Category Archives: Helpful Tips

How to store food in glass jars

How to store food in glass jars

Collection of grain products, lentils, peas, soybeans and red beans in storage jars over on kitchen rural table. Vegetarian products.

Not a week goes by without the media telling us about how much plastic there is in the world, most of which seems to be heading straight to landfill and ultimately polluting our rivers and seas. If you are conscious of your own plastic consumption and would like to reduce the amount you use, why not make the decision to switch to glass jars for storing food at home? In today’s blog post, we take a look at the best jars to use for general-purpose food storage.

Ditch those plastic jars – swap them for glass jars!

If your fridge and larder are full of plastic jars with lids of every colour and you would like to switch to a more sustainable alternative, glass jars are the answer. Start by storing leftover food in clip top jars, ready to take to work for lunch the next day. If you despair at the number of yoghurt pots your family gets through every week, why not try making your own natural yoghurt, storing it in individual glass jars ready to serve at breakfast or to take to work with you? Once you’ve got the hang of making your own yoghurt, you will be thinking up exciting new flavours in no time at all and will see your plastic use plummet at the same time.

Another great eco-friendly tip is to keep a close eye on all your fresh produce. If it appears that anything might go off before you get a chance to use it, make something with it and store it in a glass jar. Turn tomatoes into chutney, cauliflower into piccalilli, and use up your mushrooms by pickling them with garlic and herbs. The same goes for fruit – you can easily preserve apples, lemons, oranges and pineapples; in fact, you can preserve pretty much any fruit.

Plastic jars still have their uses

Whilst switching to glass jars is a great idea, plastic jars with lids still have their uses, especially in situations in which breakages are likely. If you want to make yoghurts, granola or potted salads for your children to take to school as a packed lunch, for example, plastic jars might be a better option than glass ones. If you are heading to the beach for an end-of-summer picnic, plastic containers may well be better suited, as the chances are high that at least one will be dropped as you make your way over that shingle beach!

If you have some great storage tips using glass jars, be sure to let us know via Twitter or Facebook and we will share the best suggestions.

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The history of jam making

The history of jam making 

various jars of fruit jam on wooden table

Around the world, people have loved jam for a very long time indeed. From the fabulous British traditions of scones with jam and cream to the American peanut butter and ‘jelly’, as they call it, and the exotic coconut jams of south-east Asia, we simply can’t get enough of this sweet treat. In today’s post, we look back at some early jams and their uses to see just how far home preserving has come.

The origins of jam making

Back in Roman times, making jam largely involved preserving fruits in honey rather than sugar. These preserved fruits were often served at the end of a meal as something of a delicacy. It was not until the Crusades, during the 11th century, that sugar was brought back to western Europe; from this point, making jam became much more like the activity we know and love today. It also became much more popular. It is said that Joan of Arc ate quince jam to give her courage before heading off into battle. During the great era of seafaring exploration and trade, sailors would take huge supplies of jam with them on voyages, as they had made the link between vitamin C deficiency and scurvy.

Using jam to prevent scurvy was not the only instance of the sticky stuff being viewed as a kind of medicine in earlier times. Mary, Queen of Scots, for example, ate jam as a cure for seasickness and a variety of assorted ailments.

It is hard to believe that Marie Curie had much spare time during her pioneering research into radioactivity; however, it is said that she was an avid jam maker when she did take time out.

The Women’s Institute, of course, has a long tradition of making jam; in fact, the WI was even awarded a government grant of £1,400 to purchase sugar for making jam to help with food shortages during the second world war. Literally thousands of tonnes of fruit were used to make jam, which could then be used over a longer period than if the fruit was not preserved.

Jam making in the 21st century

Towards the end of the 20th century, home preserving had, to some extent, waned a little in popularity, with people won over by the choice and ease offered by supermarket shopping. This has changed in recent years and jam making is now more popular than ever, with cooks and foodies once again discovering the simple pleasures of creating their own jams and preserves.

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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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The kitchen

The kitchen

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

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

The kitchen as a creative studio

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

Kitchen basics

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

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

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Storing end of season produce in preserving jars

Storing end of season produce in preserving jars

Winter stores, vegetables in jars

The first frosts have arrived, the nights have drawn in and the garden is looking tired. If you are lucky enough to still have a few late crops coming in, now is the time to gather up the produce remaining to preserve for use through the winter.

