Category Archives: Helpful Tips

Add The Perfect Finishing Touch With Patterned Jam Jar Covers

Image 1Add The Perfect Finishing Touch With Patterned Jam Jar Covers

When it comes to making jams and preserves, it’s all too easy to concentrate totally on what flavour of jam to make and which recipe to follow. And that’s hardly surprising, since the jam will be the star of the show. Paying attention to the finishing touches, however, can make a world of difference to how your preserves look when they’re finished. It can turn a fairly ordinary jar of jam into something really special. If you’re planning to give your jams as gifts to friends and family, choosing a nice-shaped jar, and topping the jar off with a pretty cover will make all the difference.

Our Range of Patterned Jam Jar Covers

We stock an extensive range of pretty covers in our online store. We offer both fabric and paper covers, and some of our packs come with fastening bands and matching ribbons, to make your jam jars look very special indeed.

Florals are very popular and we have several different packs of fabric covers featuring lovely floral patterns. These are the perfect way to finish off a batch of jam, and when the time comes to eat the contents, they offer a charming reminder of summer days long past, when you were making the jam.

As well as floral designs for our fabric covers, we also have covers in fruity designs, gingham checks, and colourful spotty dots. There’s also a bright and fun ‘Jazzy’ pack, featuring four different bold and beautiful designs, again with fastening bands and coordinating ribbons.

Bumper Packs of Patterned Jam Jar Covers

One of our personal favourite packs of covers is the Preserving Accessories Pack, which contains all you need for 24 jars of jam, including gorgeous patterned jam jar covers, matching labels, waxed discs, plastic circles and rubber fastening bands. Everything you need, in fact, all in one bumper pack. The contemporary fruit and veg designs pack is our favourite, but there is another pack with more of a ‘country cottage’ design, and this has all the same contents.

If you’re feeling really creative, why not have a go at making your own fabric or paper jar covers? We stock both the transparent plastic covers and the waxed discs you’ll need, so you just need to add paper or fabric and some creative inspiration!

So next time you’re thinking of making some jam, do think about adding a splash of prettiness on top of the jar, in the form of a lovely jam jar cover. We’re sure you’ll receive positive feedback about the covers, as well as about your jam!

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An Introduction To Jam Making Equipment

22An Introduction To Jam Making Equipment

High summer means that a wide range of fruit and vegetables are in season, making it the perfect time to start making jams and chutneys. Dare we mention too, that Christmas is very definitely on the horizon? So if you’re looking to try handmade gift-giving this year, cooking up some jam could be the ideal way to do just that.

If you’ve never made jam before, the array of equipment available can be a little bewildering, and it can be hard to know what is essential and what is a fancy add-on. In this post, we aim to guide you through some of our tools for making jam, so you can get cracking with your own jammy creations.

Jam Making Equipment For Beginners

If you are starting out making jam for the first time, you’ll need a few basic items. First of these is a jam pan, also known as a maslin pan. A full-size jam pan is 8 or 9 litres, but smaller pans of 4.5 litres are also available, if you want to make smaller batches of jam. The next piece of equipment you need is a jam thermometer, in order to test the temperature of your jam, to ensure your jams reach setting point.

If you don’t have one already, you’ll need a spoon to stir your jam whilst it’s cooking, and our silicone jam spoons are perfect for this. Whilst not strictly essential, a jam funnel makes life much easier when it comes to getting all that lovely jam from the maslin pan into the jars.

Those are really the essential tools for making jam, but, of course, you also need some jam jars to pour all those tempting jam creations into. Our jam jar range is extensive, and our website shows the capacity of all jars, so you can easily work out just how many jars you need. It pays to have a few extra jars, just in case you make slightly more than your recipe says you’ll make – after all, it would be a shame to waste any!

Finally, you need to label your jam, so you know what you’re eating at some future date. Our labels come in a huge variety of styles to suit all tastes.

Jam Making Equipment Kits

A Jam Making Kit is the perfect gift for someone keen on cooking. We have several kits available, which come with all the basic equipment you need to get started.

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Getting Creative With Shaped Jam Jars

IMG_8589_Edit__35140.1461079474.1280.1280Getting Creative With Shaped Jam Jars

If you’re a regular customer of Wares of Knutsford, it’s safe to assume you’re a fan of home preserving, canning and all things culinary. With summer in full swing, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables in season from now right through until Autumn, it’s a busy time for making jams, pickles and preserves. We all love exploring new recipes and flavours, and trying out a few unusual jam jars at the same time will add a new twist to your kitchen endeavours.

Which Shaped Jam Jars To Choose

We stock quite a collection of unusual jam jars, so it can be hard to decide which jar to use for each preserving project. Sometimes a certain type of jar lends itself to a specific jam or pickle.

Lemon curd looks delightful in our 212ml Limoncello Jars or in our 212ml Globe Jam Jars. The relatively small size of these jam jars particularly suits lemon curd, which can only be stored for 1 – 2 weeks after opening the jar.

