Category Archives: Inspiration

Jam jar craft ideas

Jam jar craft ideas

Pink roses in jars on rustic wood shelf for Valentines DAy.

January can be such a tricky month. After the expense of Christmas, the next payday can seem such a very long way off; in addition, with the weather distinctly chilly and the evenings still dark so early, it can be difficult to know how to fill these evenings – especially if you have children. Fear not, as in today’s blog post we have come up with some budget-busting ideas for how to transform some old jam jars with fun and inspiring craft projects.

Turn a jam jar into a fairy house

Our first idea, which children will absolutely love, is to transform a humble jam jar into a tiny fairy house. For this project you will need polymer clay, such as Fimo, in several colours, which many children already have; if not, you can source this from craft stores or toy shops. Of course, you will also need an old jam jar. First, roll out a flat panel of polymer clay and shape it around the jam jar, cutting out a panel for the door and two small windows. In brown clay, cut out a shape for the door, with a tiny heart-shaped window, and fix this into the gap you left for the door. You can score lines in the door to give it a wooden effect, and stick on a tiny button as a doorknob. Decorate the sides of the fairy house with Fimo, shaping it into trees, flowers, or anything else you wish.

Next, take the lid and build up a roof for the fairy house, again using polymer clay. If you make the roof pointed, you will be able to lift the roof easily to pop in a tealight. Again, decorate the roof using Fimo and scoring the clay in whatever design you wish. Shaping and colouring the roof to look like a toadstool can be a fun idea. When you have decorated the jar and added any finishing touches, leave the clay to harden in accordance with the instructions on the pack. Once it is fully set, pop in a tealight for a cute and whimsical effect. For safety reasons, never leave a tealight unattended or in a child’s bedroom.

Turn a jam jar into a pincushion

If your children love sewing, why not help them to create their very own pincushion and sewing store? Fill the jam jar with needles, thread, buttons and other bits, then glue a piece of foam onto the top of the lid and cover it with pretty fabric for an instant pincushion.

Who knew jam jars could be such fun!

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Marmalade season recipe ideas

Marmalade season recipe ideas

Citrus jam in glass jar, selective focus

As the end of the year draws closer, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is little on offer for the keen home preserves enthusiast. Fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply, so there is little left with which to make any pickles or preserves; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The marmalade season is almost upon us; in fact, the first of this year’s Seville oranges are already starting to make an appearance in the grocery stores. Now is the time to hunt out some glass jars for marmalade making, think about some new recipes, and look forward to the new year with a batch of delicious marmalade. Read on for a tasty marmalade recipe idea and some tips for choosing the right jars.

Choosing your marmalade jars

We are big fans of marmalade here at Wares, so we always heartily recommend making a lot of it. Not everyone is such a fan, however, so you might want to choose some of our smaller glass jars for marmalade making so that each jar is not open for too long once it is in use. Indeed, many people opt for making individual jars of marmalade in our miniature jars in the style of a hotel or B&B breakfast. For us, however, the 8oz jam jars are perfect for marmalade, along with the Bonne Maman-style jars.

A recipe for those marmalade jars


1kg Seville oranges
4 lemons
2kg granulated sugar
125g root ginger


Peel the oranges and slice the peel into very thin pieces.

Squeeze the juice from the oranges and add to two litres of water. Put the orange pulp and pips in a muslin cloth and place in the juice/water overnight, along with the strips of orange peel.

In the morning, tip the juice into a maslin pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the ginger, chopped very finely. Simmer on a medium heat for about one hour.

Remove the muslin cloth and leave the pan to cool slightly.

Add the sugar to the pan and bring to the boil again. Squeeze any remaining juice from the muslin cloth into the pan. Whilst the marmalade is boiling, remove any froth or scum that forms on the surface to ensure a clear preserve. Keep boiling for 15 minutes, then test for a good set. You can use the cold plate method or a jam thermometer, which should reach 105°C.

Once setting temperature is achieved, carefully spoon the marmalade into sterilised jars. Label and store in a cool place.

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Plastic Jars for Home Storage

Plastic Jars for Home Storage

Variety Chinese New Year cookies in plastic jars

With the nights drawing in and Christmas approaching, many of us start to think about getting ready for the festive season. For some, this brings a feeling of panic about having to declutter the house and have a good old tidy-up before the in-laws arrive for Christmas lunch. If your kitchen looks like it needs a decluttering makeover, help is at hand. Today, we explain how to get organised in simple steps so that you can tackle your clutter in an effective way.

