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What makes a good preserving pan?

What makes a good preserving pan?

Jar of tasty homemade strawberry preserve. Strawberries harvest needed to preserve.

There are a few essential pieces of equipment that every cook will need when it comes to making jams, jellies and chutneys, with a good maslin pan perhaps the most important. It might be tempting to think that you can get away with using a large saucepan to make your home preserves; however, an initial investment in a specially-designed maslin pan will be well worthwhile and your pan will repay you many times over during its lifetime. In today’s blog post, we take a look at the qualities of a good preserving pan and highlight what to look for when you are buying a new pan.

How to identify the best preserving pans

There are a few key features that make a preserving pan perfect for the job in hand. Perhaps most obviously, the pan should feel robust and strong, since it needs to be able to carry quite substantial amounts of fruit, sugar and liquid. The handle should feel sturdy and reliable, as you will need to tip the pan to pour the hot jam into jars. An additional handle on the side is a bonus, as this will help with tipping the pan as you pour the jam. Good pans are quite deep to help prevent the jam bubbling up and spitting during the cooking. The base of the pan should be fairly thick to give consistent heat distribution across the whole of the bottom of the pan and to prevent hotspots and burning.

The pan should have a measuring scale etched into the inside of the pan so that you can see how much liquid is in the pan; in addition, the top edge of the pan should have a lip for you to attach your jam thermometer.

Our range of preserving pans

We stock several different styles of maslin pan in our range, with sizes varying from nine litres down to a mini 4.5-litre pan. The nine-litre pan is a professional grade pan, made from stainless steel and with a 5mm sandwich base. A striking alternative is our eight-litre black enamelled pan, which can double up as a stylish stockpot when it is not being used for preserves.

The Kilner red enamelled pan is another great choice with its eight-litre capacity and an internal measuring gauge. Made from durable carbon steel, this pan combines stylish good looks with robust design.

If a larger pan is not for you, the 4.5-litre pan is perfect for making smaller quantities of jams or pickles.

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Ideas for Lunch on the Go

Ideas for Lunch on the Go using Glass Jars

food

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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Strainers for jam

Strainers for jam

Strawberry jam cooking encore of sugar.

When it comes to jams and jellies, we all have our own personal favourites, both in terms of flavour and consistency. Some like a traditional strawberry jam with big chunks of fruit, while others prefer a raspberry jam full of seeds or a blackcurrant jam that is perfectly smooth and almost translucent. No matter what fruit you use to make your jam or jelly, it is possible to get a different texture simply by straining the fruit. In today’s post, we take a look at the pros and cons of straining and at the various ways in which you can strain your fruit mixture.

Using a strainer for jam making

Most people decide to strain a jam because they want it to be totally smooth and free of bits of fruit. Whether a super smooth jam is technically a jelly is a question for the purists among us, but there is no denying that this type of preserve makes a very nice change sometimes. Certain fruits, such as blackcurrants and redcurrants, suit this approach much better, while some people prefer to strain fruits that are full of seeds, such as raspberries, so that there are no ‘pips’ in the finished product.

Over in our online store, we have several different options for straining jam. The good, old-fashioned way, as practised by our mothers and grandmothers, is either muslin or cheesecloth. These are both 100 per cent cotton and serve exactly the same purpose when it comes to straining jam.

The tricky part of straining jam is suspending the straining cloth over a bowl or pan for long enough to allow all the juices to flow through. Luckily, there is no need to stand around holding the cloth yourself or to rig up some kind of precarious contraption to try to hang the cloth over the bowl, as we offer three different types of straining kit to make life simple. The first is a straining bag, which has straps that are attached to a hook at the top. This makes it easy to hook the bag up, perhaps on a wall cupboard door handle, to allow the contents of the bag to drip through into a bowl below. The other two kits both work on a different principle – a frame that clips onto the bowl or saucepan and holds the straining bag in place.

Other jam making equipment

In addition to straining equipment, we offer a number of other jam making extras, such as jar lifting tongs, thermometers, funnels and jam spoons.