Our Trittico Nesting Jars come in a set of three, which tuck up close together to display a group of jams or pickles. These make a perfect gift set, and we suggest filling them with a range of pickles and chutneys, perhaps a plum chutney, piccalilli and a red onion marmalade. Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive that as a gift?

If you’re looking to create an upmarket, design-led effect for your jams, then our Gourmet Jam Jars will really look the part. Shaped like a sumptuous Ali Baba basket, these jars come in a range of sizes, from 106ml up to 580ml. They’re available with plain or gingham-checked lids too.

Unusual Shaped Jam Jars

Our vintage style glass storage jars conjure up images of times gone by, when Grandma always had a cake in the oven, and some jam boiling on the stove. These jars comes in a range of shapes and sizes, and can be used for much more than jam. The large 2.2 litre jar would make a fancy biscuit jar, for example, whilst the small vintage jars with screw-on lids would look great storing sweets and treats.

One of our most unusual jam jars has to be the Teddy Bear Jar. As the name suggests, the jar is shaped like a teddy bear, and comes with a yellow plastic hat which sits on top of a standard twist-off lid. This jar is perfect for jam or honey, and makes a charming gift.

Hopefully, this round-up of shaped jam jars has provided some inspiration for jazzing up your jam!

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The best bottles for plum wine

BottlesThe best bottles for plum wine

It is August and that can only mean one thing – plums are now in season, and will remain in season until around October. If you are fortunate enough to have your own plum tree, or even several plum trees, then finding ways to use your delicious juicy plums can tax even the most enthusiastic of home preserving fans. One great idea that we have already looked at is making your own plum wine. Whether you plan on drinking it yourself or giving it away as a Christmas or birthday gift, plum wine can certainly help to use up some of those fabulous plums. Before you start the fermenting process, however, you need to consider the type of bottle you will use when the time comes to bottle your wine.

Choosing your plum wine bottles

We stock a range of wine bottles in pack sizes ranging from six to 36 in a standard 750ml size. We have both green and clear glass; however, as plum wine has a slightly pink colour to it, much like rosé wine, a clear glass bottle would probably suit it better. Our standard bottles do not come with corks, but we do supply these separately. If you prefer not to use corks, we also stock some green glass screw neck Bordeaux bottles, which are supplied with a plastic wine cap.

Alternative plum wine bottles

Standard wine bottles will probably suit if you are making wine to drink yourself; however, if you plan to give your wine as a gift, a fancier bottle may be in order. Plum wine suits being drunk when young, making a swing-top bottle perfect. Our 750ml faceted Costalata swing-top bottles would make a charming gift filled with your own homemade wine, as would our Kilner one-litre blue glass bottles with swing-top lids. For smaller gifts, the 335ml Capri swing-top bottle would offer just less than a standard half bottle of wine.

Once your plum wine has been racked and bottled, the perfect finishing touch is a nice label. Many of our labels are suitable to use as wine labels; therefore, if you are giving the wine as a gift, why not use a pretty decorative tag? Giving homemade items really shows that you have put some thought into a gift and the extra details, such as special bottles, pretty labels and tags, add up to create the overall effect. If you are not careful, your plum wine will look so delightful that you won’t want to give it away!

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All about plums

plums in the basketAll about plums

Summer is now in full swing, which means it is plum season. Whether you are lucky enough to have a plum tree or two in your garden or you buy plums fresh from your local greengrocer, they are a delicious fruit and are incredibly versatile when it comes to cooking and preserving. They are also divine eaten as they are, of course – fresh and juicy and full of goodness. Let’s take a look at some plum facts, along with some ideas for tasty plum recipes.

Plum facts

Plum trees normally grow to around five or six metres in height, meaning they are perfect for the medium-sized garden. Left unpruned, however, trees can reach 12 metres. It therefore pays to stay on top of your fruit tree care!

The plum family covers a wide variety of fruits, including some that we might not initially think of such as sloes and apricots. When dried, they are known as prunes and have a somewhat unfair reputation due to their efficacy as a digestive aid or laxative.

Most people are familiar with Victoria plums, but greengages and damsons are from the same horticultural family. These all make excellent jams and jellies.

Humans have been enjoying the plum since Neolithic times and they were eaten widely throughout the Roman Empire.

China is the world’s largest plum producer; however, as it is plum season right now, there is no need to buy from overseas. Most good fruit and vegetable stores will currently have several varieties on offer.

What to do with plums

The humble plum is one of the staples of jam making and preserving. Plum jam is quick and easy to make and you can jazz up your plum jam by experimenting with spices such as ginger or cinnamon. You can even try a pinch of chilli flakes for something completely different. A sweeter plum jam can be achieved by adding a fresh vanilla pod to the pot during the jam-making process – simply remove the pod before bottling.

Plum chutney is another great preserving favourite. Add onions and sultanas to your chopped plum mixture, along with ginger, spices, vinegar and sugar. Plum chutney is perfect with a ploughman’s lunch. Another great idea is a sticky plum sauce for a do-it-yourself crispy duck dinner.

You can, of course, simply preserve any plum surplus you have. Try a spiced preserve recipe using dry red wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Leave for a couple of weeks so that the flavours really infuse and serve as a dessert with crème fraiche or homemade custard.