Plastic jars are the answer

Are you sometimes afraid to open a kitchen cupboard for fear of packets of food falling out onto the floor? Do you despair when trying to find the stock cubes or a packet of sultanas on your shelves? The answer to this common problem is to organise the contents of your kitchen cupboards using plastic jars and storage containers.

If you use a range of plastic jars to store items such as flour, sugar, cereals, pasta and biscuits, it makes it easy to keep everything neatly arranged. Plastic sweet jars, such as the ones we used to see in the sweet shop when we were small, are ideal for kitchen storage. It is easy to spot at a glance what is in each jar; in addition, they sit neatly side by side on your shelves, maximising space. With screw top lids, plastic sweet jars are airtight and will keep their contents fresh and safe from harmful germs.

For smaller items, simply use smaller jars and stack them on top of one another to keep everything in order. Buy different coloured lids to build a colour-coded system to help find the right jar quickly. Try to place similar items together on the shelves to make finding things as easy as possible; for example, store all your home baking supplies together, all pasta items together, and all herbs and spices together.

Our range of plastic jars

We have a huge range of plastic sweet jars to help you get your kitchen clutter under control. The traditional large sweet shop jars are available in 3,907ml and 4,430ml sizes, whilst the half-sized, square jars come in 2,534ml and 2,667ml sizes. Our spherical plastic PET jars are also hugely popular as child-friendly biscuit containers. As they are plastic, they stand up to wear and tear and can survive being knocked off the counter by eager biscuit hunters!

Plastic storage works well elsewhere in the house, of course. Try these techniques in the bathroom, the children’s playroom or a craft or hobby room for an instant tidiness overhaul.

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Using food jars for home made baby food

Using food jars for home made baby food

baby food

We are what we eat, and this is especially true for babies. To stay healthy, babies and young children need a balanced and nutritious diet packed with all the vitamins and nutrients they need for sustained growth and development. With so many food scares and alarmist stories in the media, more and more parents are considering making their own baby food so that they can be 100 per cent sure of what they are feeding their children. Whilst creating an entire range of baby food is beyond the scope of this post, we want to share how to create a few simple items to start you on the journey to homemade, nutritious baby food.

Using the right food jars

If you are going to prepare your own baby food and store it properly, you need to use the right jars and to sterilise them thoroughly whenever you use them. Rather than making large jars of any meal, it is preferable to use smaller glass food jars that are suitable for just one portion. In this way, you don’t have to store a half-used pot of food in the fridge, and everything can be kept clean and germ-free. Our 125ml Bonta jam jars are ideal, as are the 110ml deluxe glass food jars and the 106ml globe jam jars.

What to put in those food jars

One good strategy for making baby food is to plan all the meals that you will need for one week and prepare them in one batch to store in the fridge. With a few exceptions, you can prepare mashed or pureed versions of the meals you plan to have yourself, if you wish. Mashed root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips and swedes, will provide valuable vitamins and minerals, whilst pureed avocado mixed with natural yoghurt will give a splash of colour with health-boosting probiotics. Don’t be afraid of using seasoning in baby foods, as your baby can tolerate different flavourings and will appreciate the variety of tastes. This does not mean you should serve very spicy foods to babies, of course, with a degree of common sense required.

For desserts, there are all sorts of possibilities. Mashed roasted pears are delicious, while apple sauce is usually a firm favourite. Mango can be mixed with a little yoghurt and then blitzed in a food processor to create a nutritious fruity dessert, while blueberries can be pulped, with a little water and cereal added to bulk up this tasty dish.

If reheating in a microwave, always remember to check carefully for hot spots in the food.

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Homemade dandelion and burdock in a swing top bottle

Homemade dandelion and burdock in a swing top bottle

last drop of empty water bottle on white background

If you are a child of the seventies, you may well have fond memories of the ‘pop man’ – a home delivery service for fizzy drinks whereby a man in a van would bring weekly treats of lemonade, cherryade, ginger beer, cream soda and our personal favourite, dandelion and burdock. If you are a little younger, you have probably barely heard of dandelion and burdock, as it is a fizzy drink that has for some reason fallen out of fashion in more recent times. Fear not, as we have a recipe for creating your own dandelion and burdock drink so that you can taste it for yourselves. Read on to find out how to make this quirky drink.

