Category Archives: Fabulous Recipes

Using pectin for jam making

Using pectin for jam making Both Pectin

Summer is almost upon us, which can only mean one thing – it is time to start thinking about all the lovely jams we are going to make this year. With strawberries ripening by the day and soft fruit growing ever plumper on the bushes in the fruit garden, now is the time to get out your maslin pan, stock up on jam jars, and come up with some creative and mouthwatering ideas for this year’s batch of jam. If you have had variable results with the consistency of your jam in the past, it might be down to the type of fruit you used. Read on to find out why different fruits always set better than others.

What exactly is pectin?

This mysterious substance is a natural gelling agent that occurs in fruits and gives jams their sticky consistency. Different fruits have different levels of pectin, which is why some jams seem to ‘set’ better than others. Apples, gooseberries, plums and citrus fruits such as lemons and limes are high in pectin, whilst strawberries, apricots, blueberries and raspberries have much lower levels. If you want to make jam using one of these fruits, you either need to add pectin or combine your fruit with another fruit to help it set properly. It is also worth bearing in mind that pectin levels decrease in very ripe fruit; therefore, it is worth trying to use fruit that is slightly under-ripe if possible.

How to use pectin for jam making

If you plan to make jam using fruit such as strawberries or raspberries, you will need to increase the pectin levels. Many recipes simply include a liberal splash of lemon juice to provide the necessary pectin; alternatively, you can buy pectin to add to your preserves, either as a liquid or a powder. Check out the home baking section in the supermarket or try a specialist store to see what is available.

You can even make your own pectin from tart apples. As apples are not necessarily in season at the same time as the fruits you want to make jam with, you can always make your pectin and freeze it ready to defrost when the time comes for jam making. Making it simply involves boiling chopped apples with water and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice for about 20 minutes, then straining and storing in sterilised jars. If you are freezing it, be sure to use plastic jars.

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Choices for chutney jars

Choices for chutney jars 

Salad with cabbage and beets. Home canning

Many people concentrate on jams and marmalade for their home preserves, sticking to tried and tested recipes for strawberry or raspberry jam or orange marmalade. In today’s post, we want to encourage our readers to consider some savoury preserves and take a look at chutney, with some ideas for delicious chutney recipes. We will also walk you through a few of our chutney and pickle jars to highlight the perfect jar for this type of preserving project.

Choosing your chutney jars

You can, of course, use any kind of jar for your chutneys and pickles, but they do look nicer when a specific chutney jar is used. Many chutney jars are slightly thinner and taller than standard jam jars, with a slight outward bulge just below the lid. We have no idea why it is traditional for chutney and pickle jars to be shaped in this way; however, it somehow makes sense to follow convention and use this type of jar. We have a range of chutney and pickle jars available, from the 212ml slimline jar to the larger 370ml jar. We also offer some jars with ‘chutney’ or ‘pickles’ printed on the front in a frosted effect, which are ideal if you plan to make chutney or pickles to give as gifts to friends and family.

What to put in those chutney jars? 

Onion pineapple chutney on rustic wood.

We have no doubt all ploughed through jars of chutney that were made to use up a glut of courgettes or green tomatoes. Whilst these might be some of the more common chutney recipes, there are quite a few other chutneys out there to whet your appetite. Why not have a go at this delicious apple and red onion chutney recipe?

Ingredients

500g red onion, finely chopped
500g apple, chopped
125g granulated sugar
150g brown sugar
300ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt

Method

1. Heat the oil in a pan and throw in the onion. Cook slowly until the onion is just soft.
2. Add all the other ingredients and bring the pan to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the apples have also softened.
3. Pour the chutney mixture into warm, sterilised jars and seal the jars immediately. Leave to cool, before labelling and storing in a cool, dark cupboard.
4. Once opened, this chutney should keep for up to one month if stored in the fridge.