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What’s in season in August?

What’s in season in August?

Another month has flown by, the children have broken up from school for the summer holidays and August has arrived. Let’s take a look at what’s in season this month and what creative things you can do in the kitchen with your August fruit and veg. If you already need ideas for entertaining the children during the holidays, perhaps a day in the kitchen would be fun? You could make jams and chutneys, fruit fools or simple fruit milkshakes.

Fruit in season in August

Looking first at what fruit is available in August, a number of berries are still going strong, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. These all make excellent jams if you have your maslin pan and jam jars at the ready. If you want to enjoy these berries straight away, consider an indulgent Eton mess for dessert. This wickedly scrumptious dish is simplicity itself to make – simply mix together smashed meringues, whipped cream and chopped strawberries, then chill before serving.

Also in season during August are Bramley apples. Bramleys make the most delicious apple sauce to serve with pork dishes, while the good old-fashioned apple crumble is everyone’s favourite. If you fancy making some preserves with your Bramley apples, try apple and onion chutney or apple and walnut chutney.

Vegetables in season in August

Moving on to vegetables, there is quite a selection of tasty treats in season now. Lettuce, cucumbers, radishes and carrots are all ready for picking in August, making it is easy to rustle up a healthy salad for supper rather than cooking a big meal on hot days. Cauliflower, marrow and red cabbage are also ready now and are perfect for pickling. Try making your own piccalilli, which is guaranteed to taste so much nicer than shop-bought piccalilli if you use in-season vegetables and fresh spices.

Red cabbage is perfect braised with apples and served as a side dish with pork; alternatively, try adding smoky bacon for a simple supper dish in its own right.

We couldn’t talk about what’s in season in August without mentioning the humble pea. Growing peas is highly recommended, if only for the simple pleasure of picking them, shelling them and eating them raw right there in the garden. Cooking Indian food at home is great fun for the whole family and rustling up an Indian pea chutney will create an awesome dish to serve with poppadoms, alongside mint raita and homemade mango chutney.

With so much August fruit and veg available, it is the perfect opportunity to get cooking.

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Serve summertime drinks in style with Mason drinking jars

Serve summertime drinks in style with Mason drinking jars

Summer is here and we all want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Now is the time for long summer walks, trips to the beach, picnics in the countryside and simple barbecues in the garden. If you are planning any kind of outdoor event or party, our stylish range of drinking jars could be just the thing to add a dash of trendy sophistication to the drinks you offer.

The trend for Mason drinking jars

Mason drinking jars have become seriously fashionable since they were first used to serve cool cocktails in trendy hipster bars in Hoxton, East London. They proved such a hit that the trend spread across the country and these cool drinking jars are now available to buy for use at home.

Our range of drinking jars is fun and colourful. From simple clear glass versions to coloured glass jars and jars with coloured lids, there is a style to suit everyone. One of our particular favourites is the Owl Drinking Jar, which features a cute owl design on the surface of the jar. Drinking jars with handles are often also called Mason drinking mugs and we have a whole range of these.

For the perfect combination, Mason drinking mugs can be teamed with a glass drinks dispenser. We have five-litre drinks dispensers from Kilner and dispensers featuring an integral infuser for additional drinks creativity.

If you are looking for the perfect present for someone who loves entertaining outdoors, Kilner has produced two drinking jar sets that are perfect to give as a gift. Both the Kilner Lemonade Set and the Kilner Mug & Straw Set contain drinking mugs, straws and a recipe booklet.

What to serve in Mason drinking jars

With all these gorgeous drinking jars available, we should really offer you some inspiration for what to serve in them. Drinking jars are perfect for summer cocktails and mocktails, iced teas, homemade cordials and old-fashioned lemonade. Try something exotic such as cucumber mojitos for a summery alcoholic drink; alternatively, if you prefer a non-alcoholic choice, try passion fruit and orange spiced with mint and ginger.

As with many products in our store, most of our drinking jars are available singly or to buy in bulk packs, with pack sizes ranging from six to 48. These bulk packs make the perfect choice for larger events, such as weddings.

Whatever your tipple, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, some stylish drinking jars will definitely add to the cool summer vibe.

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Old-fashioned fun with vintage jam jars

Old-fashioned fun with vintage jam jars

It is impossible not to notice that the nation is currently in love with all things vintage. From vintage-themed weddings and old-fashioned tea parties to mid-century modern interior design, vintage is definitely a hot trend right now. This retro feel can also be seen in the kitchen and on tables up and down the country and we thought it would be fun to showcase some of our vintage jam jars to provide a little vintage inspiration for your own creative ideas.

Vintage jam jars and vintage jam

Years ago, many children loved visiting their grandparents, not least to see what delights might come out of granny’s pantry. This pantry usually had shelf after shelf of neatly stacked Mason jars and clip top jars filled with delicious jams and preserves. If you were lucky, a jar of jam would be opened and spread on thick slices of freshly baked bread. A jam sandwich was truly one of life’s simple pleasures back in the day, wasn’t it?