First, grab a swing top bottle or two

As with all preserving and home cooking projects, the first step is to ensure you have the right equipment to hold the finished product. Swing top glass bottles are ideal for this project, as they keep the contents fresh and fizzy and add a vintage touch that matches the old-school dandelion and burdock flavours perfectly.

Always make sure that you sterilise your bottles properly before filling them, as failure to do this correctly can lead to spoiled results.


150g ground burdock root
75g ground dandelion root
½ tsp ground ginger
½ a vanilla pod
1 star anise, ground
Juice of 1 lemon
150g granulated sugar
1 litre of cold water


– Add all the ingredients, except the sugar, to a large saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid through a straining sieve or muslin cloth to remove any pieces. Whilst the liquid is still hot, stir in the granulated sugar, ensuring that it dissolves fully.

– Once cool, pour into sterilised glass bottles and place in the fridge.

– To serve, mix like a cordial with soda water and add ice.

Our swing top bottle range

When it comes to swing top glass bottles, our range is hard to beat. From small 250ml Costolata bottles to one-litre whoppers, the range covers all sorts of shapes and sizes. Our 250ml deluxe swing top bottles are one of our most popular bottles, along with the Kilner 250ml swing tops that come in pastel shades of green, pink and blue in addition to clear glass. For making individual drinks to take on a picnic, for example, we recommend the 250ml bottles; for making a large quantity of dandelion and burdock to dilute on an ad-hoc basis, the one-litre size is more appropriate.

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Ideas for Lunch on the Go

Ideas for Lunch on the Go using Glass Jars


If you go out to work every day, the chances are that over time you’ve tried just about every sandwich shop and takeaway outlet within a one mile radius of your office or workplace. That means you’ve probably tried all manner of sandwiches, wraps, paninis and other lunchtime treats, as you try desperately hard not to get bored of the same old thing every day. If you’re fed up of dull old sandwiches from your local haunt and you’ve had enough of paying a small fortune each week for your lunch, it’s time to look again at taking a packed lunch.

Packed lunches these days don’t have to involve a Tupperware box with a limp ham sandwich and an apple, as things have got a whole lot more creative recently. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some fresh and mouthwatering ideas for lunch on the go.

Salads in Glass Jars

Homemade salad in glass jar with quinoa and vegetables. Healthy food, diet, detox, clean eating and vegetarian concept with copy space.

Using screw top jars to store fresh salads for your lunch is a brilliant idea. Each day, you can mix things up a little and take a new and exciting lunch to work, using whatever ingredients you have to hand. With your screw top jars at the ready, lunch need never be boring again, and you can even choose a healthier option by avoiding bread and processed meats.

The key to creating a delicious salad in a jar is to think in terms of layers. Throw all of your ingredients in willy-nilly and you will undoubtedly end up with a soggy and unappetising mess. Layer the ingredients carefully, though, and your salad will still be perfectly fresh and crunchy when it’s time to eat it.

The first layer to add should be your dressing of choice. Then add crunchy vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, celery and carrots. After this layer, add ingredients that you’d like not to get soaked in dressing, but that won’t go mushy if they do get a little dressing on them. These ingredients might include mushrooms, courgettes, sweetcorn, kidney beans and lentils. Next up are the more delicate ingredients, such as boiled egg or feta cheese, followed by something like rice, couscous or pasta. The very last layer should be any leaf vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, microgreens or alfalfa.

Choosing Suitable Glass Jars

Screw top jars are perfect for this kind of salad in a jar lunch, as they will keep everything safe and sound inside the jar, with no leaks or spills. Check out our range of Kilner jars and Mason jars, to find the perfect size for your packed lunch.

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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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Recipe for strawberry balsamic and black pepper jam

Recipe for strawberry balsamic and black pepper jam 

Fresh juicy strawberries on vintage enamelware on rustic background

Wimbledon is in full swing and the sun is shining, which can only mean one thing: it is strawberry season. If you have a strawberry patch at home or you love going to the pick-your-own farm to gather a huge basket or two of fresh, juicy strawberries, you will no doubt be wondering what to do with them all. A bowl of fresh strawberries and ice cream is all very delicious, but sometimes you need a few extra ideas for how to use them, especially if you have a glut. Strawberry jam is a perennial favourite, but it is sometimes fun to freshen up the traditional recipe and try something a little different. Read on to find out how balsamic vinegar and pepper can add a great twist to your next batch of jam.