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Recipe for Cumberland Pie in Pie Dishes

A recipe for cumberland pie

traditional cottage piein dishtraditional cottage pie in dish

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

Pie dishes to the rescue

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

Filling those pie dishes

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

Ingredients

2 celery sticks, diced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

800g diced braising beef

4 bay leaves

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tbsp tomato puree

30g strong cheddar

30g parmesan cheese

800g potato, sliced thickly

1 beef stock cube

1tbsp butter

1tbsp vegetable oil

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Recipe for Peach and Amaretto Jam for Kilner Jars

Baguette with peach jam served on a breakfast plate

Baguette with peach jam served on a breakfast plate

Recipe for peach and amaretto jam for Kilner Jars

All keen jam makers have their firm favourites when it comes to which preserves to make. We all love a good strawberry jam and an apple and blackberry jam is usually on everyone’s list of favourites; however, there is no denying that we also enjoy a new recipe – something that stirs our creative juices and gives us a fresh challenge. In today’s post, we will discuss an unusual jam recipe from Kilner, the firm behind the iconic clip top jam jars. Kilner’s recipe is heavenly and we have added a couple of ideas for a slight twist on the original recipe. If peach and amaretto sounds divine as a jam recipe, read on to find out more.

Get those Kilner jars ready

 Before you start your jam-making plans, ensure you have enough Kilner jars available. The recipe makes about 1.3kg of jam; therefore, three 500ml clip top jars should suffice. Make sure you thoroughly sterilise the jars before use.

Ingredients

1.3kg peaches

250ml water

2 lemons, juiced

1.3kg sugar

50ml amaretto

 Method

 Peel the peaches carefully or blanch them quickly to remove the skins. Set the skins aside.

 Remove the stones and chop the fruit into cubes. Boil the skins in a little water to soften them, then press them through a sieve onto the peach fruit. Simmer the fruit until it is quite soft.

 Add the sugar and lemon juice and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring continuously. When setting point is reached, remove from the heat and remove any scum from the jam.

 Leave to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the amaretto. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

 This jam is delicious served on toast for breakfast; alternatively, it can be used to add a fantastic twist to other dishes. Next time you make a bread and butter pudding, spread some of this jam on the slices of bread for a sensational sweet treat. It is also a super-tasty jam used in a jam sponge pudding and you could even spread it on sponge fingers in a classic trifle.

 More peachy ideas for Kilner jars

 If amaretto is not to your taste, you could always substitute another liqueur or spirit, such as brandy, vodka or even prosecco. For a non-alcoholic version, try using vanilla instead of amaretto. Another match made in heaven is peach and butterscotch jam, which is easy to make using a standard peach jam recipe and a drop or two of butterscotch essence.

 

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Marmalade recipe in Glass Jars

 Marmalade recipe in Glass Jars

With New Year just around the corner, it is time once again to start thinking about making marmalade. Often seen as jam’s rather upmarket cousin, marmalade has its own unique character and is somewhat under-appreciated in our view. There are plenty of standard marmalade recipes available online and in home preserves books, but we thought it would be fun to explore some more unusual recipe ideas for this year’s marmalade. One of the recipes we discovered was for orange prosecco marmalade. We love experimenting with home preserves, so we have adapted the recipe a little. Read on to learn how to make this delicious spin on a traditional breakfast treat.

 Glass food jars for marmalade

 Before you make your marmalade, consider what jars you will use. We recommend that you use small food jars for marmalade, as it tends not to get used up as quickly as jam. Our vintage glass jam jars and Bonne Maman-style jars are perfect; alternatively, if you want to create individual portions, some small food jars from our miniature range would be ideal.

 Filling those glass food jars

 Once you have decided on your jars, it is time to get on with making the marmalade. Here is our modified recipe:

 Ingredients

 4 large Seville oranges

1.2kg granulated sugar

juice of 1 lemon

1 glass prosecco

 Method

Place the whole oranges in a large pan with the lemon juice and two litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for two hours to soften the orange peel.

– Remove the softened oranges from the pan and allow to cool. Cut them in half and scoop out the flesh and pith, putting this into the pan of orange water. Bring to the boil for five minutes and strain thoroughly.

– Cut the orange peel into small shreds.

– Pour half the liquid into a preserving pan, along with the sugar, shredded peel and the prosecco.

– On a low heat, stir continuously until all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and stir continuously until the mixture reaches setting point (220°C). This should take about 25-30 minutes.

– Remove from the heat and skim off any surface scum. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into sterilised jars. If the shred has settled, stir gently to ensure all jars get an even mixture of marmalade and shredded peel. Seal, label and allow to cool completely before storing.

 This recipe should make four or five 1lb jars of marmalade – enough to make breakfast time a treat for quite some time!

