopping. Wares of Knutsford can come to your rescue with plenty of great gift ideas!

Buy sweet jars and fill them with old favourites

One of the simplest but most appreciated gifts this season, a jar full of sweets will be welcomed by anyone – adults or children, friends and family, co-workers, your child’s teacher, your postman, in fact by everyone except maybe people on a diet!

It helps to know if the recipient has a favourite sweet, in which case you go for a whole jar of sherbet lemons or rhubarb and custards or cola cubes whatever is appropriate. However you can also make up mixtures of your own!

Buy sweet jars of all sorts of sizes at Wares of Knutsford, including traditional large glass jars and more modern angled jars. Once the sweets have all been eaten, the jars can be re-used in all sorts of ways!

Sweet jars but not sweets!

If you are buying for people who are a bit health conscious, who are trying to cut down on sugar or who simply don’t like sweets (do such people really exist?!), you can still buy sweet shop style jars to make amazing personal gifts. There are few women out there who won’t appreciate a little pamper package – simply fill a sweet jar with miniature bottles of bath bubbles, body lotion and foot scrub, then add a sachet of face mask, a pair of exfoliating gloves, a nail file and a nail polish. Try and buy pampering treats in co-ordinating colours and complementary scents for a professional looking package, and make sure you add a label and a ribbon. This works as well for men as for women – just change the contents around a little bit to include a smart razor, exotic shaving oil and miniature aftershave samples, a grooming kit and men’s facial scrub and moisturiser.

You can also make jars designed for children – it’s only fair to add a few sweeties, but bulk out the package with plenty of colouring crayons, lego pieces, marbles, small toy figures, socks, a party horn and a bubble blower!

You can construct a sweet jar for crafters to include items such as ink pads, glitter tape, chalk markers, letter stamps, beads, a tape runner, needles, threads, and a roll of twine. A similar idea themed around sewing could include needles and threads, a cute thimble, a pin cushion, scissors and a tape measure, for example.

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Packaging for Hampers and Gifts

gift packaging

Here at Wares of Knutsford, we know how difficult it can be to package and wrap jars, bottles and other awkward shapes neatly. With Christmas coming up, take the stress out of wrapping awkward shapes – our packaging department was created specifically to help you present jars and bottles attractively.

Box gift packaging

We have sourced the perfect range of gift boxes for jars! The range includes boxes for two or three jars in small, medium and tall sizes. The boxes are made of sturdy card and are delivered flat for easy assembly when you need them. Features include display windows and integrated carrying handles. Choose from natural and green coloured boxes.

Bag gift packaging

If the boxes aren’t quite what you’re looking for, our gift packaging department also includes a range of jute bags designed to hold two or three jars in extra small, small, medium and tall sizes. The bags are made of environmentally friendly natural hessian with clear plastic display windows and an integrated carrying handle.

Hamper packaging

If you want to create a hamper as a gift, take a look at our card trays in natural, olive and burgundy colours. The sturdy card trays are delivered flat and can be easily constructed when you need them. Square or rectangular trays are available in small, medium and large sizes. Creating your own hamper is a wonderful way to make a personal gift. Hampers look and feel wonderfully luxurious and can contain almost any item you think appropriate – cosmetics, perfumes and soaps, food products, toys, jewellery etc.

Hamper packaging filling material

To fill your hamper tray neatly, you can use fine cut shredded paper. This makes a base to cradle the products assembled in your hamper and display them to advantage. We supply fine cut shred in 1kg packs in vanilla, tea green, deep red and brown.

Gift ribbons, labels and tags

Make sure you always label your gifts – there’s no point coming up with the perfect present for someone if they then don’t know who it’s from! For Christmas we have added a number of gift tags to our packaging department, including designs in traditional seasonal motifs such as snowmen, Father Christmases and robins plus more whimsical options which can be used all year round – hearts, butterflies, rabbits, birds, floral designs and tartan Scottie dogs!

You may also want to consider decorating your box, bag or hamper tray with some ribbon. Our packaging department contains pastel ribbons, patterned ribbons and jute ribbons in natural and green colourways to tone with our boxes, bags and trays.