Strawberry jam with balsamic vinegar and black pepper 

You might think that this recipe sounds a little peculiar, but you really do have to try it to discover just how good it is. Here is the recipe:


400g fresh strawberries
300g sugar
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp water
1 tsp crushed black pepper


Remove the green tops from the strawberries and chop roughly. Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, skimming any jam scum from the top. Test the jam for setting point using a jam thermometer or the chilled saucer method – it should be thick and slightly clear. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

This jam works just as brilliantly with savoury things as it does in sweet dishes. Try it with cheese and crackers, or spread on goat’s cheese on toast. Add it to natural yoghurt, ice cream or crème fraîche for a tasty dessert, or try it as a sauce to go with fresh fish, such as mackerel.

More strawberry jam with a twist

If this recipe has piqued your interest for jazzing up your strawberry jam making, take a look online for more quirky recipes. Try strawberry chilli jam for another variation with a spicy kick, or have a go at strawberry and basil jam, strawberry and mint jam, or even strawberry and almond jam. It is definitely worth looking around your plot to see what you have a glut of and then searching online to see whether there is a recipe available for the combination. Even if there is not a recipe already, there is no harm in experimenting and trying out some unusual combinations. If Heston Blumenthal can do it, so can you!

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Lemons in the home

Lemons in the home 

Bowl with fresh lemons on blue wooden background. Top view

Whilst few of us aspire to a fully self-sufficient lifestyle, more and more people in the UK are switching on to the joys of making their own pickles and preserves, baking their own bread, and preparing simple and nutritious meals by hand, rather than relying on processed food from the supermarket. Once you take the plunge with home cooking and home making, it can become quite addictive, as you realise that it’s not nearly so complicated or time-consuming as you first thought. One area that often gets overlooked, though, when switching from supermarket products to homemade, is that of household chores and cleaning. In today’s post, we take a look at how you can use lemons and other simple items in a variety of cleaning tasks, for a natural, chemical-free alternative to harsh shop-bought cleaning products.

Household tips using lemons

Lemons, or lemon juice, can be used in all sorts of clever ways to clean and disinfect around the home. If your kitchen bin is a little smelly, for example, try rubbing a lemon over the inside surface, or spraying it with lemon juice. If you’ve had a calamity with your microwave, and the sides are coated in food splatters and gunk, try this simple lemon trick to get it squeaky clean in no time. Pour about 150ml of water into a Pyrex jug, then squeeze the juice of a lemon into it, and then add the lemon peels. Place the jug in the microwave and heat for about three minutes. Leave the microwave door closed for another five minutes, to let the lemony steam work its magic on the microwave walls. Take the jug out, and wipe the walls, ceiling and floor of the microwave with a damp cloth. Hey presto, your microwave will be sparkling clean.

More household tips using other simple ingredients

Whilst a simple lemon can work wonders, sometimes it needs to be combined with another item, to really pack a punch, cleaning-wise. It’s easy to make a simple lemon-based cleaning spray, using lemon peels, white vinegar and herbs. Take a large mason jar and collect old lemon peels in it, until it’s about half full. Throw in some fresh herbs, and then top up the jar with white vinegar. Seal the jar, and allow it to stand for at least two weeks, but longer if possible. Over that time, the lemon and herbs will infuse into the vinegar, to give you a zingy, fresh liquid. After the two weeks, strain the liquid into a spray bottle, ready to use. You can use this spray just like any other household cleaning spray.

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Cosmetic Creations for Cosmetic Jars

Cosmetic Jars and creations to go in them.

fresh as spring flowers

If making your own jams, pickles and preserves and canning your own fruit and vegetables is part of a drive towards self-sufficiency and a back-to-basics yearning for less consumerism in your life, why not look into making your own cosmetics and toiletries? With a few simple and natural ingredients and some suitable jars, you could soon rustle up your own cleansing lotion, moisturiser, hand cream, foot lotion, body scrub and more. Today, we are going to focus on just one of these to show you how easy it is to make your own. Once you have tried this peppermint foot lotion recipe, you will never want to use a shop-bought alternative again and will find yourself inspired to fill more of our amber glass jars with your homemade creations.