 

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Creative recipes to serve in milk bottles

Creative recipes to serve in milk bottles

Organic cold-pressed raw vegetable juices in glass bottlesOrganic cold-pressed raw vegetable juices in glass bottles

Who remembers the days when milk was delivered to your door in glass bottles? We would hear the whirr of the electric milk float as it trundled along the street and the clink of the bottles as the milkman delivered to each house. On a cold winter’s morning, the milk would sometimes freeze, pushing off the foil cap. For most people, those days have long gone; however, milk bottles are having something of a renaissance and are this year’s must-have container for serving fancy drinks. Here we look at some ideas for using a glass milk bottle to serve delicious drinks.

Alcoholic drinks in milk bottles

With Christmas fast approaching, it is well and truly party season, which means it is time to think of some creative cocktails to offer your guests. Any cocktail will work brilliantly served in a glass milk bottle, but milk-based drinks look particularly fabulous served this way. Here is a recipe for a warming Christmas cocktail that will work perfectly in a couple of our 250ml bottles:

Coconut Christmas cocktail

Ingredients

100ml vodka

140ml coconut milk or cream

1tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp creme de cacao

½tsp grated nutmeg

Method

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a jug. Pop a couple of ice cubes into each milk bottle, then pour the cocktail mix over the ice cubes. Serve with a straw.

Non-alcoholic drinks in milk bottles

If a drop of the strong stuff is not for you, there are plenty of non-alcoholic creations that work brilliantly in these bottles. Why not make a delicious fruit smoothie in one of our one-litre bottles and store it in the fridge to drink throughout the day? Try a coconut and red berry smoothie; alternatively, for something a little more exotic, blend banana, avocado, fresh figs and pistachios with a little milk or water for a rich, slightly tropical taste.

For a more indulgent smoothie that is part drink, part dessert, try a chocolate banana smoothie. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup milk or coconut milk

1 banana

1tbsp cocoa powder

1tsp cinnamon

2tbsp honey

Method

Blend all the ingredients together to form a thick, smooth mixture. Pour into a 250ml milk bottle and chill in the fridge. Serve as soon as the mixture is fully chilled.

As you can see, these bottles can be used to serve all sorts of delicious drinks. For thick, creamy drinks, you can sip straight from the bottle; for other drinks, adding a straw is a nice touch. If you are making larger quantities, our one-litre bottles with screw-on lids are just the thing.

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Choosing and using food jars

Choosing and using food jars

It might sound strange, but the jar you use can be just as important as the recipe you follow when it comes to making the best impression in home preserves. From miniature jam jars for breakfast jams and marmalad

Jars of jam and basket with cherry on background.

es to chunky jars in iconic shapes, there really is a jar for every occasion. Whether you are making preserves to eat at home, creating homemade gifts or even entering competitions at the local village fair, choosing a quality food jar will really lift your finished product.

Food jars for gifts

Our deluxe range of food/jam jars includes jars in five different sizes. Combining stylish good looks with tough practicality, these jars are solid and reliable. In sizes from 110ml to 500ml, these jars can showcase all sorts of preserving delights. Use the small jars to create gift sets of mixed preserves, or fill a big 500ml jar with preserved lemons to create a fancy gift. Our vintage glass jam jars and Bonne Maman-style jars both exude a certain rustic charm and can turn a humble pot of jam into a chic gift when teamed with a cute gingham checked lid.

A quality food jar does not have to hold food. An elegant jar with a colourful red or blue checked lid can make an ideal container for a non-food gift. Making your own bath salts, for example, is a fun way to spend time doing something creative and the result makes a lovely, eco-friendly gift. Filling a jar with decorative stationery items, such as fun paper clips, erasers and other desk accessories, is a brilliant gift idea for anyone who loves old-fashioned stationery.

Food jars for specific preserves

For some reason, certain preserves seem to suit certain styles and shapes of jar more than others. Honey, for example, is very often put into hexagonal jars, perhaps because the hexagon shape mimics the honeycomb inside the bee’s hive. Our 106ml globe jam jars, on the other hand, are perfect for lemon curd. As lemon curd contains fresh eggs, it does not have such a long life as jam; therefore, a smaller jar size is a good idea. If you are creating an old-fashioned or traditional preserve, such as hedgerow jelly, you might want to use a very traditional-looking jam jar to continue the slightly vintage theme.

Whatever you want to put in your jars, we are sure to have the perfect jar for you here at Wares. Check out our extensive range today and get busy making those Christmas gifts.