If you are thinking about making a little vintage-inspired jam, why not stock up on some of our vintage style jars and get cracking with some traditional jams from yesteryear? Quince jam is easy to make, as it has high levels of pectin. Damson and plums are often overlooked in favour of strawberries these days; however, they too make excellent jams. For something even more unusual, why not give marrow jam a try, or rose petal jelly? Using traditional Kilner jars, or some of our other vintage style jars, will help to make these vintage jams really look the part.

Another firm favourite from days gone by is raspberry vinegar. Bottled in one of our deluxe swing-top bottles, this would make a delightful gift. Raspberry vinegar is perfect drizzled over salads and can also be used in other ways; for example, pour it over Yorkshire puddings for an old-fashioned thrifty dessert or serve it on vanilla ice cream for a tasty twist.

Vintage jam jars for vintage weddings

Many of our customers use our vintage style jars as wedding accessories. A vintage-themed wedding might use our vintage sweet jars to hold wedding favours, our retro Kilner drinks dispenser to serve elderflower champagne, and our garland-design glass candle holders for tabletop decorations.

If you have caught the vintage bug, dig out your apron and your granny’s recipe book and recreate some of those long-forgotten jams and preserves, perhaps making some old-fashioned lemonade or ginger beer as an accompaniment. After all, a good dollop of nostalgia goes a long, long way.

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Mix it up with a protein shaker bottle

Mix it up with a protein shaker bottle

Ask people what they know about protein shakes and many will describe rippling bodybuilders at the gym who look something like Mr Universe or The Incredible Hulk; however, the reality is far from the myth. Protein shakes are a useful and balanced nutritional aid for many people, not just those musclebound hunks in the weights room.

The benefits of protein shakes

It is true that protein helps you to build muscle; however, it also boosts your metabolism, which can make a real difference in any weight loss programme. For people trying to lose weight, using protein shakes can help them to lose fat but preserve their muscle and overall body tone.

Another way in which protein shakes can help in a weight loss programme is by reducing feelings of hunger. Research in Australia has shown that consumption of whey protein reduces the level of the hormone responsible for telling your brain that you are hungry; therefore, sticking to a calorie-controlled diet could become much easier if protein shakes are included.

Protein supplements can also help to improve muscle strength. It is easy to think of those bodybuilders again, but actually many people may need to improve muscle tone or strength at some stage in their lives; for example, people recovering after injury or a period of forced inactivity or those wanting to combat the effects of aging may benefit from using protein shakes or other supplements.

Easy mixing with a protein shaker bottle

Protein shakes are the most common way of using protein on a regular basis. The protein comes in a powdered form and is usually mixed with water or milk. It is perfectly possible to stir in the protein powder in a regular bottle or beaker; however, this method can often result in a lumpy, half-mixed shake. A protein shake bottle can solve the problem instantly, giving you perfectly-mixed, flavoursome drinks that you will actually enjoy.

Our protein shake bottle comes with one compartment for holding vitamins and another compartment for holding protein powder. Simply add the powder to milk or water and get shaking. The internal spring mechanism means that the mixed shake will be lump-free! The shaker has a practical sip top lid, allowing you to drink the shake on the go. The cap is secure and reliable to prevent any spillage.

If you are thinking about trying protein shakes within your exercise or diet regime, adding a protein shaker bottle could really help. For fuss-free, lump-free protein shakes, nothing could be simpler.

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Keep hydrated with colourful plastic drinks bottles

Keep hydrated with colourful plastic drinks bottlesDrinks bottle

School’s out for summer and the mercury in thermometers is rising, with the hottest day of the year sending the nation into meltdown. Whilst we all love the long, hot days of summer, it is important to make sure that we stay hydrated at all times. With our colourful drinks bottles, quenching your summer thirst becomes a breeze both at home and on the go.

Take a plastic drinks bottle wherever you are

Whether it is the morning commute on a packed tube train, a leisurely stroll through the countryside or a picnic down by the river, taking a bottle of something cool and refreshing will ensure you don’t overheat. Water is probably best for staying hydrated on the way to work or whilst out exercising; however, fruit juices and cordials are also a great choice.

Introducing the stackable plastic drinks bottle

Our cleverly-designed stackable drinks bottle is ideal for stocking up the fridge with chilled drinks. It holds just over one litre and has gently curved sides, meaning it can stack one on top of another inside the fridge. This is a great idea for anyone with children, as it means you can store a batch of chilled juices or fruit squashes ready for when the little ones need a drink. Since the bottles stack so neatly, they don’t take up too much room in the fridge.

The clever design does not stop with the curved sides on this plastic drinks bottle. The threadless cap just snaps on and off when you want a drink, making it a safe and reliable choice when you are out and about. The bottle is reusable, of course, meaning it is a more environmentally-friendly choice than buying bottled water or juices. It goes without saying that making your own juices and drinks is much cheaper than buying bottled drinks, so you can also save money.

If you are looking for some thirst-quenching inspiration for summertime beverages to fill these drinks bottles, why not have a go at making some fresh fruit smoothies? With so many berries in season, such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, smoothies are a perfect choice. Make some up in the evening and store in the fridge overnight for the perfect high-energy breakfast drink. Other thirst-quenchers might include elderflower cordial with plenty of ice cubes or homemade old-fashioned lemonade.