 Choosing your cosmetic jars

 Whatever type of homemade cosmetics you plan to make, you will need a supply of jars. Here at Wares of Knutsford, we offer an extensive range of jars suitable for all types of homemade creams and potions. Our amber glass jars are especially popular for making your own cosmetics and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit every application. For the peppermint foot lotion we are talking about today, we recommend the 120ml amber glass jar.

 Peppermint foot lotion

 For this recipe, you will need:

60ml shea butter

60ml coconut oil

2 tbsp olive oil

12-15 drops peppermint essential oil

 Here are the simple steps you need to take to make this lotion:

 –Put the butter and coconut oil in a glass bowl and melt the ingredients over a pan of water on a gentle heat.

– Once melted, add the olive oil and leave to cool slightly.

– Stir in the essential oil and then whisk vigorously until the mixture is creamy.

– Transfer the mixture into your amber glass jars and store in a warm place.

 Need more cosmetic jars?

 After a long day at work, or out in the garden, your feet can be in need of some TLC, with this foot lotion just the ticket. It will soothe tired feet and moisturise the skin beautifully, leaving your tootsies in tip-top condition. As this recipe is so simple, it is also perfect for showing beginners just how easy homemade cosmetics can be. Once you have had a go at this recipe, you will be keen to try something more adventurous; in no time at all, your bathroom cupboards will be stocked with gorgeous, natural products that you made yourself. Knowing you have made your cosmetics yourself is enough to make you feel better on its own!


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Wonderful Wedding Jars

Wonderful wedding jars

Old-fashioned, romantic wedding themes are very much on trend, as are country cottage and rustic themes. Pretty English native flowers, pastel colours and simple accessories all combine to give the romantic wedding theme a timeless charm that is hard to beat. In today’s post, we look at how our glass jars are being used by wedding couples across the country to help create their own unique and oh-so-romantic wedding theme.

 Romantic ideas for wedding jars

 For a simple, vintage-inspired look, many couples are choosing to make their own table centrepieces. If you would like to do this for your own wedding, try grouping several jars of different sizes together, with the largest jar containing a posy of traditional English flowers and the smaller jars holding scented tea lights. You can decorate the jars by sticking ivory lace to the outside, painting a design on them, or using a frosting lacquer to create an etched design that will allow the candle light to flicker through.

 If your wedding reception is outside or there is at least some outside element, consider hanging jars containing tea lights or fairy lights from the low branches of nearby trees. Tie the jars on using a traditional jute thread or simple twine. A group of these will look enchanting, bobbing around in a gentle breeze and providing a flickering and ephemeral light.

 Using wedding jars as favours

 Jars do not just work well as wedding centrepieces or vases; in addition, they make wonderfully simple containers for wedding favours. Fill small jars with old-fashioned sweets, such as candy Love Hearts or those delightful white chocolate buttons coated in hundreds and thousands. Screw on the lid, tie a pretty ribbon around the neck of the jar, and attach a label with a message for your guests. This idea is guaranteed to enchant everyone at your wedding, young and old.

 If sweet treats are not your thing, there are plenty of other ideas for wedding favours that would work brilliantly in jars. Shots of homemade infused spirits are always well received, so experiment with some different recipes to find the perfect tipple for your wedding. Rhubarb-infused vodka looks so pretty in pink and is ideal for serving in a small jar, while sloe gin is another firm wedding favourite and looks fabulous served in our smaller Kilner or Mason jars.


Whilst simple jars work best for the vintage-inspired wedding styles that are so popular these days, virtually any jar could be put to work to add a uniquely personal touch to your own wedding. Why not browse our range for some inspiration?
Lovely wedding table centrepiece, showing beautiful flowers in a unique wooden plinth and jars.

Lovely wedding table centrepiece, showing beautiful flowers in a unique wooden plinth and jars.


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Wedding Favour Jars

Wedding Favour Jars

 There used to be a TV game show during which the presenter would say to the contestants: ‘We asked 100 people to name …’. If we asked our customers to name things found in jars, most would surely answer ‘jam’, with perhaps some of them suggesting gherkins, chutney or even pickled eggs. Customers planning their own weddings, however, might answer very differently. Our customers come up with all manner of creative ideas for using our jars for weddings; for example, a great idea we see regularly is placing candles in jars for a pretty and romantic wedding display.