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Buy Mason jars in bulk

Mason Jars in BulkBuy Mason jars in bulk

Once bitten by the home preserving bug, it is easy to get hooked. Each month something new is in season, with more recipes to try and culinary adventures to embark upon. Many new preserving fans are taken rather by surprise when they find just how many jars they need to hold all the delicious creations they want to make, which is where a bulk Mason jars purchase comes in – with plenty of jars in store, you will always be ready when the preserving mood strikes.

Mason jars bulk purchase

By buying our Mason jars in bulk, you will always have enough clean, empty jars to hand when you want to do some home preserves. If you are planning on canning fruits such as apples, plums, lemons, peaches or pears, you will definitely need a large supply of jars, as you don’t get many of each fruit into a jar, even when using the large one-litre jars. Those one-litre jars are also great for pickled eggs. If you keep your own hens and have a glut of eggs, why not have a go at pickling them?

Mason jars bulk savings

We offer our Mason jars and Kilner jars in packs of 6, 12 or 18, with the per jar cost reducing with the larger pack sizes. If you really don’t need 18 jars but have some friends who also love home preserves, why not club together to buy a bulk pack to save money on both the cost of the jars and the delivery charges?

Our bulk Mason jars are also ideal for anyone who is making preserves as an artisan producer or on a commercial scale for sale at farmers’ markets and local delis. From pickled onions in the larger jars to lemon curd or pigeon pâté in the small Familia Wiss terrine jars, the public love buying preserves in these traditional-style jars. If you are selling your preserves to the general public, it is vital to keep a tight rein on costs. Our Mason jars bulk offers are a great way to present a professional-looking product in a cost-effective way.

Whether you are preparing hundreds of jars a week for sale locally or you simply want to stock your pantry full of delicious home-canned goodies for the long winter months ahead, buying your jars in bulk and having plenty to hand is a sensible approach. Stock up, browse some new recipes and get canning!

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Mini Whisky Bottles

Mini Whisky BottlesMini Whisky Bottles

Everyone loves to receive a homemade gift; in addition, many of us love making these homemade gifts. If you are looking for some fresh inspiration and new ideas for what to give this coming Christmas, look no further – we have some great suggestions for ways to fill our small empty whisky bottles. If you are planning your wedding, you should also read on for some great ideas on using these mini bottles as wedding favours.

Using mini whisky bottles for Christmas gifts

Whilst purists may disagree, whisky is something of a wintertime treat for many of us. There is nothing more comforting on a cold evening than sitting by a roaring log fire with a warming glass of whisky, which makes these mini bottles the perfect Christmas gift. Rather than simply filling them with standard whisky, why not try an infused whisky to give the gift that personal touch?

Granted, whisky is less easy to use for an infused spirit than gin or vodka, as it has its own much more distinctive taste to start with. With a little creative thinking, however, some really good tastes can be achieved. Try orange and vanilla infused whisky, or apple and cinnamon for a real Christmassy aroma and a delicious taste. Another winter favourite is honey and ginger infused whisky, which has the advantage of potentially being something of a cold remedy into the bargain.

To present these mini whisky bottles as a charming gift, try giving them as a set of three or five mixed flavours nestled in a presentation box with paper or raffia packing.

Using mini whisky bottles as wedding favours

Today’s bride and groom want to be involved in every small detail of their wedding, with the details on the wedding tables no exception. Wedding favours get ever more creative and we are seeing a big trend for giving something a little more unusual. One customer told us that they used these mini bottles for favours at their wedding, with the men receiving a bottle of whisky and the women receiving a bottle containing damson gin.

It is not essential to put whisky in these little bottles, as they are suitable for all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic infusions. For a real taste of summer, try strawberry tequila, mango vodka or raspberry infused gin.

As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to fill these dinky empty whisky bottles. All you need is some spirits, some simple fresh ingredients and a splash of imagination!

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The best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

Kitchen accessoriesThe best kitchen accessories from Wares of Knutsford

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

Kitchen accessories: our pick

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

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

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

Giving kitchen accessories as gifts

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

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Mason drinking jars with handles

kilner-drinkingMason drinking jars with handles

The trend for using Mason jars to serve drinks began a few years ago in East London’s hipster hotspot of Hoxton. Bars here began serving cool cocktails in Mason jars, just to be different. The trend rapidly caught on and spread throughout the capital and eventually across the country. The fashion for Mason drinks jars is now well and truly mainstream, with customers snapping them up for use at home. From birthday parties and summer barbecues to DIY wedding parties, Mason drinks jars can definitely add a special touch.