Using preserving jars to store end of season fruit

There are not many fruits that are still hanging on during November; however, if you have apple trees or pear trees in your garden, you might be surprised to find a few late fruits still available. Apples can be made into apple butter or apple jam, both of which are truly delicious. If you have vegetables left over in the veg patch, you could also put some apples into a batch of chutney.

Pears preserve well in Mason jars and are simple to do. You will need to add some lemon juice, but other than this you can follow a standard fruit preserving recipe, adding in spices such as star anise, cardamom and cinnamon. Don’t forget to sterilise your Mason jars before you start.

Using preserving jars to store end of season vegetables

Whilst end of season fruit might be a little thin on the ground, it is likely that most people will have a few vegetables that are still worth harvesting. Butternut squash, pumpkins, cabbage, kale, swede, beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes should all be available. The Christmas favourite, the Brussels sprout, is also well and truly in season right now. Chutney is the perfect way to use up all this end of season produce and the best thing about chutney is that you can more or less use what you have. Experimentation is the name of the game and you might just be surprised at the results.

If you fancy something different, why not try pickling some Brussels sprouts? Boil some vinegar and salt, and add peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and chilli flakes. Pack the halved Brussels sprouts into Mason jars, then pour over your pickling mixture. Seal tightly and heat the jars in a pan of boiling water or a pressure canner for 10 minutes. Once cool, your sprouts are ready to store.

If you want to preserve some vegetables straight, this is also possible, although your choices might be a little more limited. Don’t forget that you will need to pressure can vegetables, as they have a much lower acid content than fruit. Pumpkin and squashes both can well, but cabbage, cauliflower and kale are not really suitable for pressure canning.

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Using a lattice pastry cutter

Getting to grips with lattice pastry cutters

Delicious Homemade Cherry Pie with a Flaky Crust

There is no denying that a lattice pie adds a certain sophistication to your home baking efforts. No one will be in any doubt that you have really worked hard on your baking when you show off your beautiful lattice pie. If you are not confident in your lattice-making skills, don’t worry – there is an easy way to get perfect results every time. Whether you are making a lattice pie with apples, cherries or even strawberries, we will show you how to achieve a perfectly-spaced lattice pie crust to top it off.

Using a lattice pastry cutter

There are different types of pastry cutter available for making lattice pie tops; however, we recommend the roller type. These are much easier to use and give a much more consistent lattice. This type of pastry cutter gives a nice, even criss-cross pattern on the pastry.

To create your lattice pie top, first roll out the pastry on a flat surface to the desired thickness. If your pastry is too thick, the pie crust will dominate and will prevent the taste of the fruit shining through; if your pastry is too thin, you risk it breaking as you lift it onto the pie or during cooking.

When you have spread the pastry out to the required size, press the cutter into the pastry and roll it firmly across. Lift the lattice pastry up very carefully and place it gently onto the pie base and filling. Trim off any surplus and gently seal the edges using your fingers to crimp all round.

That’s all there is to it – your pie is now ready to go in the oven. Don’t forget that you can always use up the pastry trimmings by squashing them into a ball and re-rolling them with the rolling pin to make a few jam tarts, for example.

Our lattice pastry cutter

Made from tough white plastic, our pastry cutters are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. They even come with a 12-month guarantee. Manufactured by premium kitchenwares company KitchenCraft, this little tool will no doubt become a favourite gadget and will earn you admiring comments whenever you serve a delicious, professional-looking lattice pie.

More lattice pie ideas

Pretty much any fruit can be used to make a lattice pie, including apples, cherries, peaches and even blueberries. A strawberry and rhubarb lattice pie would work brilliantly. For savoury lovers, try a chicken and mushroom pie or go vegetarian with a leek, potato and blue cheese pie. Whatever recipe you choose, you are sure to have a lot of lattice fun.

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Traditional pie dishes and their uses

Traditional pie dishes and their uses

If you yearn to do more home cooking and to rely less on processed foods from the supermarket, the humble pie dish may well be your new best friend and closest ally. It is actually very easy to prepare your own ‘ready meals’ using fresh, local produce and to store them in the freezer for later use. Let’s take a look at some traditional pies and the dishes to make them in.

Cottage pie in a rustic baking dish

Pie dishes for all sorts of recipes

The type of pie dish you choose depends on what kind of pie you would like to make. Deep dishes are suitable for pies that only have a top crust or pies that have a lot of juice or gravy, such as steak and ale pie or cottage pie. Shallow, oblong dishes work brilliantly for fish pies or perhaps a chicken and mushroom pie. Plate-style dishes suit fruit pies and other flatter-style pies – check online for ‘plate pie recipes’ to find more ideas for different pies.