 Wedding jars and candles

 Brides and grooms often choose to create a centrepiece for each table at the wedding reception and sometimes have something similar inside the venue in which the ceremony is taking place. Jars with candles inside work brilliantly for this.

 Many wedding couples opt for simple jam jars, housing anything from tea lights to homemade beeswax candles for a charming, vintage-inspired theme for their wedding. Placed together in clusters of three or five, these can make gentle but uplifting focal points on wedding tables or along the walls of a church or wedding venue.

 Our globe jam jars are also perfect for holding tea light candles and look great with a thin pastel ribbon around the rim, chosen to tie in with the wedding theme.

 If you are planning a summer wedding with your reception in a marquee outside, it would be a delightful idea to hang jam jars from trees around the reception area with each containing a tealight. You could even paste crepe paper to the outside of the jars to make each a different colour. Twinkling in the summer evening, these jars would look oh-so romantic.

 For a larger centrepiece for a table, try a one-gallon pickling jar and place a thick white candle in the centre. For decoration, wrap a small amount of gypsophila around the lower part of the candle, well away from the flame. Place smaller jars around this for the best effect.

 Safety when using wedding jars and candles


Candles in jam jars make lovely wedding favours and decorations.

Candles in jam jars make lovely wedding favours and decorations.

Whenever you are using candles, some common-sense precautions are needed. Always ensure the flame of any candle will not touch the sides of the jar and never put a lid on a jar containing a candle. Tea lights are perfect in jars for weddings, as they come in their own small metal container that keeps things safe and free of candle wax. Always site your candles carefully where they cannot be accidentally knocked over, and ensure they are out of reach of children.


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Wedding Favour Jars

Lovely wedding table centrepiece, showing beautiful flowers in a unique wooden plinth and jars.

Lovely wedding table centrepiece using jars and wedding favours can be produced in jars to match when filled with jams or sweets.

Wedding favour jars

If you are planning a spring wedding for 2017 and still have some last-minute details to settle for the wedding reception, Wares of Knutsford could be the answer to your prayers. If you are struggling for inspiration for your wedding favours, read on to see how our extensive range of small jars and bottles could be just the thing to use for your wedding favours.

Which wedding favour jars to choose?

We have helped so many couples to find the perfect bottle or jar for their wedding favours that we decided to make an entire category on our website to showcase the most suitable jars and bottles. Some of our personal favourites include our vintage-inspired jars and bottles, such as the adorable 50ml Gladstone bottles with cork stoppers and the 100ml Nocturne glass bottles. These have an old-fashioned charm and will look fabulous on a country-inspired wedding reception table.

If you plan on giving alcoholic favours, our miniatures bottles are perfect. We have miniature whisky bottles, flask bottles and wine bottles, all of which will look stylish and professional when filled with a delicious tipple and decorated with ribbons and tags to match your wedding theme.

Speaking of ribbons and tags, these are just as important for your favours as the jars and bottles, or indeed the contents that you choose to fill them with. Again, we have some adorable tags and pretty ribbons to finish off your favours perfectly. Our white birdcage gift tag set is lovely and is just right for a romantic white wedding. Our heart-shaped tags are also popular for weddings, as are our pastel and hessian ribbons. These small details add up to make a unique and inspired wedding favour.

Ideas for wedding favour jars

The type of jar or bottle you choose for your favours will largely be determined by what you want to put in them. Traditional sugared almonds have largely fallen out of fashion nowadays, replaced by tastier treats such as homemade fudge, old-fashioned sweets and even little jars of honey. On the drinks front, miniature whisky bottles are very much on trend, along with infused vodkas and gins. Another lovely idea for the home preserves enthusiast is homemade elderflower champagne, with elderflower cordial for any children attending the wedding.

If your wedding date is drawing nearer and you are looking for some wedding favour inspiration, pop over to our dedicated wedding favours page to browse through our full collection of jars, bottles, tags and ribbons. In no time at all, you will be full of creative ideas for your own wedding.