Standard Mason drinking jars

Our standard drinking jars are 450ml in size and come with a lid with a hole for a straw. Their sturdy handles make them comfortable to hold and the lid is great for minimising spills and keeping out those creepy-crawlies at outdoor events. There are plain gold lids, red gingham lids, and even lids with designs such as flowers. The 450ml size makes these jars ideal for serving everything from fruit punch and cocktails to beer and cider. The non-drinkers are not left out either, as iced tea or iced coffee looks fabulous served in these Mason drinking mugs.

Fancy Mason drinking jars

In addition to our basic range of drinking jars, we have some fancy options. If you would like a little colour, for example, we have packs comprising two red, two blue and two green jars, all with vintage-inspired lettering on the front to give an authentic retro feel.

The drinking jars in our Kilner range are 400ml in size and come in blue, green, pink and clear. There is also an adorable ‘fruit cocktail’ design in the Kilner range, with the jar decorated with a colourful fruity pattern, and a ‘fruit punch’ design, again with a bright and breezy fruit design on the jar.

To complement our Mason drinks jars, we have a range of glass drinks dispensers. Again, these come in a range of different colours and styles and sit perfectly with our drinking jars to create a delightful overall impression.

Whether you are planning a big barbecue for all your friends and neighbours or are preparing for your own wedding, using Mason drinking jars will add a little sparkle and a splash of colour to your event. As with many of our products, these drinking jars are available to buy in bulk packs, offering tremendous value for money.

Grab a drinking jar, pour yourself a refreshing drink, and sit back and enjoy.

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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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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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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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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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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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Benefits of Allotment Gardening

Benefits of Allotment Gardening

Allotments have been enjoying a resurgence in the last decade as people have discovered the immense pleasure they bring. It’s thought that the idea of common ground for growing food can be traced as far back as the Anglo Saxon period. The ‘modern’ allotment dates back to the 19th century when land was provided to the poor to enable them to grow food to improve their health.

Allotment benefits

Today’s allotment owners come from all sorts of backgrounds. The appeal is enormous. Not only can you grow your own fruit and veg, which definitely tastes much better than shop-bought alternatives, but there are other benefits to be had.

Firstly, you know exactly what you’re growing and where it’s come from; there’s no need to worry about food miles when you’ve got an allotment. Secondly, gardening is good for the body and soul. According to the National Allotment Society, just 30 minutes of gardening will burn 150 calories.

In addition to being great exercise, which improves physical and mental health, being outdoors will also improve your vitamin D levels (just don’t forget the sun screen and hats for when the sun finally comes out). And finally, the allotment is a place to meet up with like-minded fellow allotment owners. And a bit of chat over the garden fork is a lovely way to lift the spirits.

Allotment benefits in your kitchen

You do need to put in the effort but thousands of allotment owners will tell you that it’s definitely worth it, even when the weather is being less than clement. Once you’ve nurtured and tended your crops, it’s time for the best part: the harvest, and the eating.

Eating produce fresh out of the ground is of course fantastic, but this isn’t always possible. Preserving is a very old custom, and as a nation, we are famous for our jams, conserves, chutneys and pickles. Not only can you continue to enjoy your harvest throughout the year, but it’s also a great way to deal with a glut if you’re lucky enough to have one. And a jar of home-grown, home-made jam or chutney in a pretty jar makes a perfect gift – if you can bring yourself to part with it.

You don’t have to stop at pickling and preserving as your fruit and veg can play a starring role on the table in the form of casseroles, curries, cakes and pies. Ultimately, your meals will be all the more enjoyable for your allotment gardening efforts.