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Swing top bottles for carbonated drinks

Swing top bottles for carbonated drinks

Homemade ginger ale

We all get a craving for a delicious, chilled fizzy drink now and again. Children especially love a ‘fizzy pop’ drink and it can be quite a challenge to steer them away from regular, processed fizzy drinks. Making your own carbonated drinks could be the answer, as you are in control of both the ingredients and the sugar content. By making up a batch of homemade fizzy drinks, you will have a thirst-quenching bottle of something tasty to hand whenever the mood takes you.

Glass bottles for carbonated drinks

Before we get down to some recipe ideas, it is important to consider the bottles you are going to use for your fizzy drinks. Our range of swing top bottles is perfect for fizzy drinks, providing a strong and lasting seal to keep all those bubbles locked in. The range covers bottles in all shapes and sizes, from 250ml individual sized bottles right up to one-litre bottles for larger quantities. Some of our favourites are the Kilner swing top bottles, which are available in a range of pastel colours.

Glass bottles for that nostalgic feeling

Apart from their functional qualities, swing top bottles really look the part and evoke a certain nostalgia for times gone by when traditional homemade sodas and pops were still available to buy locally. Traditional lemonades, dandelion and burdock and cream sodas were all tasty treats that every member of the family looked forward to. If you are planning a party, making a variety of old-fashioned carbonated drinks will provide a delightful touch for guests who do not want an alcoholic drink.

Homemade ginger ale

If all this talk of fizzy drinks has whetted your appetite for creating your own, why not have a go at this simple ginger ale recipe?

Ingredients

100g sugar
2 tbsp grated ginger
juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp baker’s yeast
2 litres cold mineral water

Method

1. Add all the ingredients to a two-litre plastic bottle and half fill with water. Screw on the cap and shake the bottle well to ensure the ingredients have mixed well. Add the rest of the water and shake again.

2. Transfer the mixture to glass bottles and seal. Store the drink in a warm place for two days to allow fermentation. After this time, move to the fridge to stop the fermentation process.

3. When you are ready to drink the ginger ale, open the bottle over the sink in case of excess fizziness!

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How to pickle onions

Two isolated bottles of freshly bottled home made pickled onions on white

How to Pickle Onions

For many home preserving enthusiasts who are keen to extend their efforts from jam making into something savoury, pickled onions are an easy first step. This British favourite is an essential part of the ploughman’s lunch and can be enjoyed with many savoury dishes, from fish and chips to a cheese and crackers supper. Whilst they are easy enough to source from the supermarket, nothing beats homemade pickled onions. If you get cracking now, your own pickled onions will be ready for Christmas.

Whilst you can use pre-mixed pickling spices to add to your vinegar, we prefer to mix our own fresh spices. Here is our simple recipe for tasty pickled onions:

Ingredients

500g pickling onions
25g salt
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
100g sugar
750ml malt vinegar

Method

1. Top and tail the pickled onions, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After 30 seconds, drain the onions in a colander and pour over lots of cold water. This will make it easy to remove the onion skins.

2. Once peeled, place the onions in a large bowl with the salt, cover the bowl and set it aside overnight.

3. After soaking overnight, rinse well in cold water and allow to dry.

4. Pack the onions tightly into sterilised glass pickle jars.

5. Place the spices, sugar and vinegar in a large pan and heat to allow the sugar to dissolve. Don’t allow the liquid to boil.

6. Pour the liquid over the onions, making sure each jar contains some spices.

7. Seal the jars and leave to cool before storing in a cool, dark cupboard.

The pickled onions will be ready in about two months. Once opened, always store the jar in the fridge.

Choosing your pickle jars

Whilst you can technically put your pickled onions in any size of jar you like, larger sizes of jars are most commonly used. Our 907ml pickles jar has the word ‘pickles’ etched on the front and makes a great homemade gift when filled with your own pickling endeavours. For a simpler look, the 720ml straight-sided jar is a good choice, as is the 500ml deluxe jar.

Extra-large pickle jars

If you plan on pickling onions on a larger scale, our half-gallon and one gallon-sized glass pickle jars are just what you need. These glass jars both have a traditional look, reminiscent of the large jars of pickled onions and pickled eggs you might see in a traditional British chippy.

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Making chutney for Christmas presents

Onion pineapple chutney on rustic wood.