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Maslin Pans for Christmas

Maslin Pans for Christmas

Cooked homemade cherry jam in the bowl and in the jar, organic meal and dessert concept

With just a month to go until Christmas Day, it is time to get those thinking caps on, to decide what gifts to give your friends and relatives this year. If there is someone in your life who you find it incredibly difficult to decide on a gift for, don’t worry – you are not alone. We at Wares can help you to find some fabulous gifts that will truly be appreciated by the recipient. In this post, we start off by looking at jam making equipment.

Maslin pans make great Christmas gifts

The beauty of giving a maslin pan as a gift, or any jam making equipment for that matter, is that it can bring so much pleasure for years to come. Jam making is such an easy thing to get into and requires no special knowledge or any real culinary flair. If the bug bites and you find you love making jam, you can let your imagination take over and experiment with more complex recipes; however, for the absolute beginner, it is perfectly easy to rustle up some delicious homemade jam at the first attempt. If the gift recipient is keen to get started with their home preserves straight after Christmas, they can always start by making a batch of marmalade, as Seville oranges are in season at that time of year.

What else, besides maslin pans?

Apart from a good maslin pan, there is very little other equipment that is essential for successful jam making. You need jars and lids to store your jam in, of course, and there are a number of optional extras that can make life easier for the jam maker. A jam thermometer is one good tool, and a jam spoon that can be hooked to the side of the maslin pan is also very handy. If you are on the messy side, you might find a jam funnel helpful when it comes to pouring the jam into the jars.

If you plan on giving an extra special gift, why not choose a jam making kit? Our kits have absolutely everything you need to get started in home preserves, including the maslin pan, thermometer, funnel, jam spoon, recipe book and, of course, jars, lids and labels. Our deluxe kit also includes the rather lovely Preserves book from the River Cottage Handbook Collection.

On the subject of books, a jam or preserves recipe book could be just the ticket if you need to buy for someone who has already started making jam. Check our website for our full range of jam making books.

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Festive fun with large glass jars

Festive fun with large glass jars

If you think our jars are only used for making jams and preserves, you would be very much mistaken. Crafters have long recognised the potential of glass jars as vessels for their imaginative creations. In today’s post, we look at a few festive ideas for using large jars, such as our one gallon pickle jar.

Creative ideas in large glass jars 

Edible gift Idea: oatmeal cookies mix in the glass jar on a rustic wooden table.Toned image.Selective focus

It is easy to create unique Christmas decorations using large pickle jars. Try filling a jar one-third full with fake snow, or cotton wool, and then add pine cones, holly or tiny Christmas tree decorations to create a wintry scene. Pop the lid on and finish off with a colourful festive ribbon for a clever and very individual decoration for a sideboard or windowsill.

Another brilliant idea is to pop some fairy lights into a jar to create a Christmas lamp. Try using a glitter pen on the outside of the jar to add stars or snowflakes. The only limit here is your imagination!

If you are handy with a paintbrush, why not have a go at painting the outside of the jar to create a Santa’s face, or perhaps a snowman? A jar decorated in this way would make a great container for Christmas sweets or nuts; alternatively, a snowy scene painted on the outside of the jar would make a great tea light holder. Leave some of the glass unpainted to allow the candle light to flicker through.

One idea we really love is to use a 1 gallon pickle jar as a piggy bank. Cut a slot in the lid to add your coins and decorate the outside of the jar. If you are saving for a holiday, for example, paint travel-related items on the jar. Don’t paint too much, as you will want to see how your savings are growing!

Christmas gifts in large glass jars 

Homemade Christmas gift - ingredients for making hot chocolate with marshmallows in a glass jar on a wooden surface

One idea that is trending right now is adding all the ingredients for a recipe into a 1 gallon pickle jar and giving it as a gift. Add a packet of upmarket cocoa to a jar, then fill the rest with marshmallows. Seal the lid and add a bottle of Irish cream liqueur on the side for a gift that is sure to be well received. For a non-alcoholic version, layer all the ingredients for making chocolate chip cookies and finish with a stylish contemporary label and some ribbon.

We have only touched on a few ideas here, but it just goes to show that even a humble glass jar can be transformed into something amazing with a little imagination.

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Drinks dispensers for party time

Infused water bottles in party tent orange and lemon water with small taps wine in background

Drinks dispensers for party time

‘Tis the season to be jolly, with big Christmas parties and smaller, more intimate gatherings taking place across the country from now until the New Year. No matter what style of party you are planning, one thing is for certain – someone always gets the unenviable task of making sure all the guests have a full glass at all times. There is a solution to this perennial problem, however, and it comes in the form of glass drinks dispensers.