No matter what drink you choose, just grab a drinks bottle, fill it up and head outdoors to enjoy the summer sunshine.

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Using stencils for jam jar creativity

Using stencils for jam jar creativity


StencilsOur customers are a truly creative lot and never cease to amaze us with the inventive, clever and downright stylish ways they find to use our jars and bottles. When we came across some stencils for jars and bottles, we knew instantly that they would be a hit and that we just had to stock them.

Funky jar stencils

These clever stencils for jars come in a pack of four stencil sheets. The sheets cover the alphabet in two different sizes, numbers from zero to nine, and symbols and decorative shapes. The symbols and shapes include a heart, stars, arrows, a decorative flourish, some dotted lines and an oval border shape, and the typeface is a classic, old-fashioned style.

The stencils are simplicity itself to use. Just peel the stencils you need away from the backing sheet and stick to the jar or bottle that you want to decorate. It is important to make sure the jar is spotlessly clean and dry before you begin to ensure the stencils stick down fully on the glass. With the stencils firmly in place, just paint away over the top and leave to dry. Once completely dry, gently lift away each individual stencil and clean the stencils with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth.

Get creative with jar stencils

Using these stencils for jars of jam would be a great idea, especially if you plan to give the jam away as a gift for Christmas or birthdays. This personal touch will set your gift apart and create a lasting impression, with the typeface and design of the stencils right on trend. Crafts and homemade items are really experiencing a surge in popularity right now and these jar stencils sit perfectly with this trend.

Another great way to use these stencils for jars is to create wedding favours or use them as posy jars to feature on tables at a wedding reception. Stencilling the initials of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding would be a charming way to create a personalised item for the wedding tables.

Whatever ideas you come up with for these fabulous jar stencils, we are certain that they will be a lot of fun. As the stencils are easy to remove and clean, they can be reused over and over to provide lots of opportunities for stylish creativity.

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Having fun with our BFG dream jars

Having fun with our BFG dream jars

dream jars banner


This month sees the UK release of Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of The BFG, based on Roald Dahl’s 1982 story of the same name. With a star-studded cast including Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilton, Ruby Barnhill and Rafe Spall, this magical film is likely to charm children and adults alike, throughout the summer.

The story follows a young orphan who is taken by a big, friendly giant, The BFG, to Giant Country. We won’t spoil the storyline by giving too much away but suffice to say, bottled dreams, magical potions and fantastical concoctions feature strongly. It goes without saying that if you have potions and concoctions, you need bottles and jars to store them in. We have put together a collection of our most suitable potion bottles, dream jars and accessories for you to conjure up your own BFG magic at home. Take a look at our BFG jars and bottles page ( for more details, or read on.

Dream jars and bottles

With the school summer holidays starting at the same time as the film’s release, it is perfect timing to inspire your kids to have some magical BFG fun. We had a real blast here at Wares creating the Frobscottle Dream Bottle, the Gigglehouse Globe Potion Bottle, the Quogwinkles Jar for Dreams and many more. The snozzcumber is central to the BFG story, of course, as The BFG lives on a diet of foul-tasting snozzcumbers; for this reason, we created a Snozzcumber Jar using our one-gallon pickle jar.

To fill our BFG jars and potion bottles, we got creative with food colourings, sweets, cordials and juices. With just a little imagination, it is amazing what can be achieved. We think our Whizzpopper Dream Jar, Manhugger Giant Dream Mixing Apothecary Jar and Gobblefunk Dream Jar would really set the scene for a BFG-themed party this summer – not forgetting the BFG Crodswoggle Potion Bottle, of course!

How will you fill your dream jars?

Our BFG jars all have a life outside BFG and are sold empty so that you can fill them with your own potions, magic and dreams. Food colourings and cordials are excellent choices for potions, as children can actually drink the contents of the bottles. Alternatively, try some more unusual drinks that children may not be familiar with, such as dandelion and burdock, or make glow in the dark drinks using tonic water – yes, it really does glow in the dark!

However you choose to use your BFG bottles and jars, we feel sure it is going to be a whole lot of fun!

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Hexagonal jam jars for something a little different

Hexagonal jam jars for something a little different

When it comes to jam-making and preserving, many people like to make a real effort to make their homemade creations really stand out. The choice of jam jar and lid can really make a big difference to the overall effect, and at Wares of Knutsford we probably have the widest choice of sizes and styles available anywhere. Here we take a look at our extensive range of hexagonal jars.

Hexagonal jam jars and suggested uses

With more than 20 hexagonal jars in our range, we are certain there is a jar to suit every requirement. These jars range in size from a dinky 45ml jar right up to a 283ml jar, which is a good replacement for an 8oz jar.

Anyone looking for a vintage look will find these hexagonal jars appealing, especially the Kilner hexagonal clip top spice jar, which really gives a retro feel.