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Enjoy Your Own Lotions and Potions with a Glass Sirop Bottle

SiropEnjoy Your Own Lotions and Potions with a Glass Sirop Bottle

There is endless fun to be had from creating your own beautifully fragranced lotions and soothing oils and rubs, and Wares of Knutsford has everything you need to get you started. For centuries people have experimented with and discovered the natural properties of various herbs and plants, using them to treat all manner of ailments from the common cold to more serious conditions. With more people than ever before now becoming interested in more natural alternatives to over-the-counter remedies, creating your own homemade lotions from freshly sourced herbs, flowers and botanicals is a fantastic way to bring a bit of nature into your kitchen.

A Fantastic Range of Glass Sirop Bottles

Wares of Knutsford stock a truly fantastic range of bottles ideal for homemade lotions and potions. With clear or coloured sirop bottles in a variety of sizes and styles, you’ll easily be able to bottle and label a wide variety of homemade goodies, whether they be lavender-scented oils to sprinkle on your pillow for a better night’s sleep, or honey-based moisturisers to give you glowing skin.

Simply decanting a regular bought lotion into a vintage-looking sirop bottle can suddenly make it more appealing, and with cute little 30ml bottles and large one litre capacity bottles, you’re guaranteed to find something the right size for whatever you choose to store in it.

Sirop 2Glass Sirop Bottles Help You Get Creative

There are all sort of recipes readily available which will help you get stuck in to crafting your own homemade concoctions straight away. We have known for centuries about the different healing and restorative properties of various herbs and plants – lavender relaxes and aids sleep, chamomile can reduce feelings of anxiety, St John’s Wort can help alleviate flu symptoms.

With a little research and a little creativity, creating your own oils, lotions and liquid remedies can be a fun and easy pastime. Home-made products such as these can also make great alternative gifts for friends and family, especially when you present them in an eye-catching and appealing way by bottling them in a sirop jar.

The pleasure which comes from an ‘I made that’ moment cannot be bottled. With a sirop bottle for every imaginable homemade product, you’ll certainly find this form of experimenting in the kitchen is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have.

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What’s in a strawberry?

What’s in a strawberry?

It is not often that something so healthy and nutritious is also considered delicious and indulgent, but then the strawberry is a rather special fruit and a British favourite. Its season is short but glorious, so grab a punnet now!

All about strawberries

The strawberry is cultivated and prized worldwide. Scientifically it is not a berry but an ‘aggregate accessory fruit’, meaning it has been produced as the result of a merger of a number of separate ovaries within a single flower. Each tiny ‘seed’ is actually an ovary with a seed inside, with the flesh of the fruit acting as a holder for these multiple ovaries. They are prized for their sweet, sweet aroma, their tender flesh and abundant juice, their glorious flavour and their bright red, almost sensuous appearance.

The strawberry has been eaten in Europe since Ancient Roman times, has been used for its medicinal properties, and is often depicted in art thanks to its beauty. King Henry VIII’s lord chancellor Thomas Wolsey, was the first to marry the fruit with cream and create the classic British combination without which Wimbledon just would not be the same. In Sweden they are traditionally eaten to celebrate Midsummer Eve, while Greeks dip them in their local brandy, Metaxa, before eating.

Arguably at their best eaten fresh, particularly in rich desserts and cakes such as Victoria sponge, strawberries have a number of culinary applications; for example, they are preserved in jam and dried in cereal. Their flavouring is added to countless foods, such as milk and milkshakes, ice cream, yoghurts and sweets.

The nutritional content of strawberries

A serving of 100g is rich in valuable nutrients, particularly vitamin C, fibre, folate and manganese, while the oil in the seeds is a modest source of unsaturated fatty acids. This particular fruit has not been the subject of many studies regarding its effect upon human health; however, there is limited evidence suggesting that consumption can protect against cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Strawberries also contain certain phytochemicals, such as ellagitannins and quercetin, which have known anti-inflammatory properties. They have also been linked with reducing cholesterol and balancing blood sugar levels; in addition, they have a high content of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which may help to ward off chronic diseases and promote general good health. This is all in return for just 33 calories per 100g – until you add the cream, that is!

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What’s in season in June?

Seasonal Guide bannerWhat’s in season in June?

Some fruit and veg remain plentiful for up to six months of the year, while others need to be appreciated during a short but glorious season. June fruit and veg options are sweet and crunchy, juicy and delicious.