Traditional pie dishes for sale

We have quite a range of traditional pie dishes for sale at Wares that are suitable for all sorts of pies, crumbles and bakes. The round, enamel dishes from Falcon are perfect for things such as apple pies and savoury cheese and potato pies.

The traditional brown earthenware dishes from Mason Cash will be familiar to many, as they go back a long way and were at one time a regular feature on dining tables up and down the country. Often used to serve hearty winter warmers, such as shepherd’s pie or lamb cobbler, these dishes are versatile, practical and long-lasting. Their simple styling gives them a timeless appeal and they fit just as well in today’s kitchen as they did all those decades ago. Today, the dishes are dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe; therefore, they make a great addition to the modern kitchen.

The round dishes from Mason Cash have more depth and are great for deep-dish pies, such as deep-dish apple pie. You don’t have to use apple in your deep-dish pie, of course – cherries or any other fruit would work just as well to produce a truly mouthwatering dessert.

Next time you find yourself browsing the supermarket aisles for quick and easy meals, why not opt to create a few of your own ready meals instead? By cooking up a batch of pies and storing them in the freezer, you will find you have prepared lots of tasty meals in no time at all.

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Getting creative with jam jar packaging

Getting creative with jam jar packaging hamper packing box

Whether you are making jam to give as gifts to friends and family or you are a small-scale food producer selling at farmers’ markets and food fairs, presentation is everything. Your jams, chutneys and preserves might taste divine; however, if you don’t think about your jam jar packaging, your jars will look unappealing and dull. Here we look at ways to package your home preserves to make them look just as professional as any shop-bought offering.

Jam jar packaging for Christmas gifts

If you are planning on giving your jams or chutneys as gifts this Christmas, think about presenting them in a three-jar presentation bag or box. These boxes really lift the gift to a new level, making it look very special indeed. If you are a jam producer, offering gift packs like this could increase sales, as customers will buy your produce to give as gifts themselves. For added festive cheer, we have a range of decorative Christmas ribbons to add a splash of colour and fun. Designs include colourful holly, a red deer and trees, and a stag and Christmas tree graphic.

Making hampers

If you make more than just jams and chutneys, another gift idea is to build up a small hamper of your homemade goods. Who could fail to be delighted by the gift of a hamper containing pickles, marmalade, raspberry vinegar, sloe gin, fudge and biscuits, for example? We have hamper trays and boxes in a variety of sizes, along with paper shred in which to nestle your homemade goodies. Again, if you sell at markets and Christmas fairs, gift trays could be a great way to boost takings during this busy season.

Gift tags – the finishing touch

In addition to presenting your produce in a lovely gift bag or box, there are lots of other small details that can make your jars stand out; for example, a carefully-chosen gift tag makes a world of difference to a gift. We have tags to suit all occasions, including a variety of charming, vintage-inspired Christmas tags and more contemporary designs including florals, animals and decorative luggage-style tags.
As you can see, it is easy to take a few simple jars of jam and turn them into a unique and thoughtful gift with a little time and creative inspiration. These gifts will delight the recipient and look just as sophisticated as the gift packs that line the shelves of department stores and gift shops. The difference is that your gift sets will be 100% homemade, 100% unique, 100% made with love, and given from the heart.

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Modern and traditional kitchenware

Modern and traditional kitchenwareM & C Mixing Bowl

Cooking and home baking are pastimes in their own right alongside providing food for our families. The huge popularity of shows such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef and the celebrity status of chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White have helped to make the kitchen a fashionable place to be. Anyone who is serious about their hobby likes to invest in new gadgets and equipment, with cooks no exception. With everything from traditional kitchenwares to modern kitchen gadgets, the keen cook is spoilt for choice here at Wares.

Stylish kitchenware for Italian cooking

Our Italian collection is one of the most popular ranges in our kitchenwares department. Everyone loves a good meal in an Italian restaurant; however, all too often we settle for ‘packet pasta’ when we cook Italian meals at home. Investing in some traditional Italian pasta-making equipment could change this, as making pasta at home will make a huge difference in terms of taste and is a lot of fun! Our pasta machine can make all sorts of pasta, including lasagne, fettuccine and tagliatelle, with optional extras available for making ravioli.