When it comes to how to use these jars, making jam is really just the beginning. Of course they are ideal for jam and look great when teamed with a gingham checked lid, but jam making is just one option. There are many other uses for these jars, as we have discovered from our customers.

Many people use the smaller hexagonal jam jars as wedding favours, filling them with sweets or homemade chocolates. For anyone choosing a traditional or rustic theme for their wedding, this type of unfussy wedding favour fits the bill perfectly. Others use these jars as tealight holders, creating a charming effect for an evening party.

One of our favourites in the hexagonal range is the Kitchen Craft hexagonal chutney pot. These pots, which have a clip top lid and an airtight sealing band, make perfect jars for dips, sauces and chutneys. With the current trend for fine dining at home, these pots would work really well holding a range of homemade sauces. For a home-cooked Indian meal, for example, they would work brilliantly holding mango chutney, mint raita and lime pickle.

Not just hexagonal jam jars

When it comes to hexagonal jars, it is not just jam jars that are available. We also have hexagonal sauce bottles that are absolutely perfect for homemade ketchup or sauces. There are also fun and fancy hexagonal drinking jars in our range, ideal for serving cocktails and juices. These delightful drinking jars come with screw lids and a reusable straw and are sold in sets of six. They are ideal for outdoor parties and summer picnics.

If you are looking for a jar that is a little different, check out our hexagonal range.

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Jam Jars – Not Just For Jam

Jam jars – not just for jam11

When it comes to jam jars, Wares of Knutsford probably stocks more sizes than any other retailer. A typical jar of jam, as seen on breakfast tables up and down the country, is normally somewhere between 350ml and 500ml; however, our range includes very small jars ranging in size from 150ml right down to a tiny 30ml. Our customers never cease to amaze us with the creative ways they find to use our jars and we thought we would share some of these ideas with you.

These tiny jars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with screw on lids, clip top lids and Kilner-style lids with metal discs and screw bands.

Small jam jars for wedding favours

One of our most popular requests comes from brides-to-be looking for small jam jars to hold sweets or other treats to use as wedding favours. From traditional sugared almonds to more contemporary twists such as smarties, jelly babies or old-school boiled sweet favourites such as cola cubes and pear drops, brides-to-be come up with all sorts of ideas to add a little flourish to their wedding tables.

One charming idea we came across was a wedding couple who filled their small jars with wild flower seeds. Each jar had a label asking the guests to scatter the seeds somewhere special to them as a celebration of the wedding.

Other uses for small jam jars

If you are not planning to get hitched any time soon, there are still plenty of ways to put our small glass jars to good use. Anyone who has stayed in a guest house or hotel will be familiar with the mini pot of jam or marmalade. These can be fun to make at home and are perfect for when you have a small quantity of jam left over from a big batch that is not quite enough to fill a full-size jar. Why not give a selection of miniature jam jars as a gift, with each jar filled with a different flavour of delicious homemade jam?

Another great idea for these small glass jars is to use them to jazz up your herbs and spices. Buy fresh herbs and spices from local ethnic shops and store them in our 4oz spice jars for a smart look on the kitchen shelf.

Our small glass jars can all be teamed with mini labels specially designed to work perfectly on these jar sizes. Our jars might be small, but the range of things you can do with them certainly is not!

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Our range of screw top jars

Lifting the lid on our range of screw top jars3

When it comes to home preserves, many people start by making jam. This is one of the easiest homemade things to try and the rewards from creating your own jam are fantastic. After their initial success with jam-making, many people look to canning and preserving to further extend their repertoire of delicious homemade recipes. This is where jars with screw tops really come into their own – they are ideal for canning and bottling all sorts of things, from pickled eggs and bottled peaches to homemade ketchup and good old-fashioned pickled onions. Our range of jars with screw tops covers all capacities and sizes; therefore, no matter what you decide to preserve, there is sure to be a jar to suit your needs.

The widest range of screw top jars

Just as lots of people refer to their vacuum cleaner as a ‘hoover’, people often refer to screw top jars as ‘Kilner jars’; however, there are quite a number of different manufacturers of jars with screw tops and Kilner is just one of these. Here at Wares of Knutsford we stock jars from Kilner in addition to Mason jars, Leifheit jars and the Familia Wiss range from Le Parfait. The jars from all these brands feature a heat sealable metal disc and screw band. From large jars for canning fruits and vegetables to terrine jars and small pots for lemon curd or salsa dips, there is a jar for every preserving task.

We also stock a full range of replacement metal discs and screw bands for all our jars with screw tops.

How to use your screw top jars

The possibilities for home preserving are endless and preserving can be done all year round, following the seasons. The summer months are perfect for canning surplus fruits, whilst the winter months are when mandarin oranges come into season – these are delicious preserved in syrup ready to be used in fruit salads or desserts. Grapefruit and oranges canned together make a perfect breakfast mix, especially if topped with yoghurt or creme fraiche.

If you lean towards more savoury options, try home-grown pesto, dill pickles or pickled peppers to keep your larder stocked with tasty treats all year round.

Whether you choose Kilner jars, Mason jars or jars from Leifheit or Le Parfait, nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a shelf full of various preserves and canned items and the knowledge that you created them all. If you have never tried home preserving before, now is the perfect time.