Making Chutney for Christmas Presents

Giving homemade Christmas presents is a really nice thing to do, both for the giver and the recipient. In a world of easy consumerism, taking the time to create a homemade gift tells the recipient that you have really thought about the gift and have put effort into making it for them. If you have given jams and sweet preserves in the past and fancy trying something savoury this year, why not make a batch of chutneys?

Ideas for filling your chutney jars

Chutney can be made from either fruit or vegetables, or a mixture of the two, and is perfect for using up surplus produce from the garden. If you still have green tomatoes in the greenhouse, with no prospect of them ever ripening, why not turn them into delicious green tomato chutney? Since apple season is in full swing right now, a spiced apple chutney would be a great way to use some up and makes a tasty alternative to apple sauce served with roast pork or cold meats. Plum chutney is another firm favourite and is fabulous spiced with cinnamon.

Try chilli chutney for something that packs a bit of a punch – you can vary the type and quantity of chillies to get the right level of heat in your chutney. No Indian food is complete without mango chutney, of course, and this is surprisingly easy to make at home; in fact, chutney is so versatile that you can get a few jam jars out and simply experiment with all sorts of ingredients to come up with your own unique recipes.

Choosing the perfect chutney jars

Whilst traditional jam jars are perfectly fine for holding chutney, you might like to choose a fancier jar if you plan to give your chutney as a gift. Our traditional glass chutney jar actually has the word ‘chutney’ etched stylishly on the front; in addition, we have a matching ‘pickles’ jar in the same range. Team these together and present them in one of our two-jar gift boxes, set off with one of our vintage-inspired Father Christmas gift tags; alternatively, our hexagonal chutney jars make your chutney gifts look extra special.

Why not make two or three different chutneys and give a mixed set of three jars? Identified with our colourful chutney labels and placed in a presentation gift bag or box, these would look every inch as professional as a similar gift bought from a high street store but with the advantage of being entirely homemade.

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Toffee for Bonfire Night

Fudge candy, coffee beans and caramel on baking paper, served over white tablecloth with vintage knife, jar of brown sugar and old pan

Toffee in Glass Jars for Bonfire Night

With less than one month to go until Bonfire Night, many of you will be starting to think about this year’s bonfire party. In addition to organising the fireworks, building the bonfire and creating a spooky Guy to go on top, it is time to consider what you plan to serve to your party guests. Besides delicious hot dogs with onions, baked potatoes and spicy pulled pork rolls, your guests will no doubt be hoping for some sweet treats. Bonfire toffee is a firm favourite and no bonfire party would be complete without it. Here is a simple recipe for dark and sticky toffee that is just right for 5 November.

Ingredients

500g dark brown sugar
125gm black treacle
125gm golden syrup
130ml hot water
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Method

1. Line a large flat baking tray with baking parchment and grease thoroughly.

2. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat. Rather than stirring, gently swirl the pan around until the sugar has dissolved completely.

3. Add all the other ingredients and continue to heat, bringing to the boil. Again, don’t stir the mixture but keep it from sticking or burning by moving the pan.

4. Using a jam thermometer, measure the temperature of the mixture. Keep boiling until the temperature reaches 140°C.

5. As soon as the temperature is reached, pour the mixture into the baking tray.

6. Leave the toffee to cool and then remove it from the tray and break it up with a rolling pin. Store in an airtight container ready to serve.

Store your toffee in sweet jars

Once you have made your toffee, you need a suitable jar to store it in ready to hand around on Bonfire Night. Our glass jars are reminiscent of old-fashioned sweet shop jars and are just the ticket. As you will be outside in the dark, popping your toffee in a jar will mean it is easy to pass around to guests without getting dropped or knocked off the table. These jars are available in fun, contemporary colours and will look smart no matter what kind of sweets you store in them.

Plastic sweet jars

In addition to our range of glass jars, we stock a variety of plastic storage jars that look exactly like those sweet shop jars we all grew up with. They come in a range of sizes, with the largest a whopping 4,430ml – perfect to hold enough toffee for an army of excited guests!

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Soups in Kilner Jars

Soups in Kilner Jars

With autumn upon us and the leaves starting to turn on the trees, what could be more heartening than making some delicious homemade soups to store for the coming months? Canning a range of soups in preserving jars will set you up for many hearty lunches and cosy suppers, served with crusty homemade bread.