Contemporary kitchenware for a clean look

For the cook who prefers a modern look in their kitchen, we have plenty of choices. Stainless steel offers a timeless look that is easy to keep clean. Our magnetic knife racks will keep all your sharp knives safely stored on the wall, while our hanging S hooks can take care of larger items such as colanders and cooking spoons. If you struggle with how to store your fresh fruit and vegetables, consider a steel-framed trolley. This helps to keep produce fresh for longer and make it easy for you to see exactly what food you have left, minimising food waste.

Traditional mixing bowls

When it comes to mixing bowls, Mason Cash is the name to look out for. Few people can have grown up in the UK over the years without seeing the familiar brown mixing bowls and pie dishes in the family kitchen. The Mason Cash brand continues to thrive and has extended its range of traditional kitchenwares to include some more colourful variations of its classic lines. These pudding bowls and mixing bowls are now available in a range of bright colours and with various decorations adorning the outside of the bowls. The firm has also released a terracotta range, which includes casserole dishes, a bread form, and even a clay tagine for authentic Moroccan cooking.M & C Mixing Bowl

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Bottles for sloe gin

Bottles for Sloe Gin

Making sloe gin is often the first foray into home preserving. Out for an autumn walk in the countryside, people are tempted by ripe sloes hanging on a tree along a footpath, pick them and hurry home excitedly ready to make gin. For beginners, the beauty of making sloe gin is that you need almost no equipment apart from the bottles in which it will be stored. It also takes almost no time to prepare, although you do need to turn the bottles every few days to ensure that the sloe gin infuses properly. Before you head off to the countryside, make sure you have the right bottles for sloe gin to ensure a good infusion and a great-looking product at the end of the process.

Sloe gin bottles in a variety of sizesRayware sloe gin image

As your sloe gin will be stored on its side in a dark cupboard for a good two months, it is important to use a bottle that has a good, strong seal. Our bottles with swing top stoppers are ideal for sloe gin. Sloe gin flasks are a traditional choice and we offer them in a 500ml size; in addition, we offer a smaller Kilner version that holds 275ml. Most sloe gin recipes are based on making one litre of gin, so make sure you buy enough bottles to store all the gin you will produce!

In addition to the sloe gin flasks, many of our swing top bottles are suitable for sloe gin and other alcoholic infusions. If you are making it for yourself, or you are making a large quantity, you might prefer to use our 500ml or even one-litre bottles rather than the smaller-sized bottles.

Sloe gin bottles as gifts

As it will be ready in time for Christmas and makes such a deliciously warming winter drink, sloe gin is an ideal choice to give as a Christmas gift to friends and family. This is where the smaller sloe gin flasks come into their own – they are just the right size to give as a gift and a one-litre recipe will make a couple of bottles.

Topped off with a nice label, and perhaps a tie-on gift tag from our range, these vintage-inspired flasks and bottles will present your sloe gin as delightful homemade gifts that will be warmly received and appreciated.

With September in full swing, now is the time to head out on a hedgerow hunt, searching for those elusive sloes to turn into delicious gin. What are you waiting for?

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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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What’s in season in September

in season in septemberWhat’s in season in September

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

September in season fruit

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

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

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

September in season vegetables

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

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

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

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The best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

Kitchen accessoriesThe best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

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

Kitchen accessories: our pick

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

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

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

Giving kitchen accessories as gifts

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

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Everything you need to make jam

22Everything you need to make jam

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

Basic equipment for making jam

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

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

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

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

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

Accessories for making jam

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

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Jazzing up your jam jars

Favour 3Jazzing up your jam jars

It is a fact that many people love receiving homemade gifts, such as jam and preserves. In an ever-more commercial world, a thoughtful homemade gift can make a refreshing change and is usually much appreciated; however, jam makers can be shy about giving their homemade produce as gifts, thinking that a simple jar or two of jam does not look special enough. If this applies to you, our range of jam jar packaging might just be the answer, enabling you to present your jams and preserves in a smart and stylish way.

Jam jar packaging – boxes

We have a wide selection of packaging for jam jars available in both cardboard and jute. The cardboard gift boxes come in several sizes and can hold two or three jars, depending on the style of box you choose. These simple cardboard boxes offer an eco-friendly choice and set your jams off to their very best advantage. The plain boxes can be decorated with a sticker to say where they came from. The jute bags offer the same kind of carrying capacities, with padded cotton handles and clear plastic display windows to show off your jam jar labels.

If you are buying jam jars to use as wedding favours, we also offer several styles of mini boxes that fit our smallest jars perfectly.