Peas and broad beans in season June

Peas are naturally sweet and are so attractive with their zesty colourway like tiny green marbles. You may be surprised to discover that a cup of peas also boasts a higher protein content than a whole egg! You can cook them or you can eat them raw; for example, mash them up with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and serve on bruschetta garnished with torn mozzarella pieces and fresh mint leaves. Alternatively, make a pasta salad with some cooked penne, lightly-cooked or raw peas, fresh mint leaves, feta cheese, a bag of rocket and a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil.

As with peas, it is tempting to pop broad beans straight into your mouth to enjoy their tasty crunchiness. Traditionally you eat these boiled and buttered, but there is a lot more you can do with broad beans. Serve raw as tapas with small chunks of pecorino cheese, or cook lightly and serve in salads. Try mixing lightly-cooked broad beans with leafy herbs such as mint, parsley, tarragon and chervil and serve with an olive oil and white wine vinegar dressing. This is so simple but tastes wonderfully sophisticated!

Strawberries in season June

There are other lovely June fruit and veg but it is hard to see past strawberries. In Britain we love our strawberries – they are the taste of summer and a symbol of one of our greatest sporting events. They are at their freshest and tastiest in June, ideal for picnics or with vanilla ice cream. There is not really any need to do anything with strawberries except eat them; however, you can serve yours with a simple, sophisticated twist.

How about marinating your strawberries in a mixture of lemon and orange zest and juice with a little caster sugar? Or you can serve them well chilled and topped with whipped cream, meringue and some chopped mint for a fabulous mix of colours.

It is hard to imagine such a thing as left-over strawberries; however, if you do have some, try making your own jam – it is easy and delicious!

Also keep an eye out this month for asparagus, chicory, crab, gooseberries, lamb, French beans, hare, mackerel, mangetout, raspberries, tomatoes, new potatoes, radishes, rocket, spring onions, watercress and sardines.

Get your Free Seasonal Growing Guide here

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The best cream enamelware

cream-enamel-cookware-bannerThe best cream enamelware

Wares of Knutsford is full of gorgeous items to help you achieve that oh-so-fashionable vintage look in your kitchen. One of the key components of our vintage kitchenwares department is our range of enamelware, which is as good looking as it is practical.

The range includes serveware and cookware in the traditional white and blue enamel colourway and also in some modern-looking colours, such as black, red and blue, and an extensive range of cream enamel cookware. These are made by Falcon from high-quality steel with a double enamel coating and feature a smart grey rim. Enamelware is popular in cooking for its even heat distribution and durability – these items will last a lifetime, and probably longer!

The cream enamelware range at Wares of Knutsford

Our cream enamel cookware range includes baking pans in 29cm and 34cm sizes. These come with useful deep sides to keep the contents of the pan safe and curved corners for easy cleaning. There are also a 22cm pie dish for traditional cooking and a 26cm mini roasting pan. You can also buy oval-shaped covered roasters in 22.5cm and 30cm sizes, which help to ensure roasted meat remains moist and tender by self-basting. A handle on each side makes them easy to use even when hot.

A four loaf cream enamel breadbin looks great on a kitchen worktop and is large enough to hold four full-sized loaves or a number of cakes and rolls. The cream enamel teapot looks stylish on a kitchen range and is the perfect choice for camping, picnics and days out.

If you want to really go retro, we also stock a cast iron cream enamel fondue set by Master Class, which is ideal for meat, cheese or even chocolate fondues. It comes gift boxed and includes six colour-coded forks.

There are also a couple of cream enamel whistling kettles, suitable for all kinds of hobs including induction.

Why buy cream enamelware?

Apart from the obvious cosmetic appeal of classic, smooth cream enamel and the nostalgic pull of using the kind of kitchenware you watched your grandmother use when you were a child, enamel is also an extremely practical material. Enamelware is made on a base of durable steel with a tough porcelain coating. It is resistant to chemicals and burns and while it may chip, it won’t break if you drop it on a hard surface. It offers an even conduction of heat during cooking, it is easy to clean and is oven safe up to temperatures of 270°C. It is also dishwasher safe and suitable for use on electric and gas hobs.