Jars of home canned food on a picnic table in autumn

How to can soup in Kilner jars

There are a few rules to consider when making soup to store in preserving jars. Don’t add any pasta, rice, noodles, cream or other dairy product, or any thickeners. These ingredients should only be added when you heat the soup, just prior to eating it.

Home-canned soup will always need to be pressure-canned to ensure that all bacteria are eliminated. A special pressure canner is needed for this; it is not enough to simply stand your Kilner jars in a pan of boiling water. Without proper pressure canning, you risk all sorts of bacteria remaining in the food and your soup may be spoiled when you open it, or may even give you food poisoning! Don’t be tempted to use a standard pressure cooker, as pressure canners are much bigger and reach much higher temperatures. Invest in a proper pressure canner, such as the Hawkins Bigboy or the Mirro pressure canner, to do the job properly.

Filling those Kilner jars

Rather than simply adapting a conventional soup recipe, it is better to follow a specific home-canning recipe. Here is our recipe for homemade spicy vegetable soup, which makes about seven pint jars.

Ingredients

2lb tomatoes, chopped and peeled
1.5lb diced potatoes
1.5lb chopped carrots

1lb chopped celery

1lb chopped onion

1lb diced swede
2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
3 cups water

 

1. Place the preserving jars in a pan of simmering water, ready for use. Wash the lids and bands and set aside.

2. Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan or crockpot and add the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

3. Use a slotted spoon to ladle vegetables into the jars, filling half way. Pour the liquid over the vegetables to ensure all jars get an equal mix. Leave one inch at the top of each jar. Screw the lids onto the preserving jars.

4. Process the jars in the pressure canner at 10lb pressure for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the canner to reach zero pressure. Wait for five minutes and then remove the canner lid. Leave the jars for 10 minutes to cool.

5. After 24 hours, check the jar lids to ensure a seal has formed.

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Autumn Recipes for Mason Jars

Autumn Recipes for Mason Jars

With the arrival of October, there is no escaping the fact that autumn has very definitely arrived. Some of us may have enjoyed a brief Indian summer over the last few weeks, but now the nights are rapidly drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. Far from hankering for the summer that has passed, it is now time to embrace autumn and all that it offers to the adventurous enthusiast of canning and preserves. It is easy to think that the end of the growing season means the end of the preserving season; however, nothing could Stencilsbe further from the truth and there are still plenty of possibilities for filling those empty preserving jars.

Preserving fruit in Mason jars

The start of autumn means the start of apple season. As with most fruit trees, apple trees typically produce such a quantity of fruit at one time that we often wonder what we can do with it all. Try canning apple sauce, adding cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice for some different flavours. Apple butter is another delicious idea and is the perfect sweet treat for the cold mornings to come. If you are an apple pie fan, fill a few jars with prepared apples for ready-made apple pie filling. Many people don’t realise that apples form the basis for traditional mincemeat but you could make your own mincemeat now and have 100% homemade mince pies at Christmas.

Preserving vegetables in Mason jars

Large preserving jars are perfect for canning large batches of vegetables to use up any end of summer gluts. It is possible to pickle most vegetables, with your imagination the only limit. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try pickled brussels sprouts spiced with garlic and chilli flakes. With Halloween looming, a pickled pumpkin recipe might be just the ticket to use up the carved-out pumpkin flesh. Flavoured with chillies, allspice, cinnamon and ginger, pickled pumpkin will keep for up to six months in sealed preserving jars.

There are so many other possibilities for pickling vegetables, such as marinated roasted peppers, pickled cauliflower, sauerkraut and pickled beetroot. These ideas are all simple to prepare and will provide a pantry full of hearty, warming food to use up through the winter months.

Preserved fruit and vegetables also make great gifts, of course, and provide a welcome change from jam or chutney. With Christmas on the horizon, now is a good time to start planning ahead to produce some unusual and tasty Christmas treats.

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How to make elderberry wine

How to make elderberry wineelderberry wine blog

Early autumn in the UK is when Mother Nature hands out many free gifts. From the ubiquitous blackberry to less commonly used fruits such as rowan berries, crab apples and rosehips, there is plenty available for the keen forager and home preserver. Elder is a plant that keeps on giving, producing elderflowers for cordial in the springtime and – if you didn’t strip the tree of flowers at that point – elderberries in early autumn. One of the most popular uses for elderberries is to make wine. Read our elderberry wine recipe below to discover just how easy it is to make.