At Christmas, many people like to give mini hampers as gifts. Department stores and supermarkets are usually filled with these, mostly at rather inflated prices. With our range of card trays, it is easy to create your own hampers filled with a variety of homemade items. Take the large fluted card tray, for example, and fill it with a mix of your own jam, marmalade, chutney, infused vinegar and perhaps a bottle of elderflower cordial or plum wine. With pretty jam jar labels and a presentation box, the gift is sure to look every bit as professional as a shop-bought hamper.

Jam jar packaging – accessories

In addition to a full range of presentation boxes and bags, we stock lots of packaging accessories to perfectly finish off the gift. Pack your jars safely and stylishly using fine cut shred material as a base and perhaps set the whole thing off by trimming it with a band of jute ribbon, which is available in green or natural.

Whether you simply want to present your produce prettily, to give as gifts or are looking to sell at farmers’ markets and other outlets, our range of packaging for jam jars will really help to create a professional look.

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Wares of Knutsford – jam jar suppliers to the stars

DSC_3328Wares of Knutsford – jam jar suppliers to the stars

We admit that we may not supply jam jars to the stars of stage and screen, but we are very much the jam jar suppliers of choice for a huge number of jam-making and preserving ‘stars’, from prolific home cooks to those running their own jams and preserves businesses. As experts in the field of jam jars and jam making equipment, we are often the first port of call for small-scale jam producers.

Jam jar suppliers to small-scale producers

For anyone running a business producing homemade jams or preserves, sourcing the right jam jars and lids, at the right prices, is absolutely crucial. Late deliveries, inflated prices and damaged goods could all have a significant impact on a jam producer’s business, as a whole production batch could be compromised without the right number of jars and lids. If a producer does not make enough fresh stock, they do not have enough to sell at the farmers’ market or to supply their trade customers and things start to go wrong very quickly indeed. This is why our jam producer customers rate us as one of the top glass jar suppliers in the UK – they know they can rely on our jam jars and on the service and delivery we offer.

Bulk jam jar suppliers

We have put a lot of effort into analysing our customers’ buying patterns to work out which of our jam jar range to offer in bulk packs. From traditional, smooth-sided 1lb jars to fancier hexagonal jars perhaps more suited to honey, we have a bulk pack to suit all requirements. By offering many of our jars in 192-jar packs, we are able to pass on significant cost savings to our customers and ensure that the jars reach our customers in one piece, as these quantities mean minimal handling in our warehouse.

Bulk packs of jars can also be a good idea for anyone looking for wedding favour jars. Weddings are an expensive business and anything that helps to cut costs has to be good. Our smaller jars, such as the 45ml hexagonal jars, are a popular choice for brides.

If our bargain packs are not big enough to meet your needs, we can also supply pallet-sized quantities of jars at wholesale prices. Contact us for more details on wholesale ordering.

We have been glass jar suppliers for some years and have perfected the art of delivering jam jars to you on time and in perfect condition. Whether you need one jam jar or several hundred, you are in safe hands with Wares of Knutsford.

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1lb jam jars for sale

1lb jam jars for sale

Jam-making is a time-honoured tradition for many, with recipes often handed down from grandma to mother to daughter. Everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to making jam, from what flavours and recipes to use to which method to adopt to test the setting point. When it comes to jam jars, however, there is always a clear favourite – 1lb jars.

1lb jam jars

1lb jars probably became popular for two reasons. Firstly, in the days before metric measurements, using a 1lb jar meant it was easy to work out from the recipe exactly how many jars you would need for the batch of jam you were making. Secondly, a 1lb jar stacks neatly on a larder shelf and is a good size for a family to have on the breakfast table. Smaller jars would get used up too quickly, while larger jars would end up taking too long to consume. 1lb jam jars are the perfect middle ground.

If you are thinking of entering your jams in any local competitions, such as at the village fete or local country show, the 1lb jar is the standard ‘regulation’ jar. If you have slaved over a tempting recipe and produced some amazing jam, it would be a terrible shame to find your jam did not win a prize simply because it was in the wrong size of jar.

Buying 1lb jam jars in bulk

Once you get the jam-making bug, you can easily find yourself running out of suitable jars. Whilst many people reuse jam jars, this option is not always practical. The lids can often be tainted by previous contents, especially if a vinegar-based preserve such as chutney has been in the jar previously. The WI recommends using new lids at least, if this is at all possible. We offer a range of bulk buy options on our 1lb jars, with pack sizes ranging from 12 right up to a whopping 192 – enough for even the most prolific jam-making enthusiast! These jars also come with vinegar-proof lids in a range of colours, including black, white, gold, silver and green and either red or blue gingham checks.