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Floral Jar Covers

floral jar covers

At Wares of Knutsford we like to believe we have covered every aspect of your preserving needs. Our ranges include preserving equipment, jars and jar decorations. Choose from a massive range of jar labels, then embellish with ribbons, tags and covers. The covers can be used with jams and marmalades, chutneys and pickles, curds and jellies or any other preserves. The covers traditionally go on top of waxed discs but can also be used to cover screw tops. They also make an attractive decoration if you are using jars to present other kinds of gifts, such as jar pamper packs or ingredients kits.

These are simple items which in theory you can easily make yourself, but we have been careful to make them so affordable and attractive that there’s really no good reason to do so!

Floral jar covers and ribbons

A ribbon tied around the neck of a jar is an incredibly simple but effective way of turning it from a basic food product into a pretty and personal gift. Our range includes a set of patterned jute ribbons and a set of pastel ribbons in assorted colours and widths. If you want to take the decorations a little further, add a pretty fabric jar cover. Our range features fruity and floral jar covers or bright spotty, gingham or graphic covers.

We also offer a pack of assorted pattern paper covers to fit jars in 1lb and 2lb sizes, including elastic bands. If you’re going for a more minimalist look, there are packs of transparent paper covers in 1lb and 2lb jar sizes, with waxed discs and rubber bands included.

In the same department you will find packs of waxed discs – 200 discs in 1lb and 2lb jar sizes.

Floral jar covers sets

Our floral jar cover sets start with a basic set of five assorted fabric covers in delicate floral designs. We then move up to more complete sets including eight fabric covers – two each of four designs – plus co-ordinating ribbons and elastic bands. The covers are 16cm and will fit 1lb and 2lb jars. These sets come in floral, fruity, gingham, jazzy and spotty designs.

There are also two preserving accessories kits including 24 jar covers in four different designs with co-ordinating self-adhesive labels, waxed discs and plastic circles and elastic securing bands. The set is suitable for jars up to 1lb or 454ml size. Two different sets are available, in fruit and vegetable or country designs.

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Kilner Jars and Storage Jars

Kilner jars

Kilner is one of the best known names in the preserving world. Kilner storage jars are used to house all sorts of gear in and out of the kitchen, from preserves and dried goods to toys, crafting tools and cosmetic accessories.

The history of Kilner jars

The Kilner jars are named after their creator, John Kilner. He began making glass jars and bottles in the 1840s at a factory in Dewsbury and the famous Kilner jar was invented a few decades later. John Kilner was succeeded by his sons and grandsons. The design became incredibly popular thanks to its efficiency in preserving. In 1937 the business was sold out of family hands when the patent for the design was bought by the United Glass Bottle Company. In 2000, Rayware bought the Kilner brand and continues to develop it with new designs, while maintaining the original Kilner jar design. These days the Kilner name is well known internationally.

Kilner jars at Wares of Knutsford

At Wares of Knutsford we are pleased to stock a number of interesting items from the Kilner brand. Along with the traditional preserving jars, we also stock storage jars, coloured bottles and jars, home brewing kits, drinkswares and various kitchen accessories. Kilner kitchen equipment is not only extremely efficient but also wonderfully stylish, helping to create a traditional atmosphere in rustic or classic style kitchens. You can also buy spare metal discs for Kilner preserving jars and flower lids for drinking jars.

Clear glass preserving jars start at 250ml, going up to 500ml and 1 litre. Coloured clip top jars come in pink, blue and green and in 500ml and 1 litre sizes. Swing top bottles are available in the same colours in 250ml and 1 litre sizes, while you can also buy clear, pink, blue and green glass handled drinking jars . These add a modern touch to a traditional design.

Kilner storage jars in clear glass with knobstopper lids are available in 650ml, 1 litre, 1.5 litre, 2 litre and 2.35 litre sizes or as a five jar set.

In the home brewing department you will find complete Kilner sets for making lager, bitter and cider. The kits include all the ingredients and equipment you need to make your own delicious brews, simply add water. You can also buy ‘Make Your Own’ kits, with all the ingredients for red and white wines, cider, lager and bitter. You can buy all the equipment you need separately or in a complete starter kit.