Equipment needed for elderberry wine

To make any kind of homemade wine, there are a few pieces of equipment that you will need. These include a fermentation bucket, clean demijohns, airlocks with stoppers, a funnel, a siphon hose, sterilising tablets and, of course, some wine bottles and stoppers or corks.

It is vital for homemade wine that everything is cleaned and sterilised meticulously in advance. Start by cleaning any visible signs of dirt or dust from all the equipment. You can only sterilise effectively, once you have cleaned your equipment thoroughly. Campden tablets are used for the sterilisation stage and these are widely available.

Elderberry wine recipe

Once you have gathered the ripe elderberries, strip them off their stems using a fork. Rinse them to remove anything unwanted, weigh them and put them in a pan. Mash them up a little using a potato masher or a clean bottle, cover the berries with water and bring to the boil. Let them simmer for 20-30 minutes and then add sugar equal to the weight of the berries, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Allow to cool and then transfer the mixture to the sterilised fermenting bucket. Add additional water – around one gallon for every 3lb of fruit. Stir in a packet of red wine yeast, a pack of yeast nutrient and a small amount of lemon juice. Mix everything well and leave to ferment for one week.

When fermented, strain the berries and pour the juice into sterilised demijohns. Add airlocks and store in a warm, dark place.

Check the wine regularly. After about six weeks, rack it to remove the sediment and store again, this time somewhere cooler. Taste the wine at this stage; if necessary, add a little extra sugar.

After another couple of weeks, rack the wine into bottles and store. It should be ready to drink in six months but can be stored for much longer.

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Pickled Broccoli stems

Wicker basket with green vegetables, fruits and herbs, vintage dark wood background, selective focus

**Recipe** Pickled broccoli stems

Most fruits and vegetables can be preserved one way or another, with varying degrees of success. We are all used to the standard pickled gherkins, beetroot, red cabbage and onions, but have you ever considered pickling broccoli – or more specifically, pickling broccoli stems? You will be surprised by how tasty they can be, given that broccoli stems are usually discarded in favour of the flowery ends.

Pickled broccoli stems

Stems from one broccoli bunch, peeled
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons each of salt and sugar
1 teaspoon pickling spices
1 bay leaf
Zest and juice of half a lemon

Cut the peeled broccoli stems into 2cm chunks and blanch in a pot of boiling water – you should be able to pierce them with a fork after two or three minutes. Refresh in cold water and drain.

Add the vinegar, salt and sugar, pickling spices, bay leaf, lemon zest and juice to a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Pour the pickling mixture over the broccoli stems and allow to cool, then refrigerate for four hours. Serve with cold meats and cheese.

You will be surprised how much you can do with broccoli stems besides pickling them; for example, they are also delicious sliced and fried until golden around the edges in a little oil, then sprinkled with salt. Here are two more ideas:

Broccoli stem slaw

6 broccoli stems, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
1 Granny Smith apple
Half a cup of cornichons
One and a half cups mayonnaise
Quarter of a cup Dijon mustard
Quarter of a cup cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the broccoli stems, carrots, celery stalks, onion, apple and cornichons into thin strips, julienne style. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper and stir into the vegetables. Allow to sit for about an hour before serving.

Broccoli stem soup

4 potatoes and 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and sliced
One head of broccoli stems
Creme fraiche or soured cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes, carrots and onion in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the broccoli stems and continue to cook until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little before using a hand blender to whizz the mixture into a smooth puree. Swirl a dollop of crème fraiche or soured cream into each bowl when serving.

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How To Make Sloe Gin

How to make sloe gin

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

Sloe gin ingredients

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

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

Sloe gin method

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

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

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

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

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Fall fruits this early autumn

Fall fruits this early autumn

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

Fall fruits for jams and jellies

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

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

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

Fall fruits for drinks

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

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

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

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Everything you need to make jam

22Everything you need to make jam

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

Basic equipment for making jam

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

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

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

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

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

Accessories for making jam

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

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How to make plum wine

How to make plum wine

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

Our plum wine recipe

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

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

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

A more sophisticated plum wine recipe

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

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Introducing the perfect plum jam recipe

plums in the basketIntroducing the perfect plum jam recipe

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

Quick and easy plum jam recipe

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

A plum jam recipe with a difference

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

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

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

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

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

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