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Jam jar labels for a professional touch

labelsJam jar labels for a professional touch

Making jam is an enjoyable pastime for many people and the enjoyment does not stop once the jam is poured into the jars. Giving your own jams and preserves as gifts really adds to the pleasure of jam-making. Jam can be given as a birthday or Christmas gift, as a housewarming or thank you gift, or for no real reason whatsoever other than the joy of giving. Anyone who lives in the country will tell you that it is positively de rigueur in rural villages to take a jar of jam or some other homemade treat when popping round to the neighbours. With so many opportunities to spread a little happiness with jam, it is nice to complement your jams with pretty jars, lids and labels. As it is cherry jam season right now, let’s take a look at our pretty cherry labels.

Cherry jam jar labels from Words of Art

In 2011, Wares of Knutsford commissioned Words of Art to produce an exclusive range of jam and bottle labels decorated with watercolour paintings of fruit, vegetables, flowers, garden tools and small creatures. The illustrations for these labels were all produced by Rosemary Wagstaff, mother of Words of Art founder Caroline Wagstaff.

Within the Words of Art label range is a very pretty label pack featuring cherries. These cherry labels are perfect for labelling your homemade cherry jams or conserves. Each label has a central white panel to write on – just add the name of the jam and the date you made it, then peel off the label from the backing strip, stick it on your jar of cherry jam and you are good to go. Surrounding the white central area on each label is a glorious watercolour illustration of ripe and juicy red cherries. Teamed with our red gingham checked jam jar lids, these cherry labels would really set your jam off to a T. There are 18 labels per pack, which should be plenty for even the most earnest of jam makers.

Buy your cherry jam jar labels while stocks last

July is cherry season, which means there are undoubtedly pans of cherry jam bubbling on stoves up and down the country right now. All our jam making equipment is very popular at this time of year and these cherry jam jar labels are no exception. Make sure you order soon to avoid disappointment.

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Homemade cherry wine, the perfect summer drink

Homemade cherry wine, the perfect summer drink

July is cherry season and the perfect time to learn how to make cherry wine. Cherries make one of the very best homemade wines and learning how to make cherry wine could make you very popular indeed! Head down to your local greengrocer, stock up on cherries and get cracking with a delicious homemade tipple.

Our cherry wine recipe

This is our favourite cherry wine recipe by far. Make sure that you have the right equipment before you start – you will need a fermenting bin, a fine sieve, a gallon jar or two, a fermentation lock and enough bottles to decant the wine into. As a rough guide, you should get five bottles of wine from this one-gallon cherry wine recipe.


2.7kg sour and sweet cherries, mixed
1.2kg sugar
Campden tablets
Wine yeast and nutrient

If you can’t source sour cherries, you will need to add the juice and zest of a lemon instead.


– Remove all stems from the cherries and wash thoroughly.
– Put the cherries in the fermenting bin and crush them until they are well pulped.
– Add 2.3 litres of boiling water, stirring well.
– Once cool, add a crushed, dissolved Campden tablet.
– Add the sugar to 2.3 litres of boiling water and continue to boil until the sugar has dissolved. Once cool, pour this liquid into the pulp mix.
– Add the yeast and nutrient, then cover the fermenting bin and leave to ferment for about a week. Stir the mixture every day.
– After a week, strain the mixture and pour the liquid into a clean fermenting bin. Cover it again and leave for a further four days.
– Carefully pour the mixture into a gallon jar, using a fine sieve to ensure only the liquid is used.
– Top up the gallon jar to the neck, using boiled water that has been allowed to cool.
– Fit the fermentation lock and allow fermentation to finish.
– Rack the wine as many times as necessary. Add a Campden tablet after the first racking to halt the fermentation process.
– Siphon the wine into sterilised bottles.

This cherry wine is best stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year to allow it to fully mature.

Dry cherry wine recipe

If you would prefer to make a drier type of cherry wine, try tweaking the recipe a little. Reduce the sugar to about 750gms and replace the wine yeast with port wine yeast.

This time next year, you could be sipping your own homemade cherry wine. Cheers!

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The ultimate guide to cherry jam

The ultimate guide to cherry jam

July means that delicious, juicy cherries are in season and ready to be enjoyed. Few of us are lucky enough to have a cherry tree in our gardens, but cherries are widely available from good greengrocers, farmers’ markets and farm shops. Cherries are often available in small crates, which means there are enough to enjoy as they are and to make into jam. If you have never made it before, now is the time to learn how to make cherry jam.

Our favourite cherry jam recipe

Making cherry jam could not be simpler. Here is our favourite recipe:

1,800gms fresh cherries
300ml of water
Zest and juice of four lemons
1kg of jam sugar


Pit the cherries and set the stones aside. Place the cherries in a large pan with the water, lemon zest and juice. Split all the cherry stones, tie them in a square of muslin, and add this to the pan. Heat gently until the contents are almost boiling, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the muslin with the cherry stones and set aside. Pour in the jam sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, bring the jam to the boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

Take the jam off the heat and test whether it has reached setting point by spooning a small amount onto the back of a chilled plate. Leave for a moment or two, then press your finger into it. If it is ready, it will wrinkle as you press it; if the jam is still runny, continue boiling it for a few minutes longer and then repeat the test.