Our Range of Cream Enamelware

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Buy jars in bulk and save money

bargainBuy jars in bulk and save money

Some of our most popular products at Wares of Knutsford are our bulk buy jars and bottles. We pride ourselves on our customer-friendly pricing at all times; however, our bargain packs are particularly great value and convenient for those who need to buy jars in larger volumes.

Buy jars in bulk to save money

When you bulk buy jars, bottles and other products, economies of scale enable us to pass on significant cost savings to our customers. Our bulk buy deal includes 192 jars or bottles plus lids, where appropriate, and is available on all our most popular jars. As usual our £6.95 flat postage rate applies, even on large orders, which means you really are getting good value for money.

Bulk buy or wholesale?

We offer wholesale terms and conditions for customers buying products with a minimum order value of £450 and in pallet-sized quantities; however, if you do not need this kind of volume, our bulk buy deals are the best way to buy a large number of jars for small businesses, for those serious about their preserving, or even for groups of friends who want to buy together to save money.

Buy jars in bulk in a variety of sizes and styles

The bargain packs department includes our standard and deluxe jam jars with a choice of lid colours and some more unusual or decorative styles, such as square, globe and hexagonal-shaped jars. Honey jars, Bonta jars, chutney jars, Bonne Maman-style jars and smart verrine jars for pâtés and pastes are also available as bargain packs in various sizes.

Bulk buy jam jar sizes start with the 41ml miniatures and go up to the 500ml deluxe jars, with a choice of lid colours. Clip top jars, spice jars, cosmetics jars and miniature whisky bottles can also be bought in bargain packs, which are great for small businesses, wedding favours and homemade gifts.

Custom mixed packs

If you have a large number of jars to buy but can’t find exactly what you want among our bargain packs, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss a custom mixed pack. We have often created these for businesses and weddings and will make up a pack to suit your exact requirements, priced individually. This allows you to mix and match and to specify some more unusual items while still making savings.

Buy jars in bulk and save money

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Baking Accessories Website

the-kitchenBaking accessories website

At Wares of Knutsford the mainstay of our business is preserving equipment, bottles and jars; however, in recent years we have expanded our product range to include some wonderful kitchenwares and other cooking accessories. The success of TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off has seen a new interest in home baking and we would like to introduce you to our accessories for baking department.

Cake baking accessories

Whether your speciality is a classic Victoria sponge, a hearty apple pie or delicate macaroons, we have the accessories for baking needed by both amateur and professional bakers. The range starts with scales, weights and measuring tools in metric and imperial denominations; in addition, we have sieves, sifters and a great selection of flour dredgers.

The next accessories are a delicious collection of Mason Cash mixing bowls, the sturdy, traditional design of which has been a familiar feature of British kitchens for more than 200 years. You can then choose from a comprehensive selection of baking tins and sheets in non-stick and silicone finishes, including mini tart tins, quiche tins, loose based tins, sandwich pans, spring form tins, fluted tins, loaf tins, and specially-shaped heart, savarin and jumbo cupcake tins.

Pudding basins come in enamel, earthenware and plastic in a huge variety of sizes and styles from well-respected manufacturers such as Mason Cash and Falcon.

If pies are more your thing, there are plenty of pastry tools including shaped and lattice pastry cutters, pie funnels, pastry blenders and tampers, and a useful non-stick pastry mat. Pie dishes are available in a variety of sizes in round, oval and square shapes and in earthenware and enamel.

A cake tester will help you to cook perfectly, while a proper cooling rack helps to prevent soggy bottoms!

Baking accessories for decorating

Once you have baked your cake, we can help you to decorate and present it beautifully with professional-quality icing, piping and fondant tools, ranging from basic palette knives, piping bags, fondant smoothers and simple shape cutters to embossing tools and a set of icing modelling tools to complete more detailed work. Cake lifters, plungers and cutting wires will help to keep the cake neat and tidy during the decorative process and you can present the finished item on one of our deluxe cake boards. You can choose from round and square boards, each in two sizes.

Our Fantastic Baking Range

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