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Labels to Decorate Jam Jars

decoration jars and bottles

It’s a busy time of year in the world of jars. Many of our customers are busy making chutneys or autumn fruit preserves, and others are getting organised for Christmas, preparing home made gifts of all sorts in jars and bottles.

Ideas for decoration jars and bottles

Whatever you are putting in your jars and bottles, it’s important to label them correctly – without label decoration jars and bottles could easily end up being given to the wrong person… That’s fine if it means your ancient aunt accidentally gets a jar of sweets but not so great if your four year old niece receives a bottle of your finest home made vodka for Christmas! Labelling helps both yo and the gift recipient to identify the contents and to understand how to use them. Remember to label jars and bottles with not only the contents but als any other relevant information such as a use by date, storage instructions or an ingredients list.

So take a look around Wares of Knutsford’s labels and tags department. You’ll find a massive range of self adhesive labels with motifs ranging from fruit and vegetables to modern graphic prints, plus special herb and spice labels. There are also special labels for honey. The ‘Words of Art’ range of labels for jars is particularly popular, printed with original watercolours by mother and daughter artist team Rosemary and Caroline Wagstaff.

If you are presenting jars or bottles as gifts you should also consider decorating them with ribbons or tags. We have some exciting new additions to our labels and tags department n the form of a range of gift tags made from paper or wood. There are seasonal designs and options suitable for birthdays and other occasions. The stylish white silhouette cut tags are particularly elegant, and available in heart, butterfly and birdcage motifs. There is also a range of floral, owl, rabbit, bird and graphic tags – these look particularly smart with brown paper and twine wrapping. Don’t miss too the wooden ‘With Love’ tags and the cute Scottie dog gift tags!

Christmas decoration jars and bottles

This year we have some very traditional Christmas motifs on gift tags – think robins, snowmen and Father Christmas, to go with patterned or plain wrapping paper, gift boxes or to hang prettily from jars and bottles. The labels work so well with the jar boxes and bags from our packaging department and our card hamper trays.

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How to Make Cider

how to make cider

Change things up a bit this winter with some homemade cider – a modern alternative to brewing your own wine or liqueurs and great for mulled cider over Christmas! You’ll find plenty of “how to make cider” recipes online but the easiest way to do it is with a Kilner Complete Cider Set, which contains all the equipment and ingredients you need – just add water!

How to make cider with the Kilner Complete Cider Set

The first step is to clean and sterilise all your equipment to rid it of any nasty bacteria which could ruin your home brewed cider recipes. To begin brewing your cider, add five litres of hot water – not boiling – to your fermentation bucket with the concentrate provided. Top up with hot and cold water to make a final mixture of 20 litres at a temperature of 20-25C, using the Kilner stirring spoon to make sure the ingredients are well combined.

You can then stir in sachet one, the cider yeast sweetener and you’re ready to measure the starting gravity of your cider – a hydrometer and trial jar are provided. Next the mixture is left to ferment in a safe place at a temperature of 18-24C. Try not to open the lid of your fermentation bucket during this period, which should last at least eight days. When the hydrometer records a reading of 1,000 or lower and has been stable for a couple of days, siphon off the mixture to a fresh fermentation bucket to separate the cider from the sediment in the first bucket. You are now ready to bottle your cider, adding sugar to build gas as directed. This secondary fermentation process takes about a week, after which you should move your cider and store it in a cool spot. After about another week, the cider should be completely clear and will be ready to drink!

How to make cider – the equipment list

The Kilner Complete Cider Set contains all you need, including the ingredients for 35 pints of cider. Also in the box are 100g of steriliser, a trial jar, a hydrometer, a thermometer, a bottle brush and mixing spoon, a siphon, a 25 litre fermentation bucket and 50 crown caps with a knock on bottle capper. You can choose some bottles for your cider at Wares of Knutsford or re-use old bottles – just make sure you clean and sterilise them very thoroughly!

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