Allow the jam to cool for 10 minutes, then skim off any scum and pour the jam into sterilised jam jars. Seal and label the jars and store them in a cool, dark place.

Cherry jam recipe alternatives

Whilst this recipe is our firm favourite, there are plenty of alternatives for the adventurous cook. Once you have learned how to make cherry jam, you can get more inventive with your recipes. Try cherry and cinnamon jam, or cherry and hazelnut conserve. Whatever recipe you choose, remember that cherries are low in pectin and you will therefore always need to use jam sugar rather than standard sugar.

Once you have made your cherry jam, it is time to get creative with how to use it. Try melted camembert with cherry jam for a delicious supper treat, or bake an indulgent Black Forest gateau. Whichever way you enjoy it, cherry jam is always a popular choice.

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What’s in season in July?

What’s in season in July?

With Wimbledon in full swing during July, it is impossible not to notice that the great British strawberry is in season right now. Nothing beats the delicious, juicy taste of a freshly-picked strawberry; however, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables in season this month. With so much choice at this time of the year, July is one of the easiest months in which to eat seasonally.

Fruits in season in July

There is a huge variety of fresh fruit available in July, with many soft fruit coming into season. Raspberries, loganberries, blueberries and gooseberries are all ready to be picked and devoured; alternatively, they can be made into delicious jams and preserves.

Rhubarb is still very much in season and makes the perfect accompaniment to fresh mackerel, which is also in season during July. Cherries, another classic summertime favourite, make their seasonal appearance this month. A bowl of fresh cherries is one of those quintessential signs of the British summer, just like those strawberries at Wimbledon. Whilst they are delicious eaten fresh, cherries also make a brilliant ingredient; for example, they can be used in cherry jam, liqueurs, cakes and pies.

With so much delicious fruit available in July, it is the perfect time to get out the maslin pan and jars, find some new preserving recipes and rustle up some new jams, compotes and preserves.

Vegetables in season in July

Alongside all the fruit available in July, the vegetable season is really taking off this month. New potatoes finally arrive on our dinner plates, as do peas. These are both irresistible when cooked with some fresh mint straight from the garden.

Salad days are here again, as July sees many salad crops ready for the table. These include lettuce, celery, radish, cucumber, beetroot, mangetout, spring onions and rocket; in addition, those with a greenhouse may also be able to enjoy their first tomatoes of the year during July.

With so much produce available, it is easy to feel swamped. Just as with fruit, preserving can solve the issue of seasonal gluts and can provide a wide variety of tasty treats for months to come. All sorts of vegetables can go into chutney, including tomatoes, celery, courgettes, runner beans, onions, carrots and cauliflower. Piccalilli is another option and is perfect to spice up a ploughman’s lunch or a cheese platter.

Whether you eat July’s produce fresh from the garden or make preserves for the months ahead, there is no excuse not to indulge and enjoy all the tasty fruit and vegetables that are in season in July.

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Making gin in jars

Refreshing cocktails in mason jars over wooden background

Refreshing cocktails in mason jars over wooden background

Making gin in jars

Drinking ‘jam-jar cocktails’ is all the rage these days, but indulging can be a costly business when out and about. Instead, why not make your own, and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home? One of the most popular choices is delicious gin in a jar. It’s the perfect drinks party tipple or antidote to a stressful day at work.

What you need for gin in a jar

You won’t need a lot to make this cool taste of summer; just a large jar or individual serving jars with lids, 50ml of gin, two small bottles of tonic water and some fresh strawberries.

The cocktail experts at Revolution suggest using Bloom gin, or swapping this – and the strawberries – for Beefeater gin and a grapefruit and lemon garnish. Of course, what you prefer will depend on your personal taste and you can have lots of fun trying to find out what you like the best.

As well as the jars and the fresh ingredients and gin, you might also need a little outside space and a deck chair. There’s no better way to enjoy a gin, after all. Even in the rain, gin in jars can bring your inner sunshine out.

The method for making gin in a jar

Gin in a jar is really, really easy. In fact, it has to be one of the easiest cocktails to try. This means that you’ve really got no excuse not to give it a go – if you’re a fan of gin, of course!

Start by filling a large jar or several smaller serving jars with lots of cubed ice. Add your chosen gin and your strawberries, or other fruits. Then, simply top with the tonic water and start to share it around.

Using individual serving jars can make the whole process of making gin in jars as simple and mess-free as possible, although there’s nothing quite like opening the fridge to the sight of a gloriously large jar of gin nestling within.

Once you’ve mastered the delicious gin recipe, you could try out some other jam jar cocktails. It would be rude not to, especially if you’ve invested in some great drinking jars.
These open the door to a whole realm of possibilities; from decadent cocktails and mocktails served up with the summer barbecue to an unusual mulled wine serving suggestion. Who said that drinking from jars could only be a summer pursuit?

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