What are glass drinks dispensers?

Drinks dispensers are a great idea for parties. These glass dispensers typically hold between five and eight litres and come with a wide top opening and a low tap for self-service drinks delivery. The wide opening at the top makes it easy to add ice or fruit, while the sealed lid means less mess and no spills.

Our range of glass drinks dispensers

We stock a variety of drinks dispensers from Kilner and other suppliers. The Kilner dispensers all have the iconic Kilner styling for a vintage chic look and have the trademark clip-top lid with the familiar orange rubber seal. The five-litre clear glass Kilner dispenser has the ‘Kilner Original’ logo moulded on the front of the dispenser, while the larger eight- litre dispenser has a slight outwards curve in its design and a ridged effect to the glass, giving it a distinctive retro look. If a clear glass dispenser is not your style, the Kilner five-litre dispensers are also available in green, blue and pink for some pastel fun.

Our range of drinks dispensers is complemented perfectly by a wide variety of glass drinking jars. Match the two for an all-round vintage party feel.

What to serve?

It is all well and good deciding on the type of drinks dispenser for your Christmas parties, but you also need to decide what to serve in them. Straight drinks are fine, but a party is not a party without a little homemade creation in the form of a cocktail or a festive punch. Warm punch with spices always goes down well at Christmas; however, don’t forget to allow your punch to cool slightly before pouring into the dispensers, as these items can hold liquids up to a maximum temperature of 80°C.

Prosecco cocktails are guaranteed to get the party swinging – add one part brandy to four parts prosecco, along with a splash of Angostura bitters and a little cane sugar. Alternatively, make a fruity prosecco cocktail by pouring the prosecco into the drinks dispenser and adding some clementine, pomegranate, lime, grapefruit and passion fruit juice.

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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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Homemade face creams in cosmetic jars

Jar of white body care cosmetic cream, herbal oil extract bottle, fresh calendula flowers.

Homemade face creams in cosmetic jars

It is hard to switch on the TV without coming across another advert for a face cream, making wild claims about the rejuvenating properties of the cream and glossing it with talk of miracle ingredients with unpronounceable names. Taking a closer look at the ingredients list and the price tag is a good incentive to think about making your own unique face creams to put you 100 per cent in control of the ingredients you add to that clear glass cosmetic jar. Here we take a look at a simple homemade face cream recipe to get you started.

Fill those cosmetic jars

Before you embark on creating your very first homemade face cream, don’t forget that you will need jars to store it in. We have a range of suitable jars, from our 15ml clear glass cosmetic jar up to a 500ml jar. Our Laurence frosted jars are every inch as stylish as shop-bought cosmetics; therefore, there is no need to compromise on looks.


¼ cup cocoa butter
7 tbsp almond oil
4 tbsp shea butter
1 tbsp beeswax
½ cup aloe vera gel
½ cup hydrosol (floral water) or distilled water ½ tsp vitamin E oil
6 drops essential oils to suit your own tastes


– Sterilise the jars.

– Melt the cocoa butter, shea butter and beeswax in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

– Separately, combine the aloe vera gel with the hydrosol. You can use distilled water rather than hydrosol if preferred.

– When the oils have melted, pour them into a bowl with the almond oil and blend well using a mixer or blender. Slowly pour in the aloe and water mix, continuing to blend thoroughly until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Add the vitamin E oil and essential oils, ensuring they are mixed thoroughly.

– Pour the cream into the sterilised jars and seal with the lids. Any cream not likely to be used within one month should be stored in the fridge, where it will keep for up to six months.

The essential oils you use for this face cream can be varied to suit your own tastes. Orange and lemongrass give a fresh, zesty scent, whilst frankincense will add a deeper, more opulent note. Experiment to find what suits you best.

More ideas for cosmetic jars

Once the homemade cosmetics bug bites, it will be hard to stop; for example, you can also try homemade hand creams and body scrubs. Soon you will be ditching those expensive high street brands in favour of your own unique skincare range.

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Choosing and using food jars

Choosing and using food jars

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

Jars of jam and basket with cherry on background.

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

Food jars for gifts

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

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

Food jars for specific preserves

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

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

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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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