With so many other jam jar styles available, it is easy to get tempted away from the traditional 1lb jars; however, these jars still have plenty of potential for jazzing up. Our enormous range of decorative jam jar labels and our patterned fabric lid covers can turn a standard jar of jam into a small work of art.

If you are serious about preserves, this is very definitely the jar to start with!

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Introducing our jam making kits

22Introducing our jam making kits

If you are already a jam-making convert, no doubt people have praised your preserving skills and the quality of the tasty jams you produce. Some have probably also said that they wished that they too could make such delicious homemade treats but would not know where to start. Whether you are the accomplished jam-maker or the absolute beginner who would not know where to start, kits for making jam can be a great idea. If you already know what you are doing with a maslin pan, why not encourage others to take up home preserving with the gift of a kit? If you are a jam-making newbie, consider treating yourself to a kit to get started on your own jam-making journey.

Jam making kits for beginners

For a total novice, the beauty of jam making kits is that they contain absolutely everything you need to get started. There is no possibility of getting started on your first batch of jam and then finding that you forgot to buy a crucial bit of equipment, such as a thermometer. Our kits contain all the bits and pieces you need, including the all-important maslin pan, a funnel, thermometer, jam spoon, jars, lids and wax discs. Both the standard and the deluxe kits also contain a book of recipes to get you started. The book in the deluxe kit is the gorgeous Preserves from the River Cottage series of books.

Jam Making kits as gifts

For anyone who is keen on cooking, or on homemade crafts, these kits for jam making are the perfect gift. Not only do they get someone up and running with home preserves but also they serve as a long-lasting reminder of your generous gift. Each time the recipient makes another batch of jam, they will be reminded of you and the thoughtful and inspired gift you gave them. With a little luck, they may even return your kindness with a little gift of jam that they made with their kit!

In addition to our tailor-made kits for jam making, we stock a range of tempting recipe books to help kick-start your home preserves. We have already mentioned the Preserves edition from the super River Cottage series of handbooks and we also have quite a few other books packed full of tempting recipes and ideas. Notes from the Jam Cupboard is an interesting take on the traditional recipe book, containing plenty of jam facts, history, literary quotations and jam-making information, whilst The Jammy Bodger offers a contemporary approach to seasonal jam making and is filled with deliciously tempting recipes.

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Miniature sample jam jars

Miniature sample jam jars

Jam jars come in more sizes and styles than you could possibly imagine, from veritable whoppers down to the smallest of jars. Every jar size has a particular use and here we take a look at miniature or sample jam jars.

Miniature jam jars for wedding favours

One of the most popular uses for our smallest jam jars is for wedding favours. The small size of these jars makes them ideal for holding sweets and they look charming placed on the wedding tables; in addition, they don’t take up too much room. We have helped many brides to find the perfect jar for their wedding theme and we have come across many beautiful and charming ideas for wedding favours using our jars.

Many couples fill the tiny jam jars with sweets, such as traditional sugared almonds; however, today’s brides often get much more creative with their wedding favour choices. Homemade miniature biscuits are a cute idea, while delicious fudge is also a popular choice. Good old-fashioned pick ‘n’ mix sweets are a perennial favourite, whilst some adventurous brides are choosing to make homemade infused oils to present in our dinky jars.

Many brides who source their jars from us opt for more unusually-shaped jars, such as the hexagonal or globe-shaped jars. These pretty jars look gorgeous on the wedding table and are also a nice memento to keep after the wedding.

Other uses for miniature jam jars

It is not just brides-to-be who love our miniature jam jars, with these jars having a far wider fan base. For those looking to create some inspired homemade gifts, using these smaller sample jam jars is a great idea and enables you to put together a group of three or five different jams or chutneys. If you are giving jam as a gift to an older person, or someone who lives alone, a set of smaller jars could be a far better idea than presenting a whopping 1lb jar!

If you often have guests staying with you, or even if you run a B&B or guesthouse, smaller jam jars can be a hygienic and cost-effective solution to presenting your jam on the kitchen table. No more jars of jam that look like they have seen better days after too many different knives have been in the jar!

As you can see, there are quite a few different uses for these miniature jars, which is why we stock such a wide variety. Check out our range and see what creative ideas you can come up with.

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