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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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Recipe for summer pudding

Recipe for summer pudding Summer fruit pudding

It is easy to think that puddings are exclusively for winter time, cheering us up on cold, damp days with some sweet comfort food. Whilst puddings are indeed a great winter treat, the classic English summer pudding is, as its name suggests, just made for eating during the summer months. In today’s blog, we provide a tempting recipe for summer pudding to delight your taste buds and use up any summer fruit gluts and sliced bread at the same time.

Pudding basins at the ready

Aside from the ingredients, there is one key piece of equipment needed for this recipe: a classic one-litre pudding basin. Our Mason Cash 17cm pudding basin is the perfect size for this recipe.

Ingredients

8 slices sliced white bread, with the crusts removed 500g raspberries 250g redcurrants 100g blackcurrants 175g caster sugar

Method

Remove the stalks from the redcurrants and blackcurrants by sliding the tines of a fork along the stalks, letting the fruit fall into a dish. Also remove any stalks from the raspberries, then wash all the fruit.

Place the fruit, along with the sugar, in a pan and heat gently – just long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

Cut one piece of bread to fit the base of the pudding basin and position further slices all around the sides of the bowl. Place each piece slightly overlapping on the previous piece, pressing down firmly to seal the seams. Press the bottom edge of the side pieces down onto the piece at the bottom of the basin. If there are any gaps, fill these with small pieces of bread. The objective is to ensure that the fruit juices cannot escape.

Set aside one cupful of fruit and juice and pour in the rest. Cover the pudding with the remaining bread and place a saucer on top of the pudding. The saucer – or small plate – should fit snugly inside the rim of the basin. Put the bowl in the fridge overnight with something heavy placed on top of the saucer.

When you are ready to serve, go around the edge of the pudding with a knife to loosen it. Turn the pudding onto a serving dish and spoon the remaining fruit and juices over it.

More ideas for pudding basins

If summer pudding is not your thing, why not try a jam sponge pudding or a ginger pudding? Both are lighter than a sticky toffee pudding or a spotted dick pudding, so they are great for summer.

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Pickled cucumbers in glass jars

Pickled cucumbers in glass jars 

Jars of pickled marinated cucumbers on rustic table

Few people can resist a fabulous burger. Made with prime beef and lots of tangy relish and fresh toppings, a really good burger is hard to beat. With barbecue season now in full swing, many people are thinking about organising a family get-together or garden party and are looking to make their own delicious burgers rather than buying them from the supermarket. Often, however, cooks tend to concentrate on the burger itself, taking time to make these by hand but then adding shop-bought toppings such as relish or pickles. In today’s blog post, we take a look at just how easy it is to make homemade pickled cucumbers to serve on burgers and other dishes. Once you have seen how easy this is, you will be raring to make your own ready for your next barbecue event.

The right glass jars for your pickles

Before you start to prepare your pickled cucumbers, you need to consider the jars you will use to store them in. We recommend using either our one-gallon pickle jar or our ½-gallon jar. These are perfect for pickles and really look the part. If you only want to prepare a small amount of pickled cucumber, one of our clip top jars, such as the Kilner one-litre square clip top jar, would be ideal.

Filling those glass jars

Once you have decided on the right jar for this project, it is time to get busy. For this recipe, we have opted for a relatively small amount, using just one cucumber; however, it is easy to scale the recipe up if you have a glut of cucumbers that you would like to use up – simply multiply the ingredients according to how many cucumbers you have.

Ingredients

1 cucumber, thinly peeled
2 tsp salt
60g sugar
75ml white vinegar
2-inch piece of fresh root ginger

Method

Take the peeled cucumber and lightly run the back of a fork down the length of the cucumber, around all sides. This will give a ridged appearance to the cucumber slices.

Slice the cucumber thinly and place in a bowl with the salt, making sure it is mixed thoroughly. After 10 minutes or so, rinse with cold water. Drain the cucumber and then put it back in the bowl.

Grate the root ginger and add to the cucumber along with the sugar and vinegar. Mix everything together well.

Place the cucumber slices into a clean, sterilised jar, ensuring that enough vinegar is poured over the slices to keep them covered. Store in the fridge.

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Recipe for a baking tin

Recipe for a baking tin 

We thought we would take a look at our range of baking tools in today’s blog post, particularly the various types of baking pans, tins and trays that we stock. If you are a keen amateur baking enthusiast, you will no doubt already know just how important the right tin is for your baking project, so read on to find out what we have to offer. We will also cover a great recipe to cook in a baking tin.

Cooking with baking tins 

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

There are so many different baking pans available, but we had to choose just one to feature today -the 12-hole deep baking pan. Here is a recipe for mini pork pies, which are great for summer picnics.

Ingredients

25g butter
600g pack shortcrust pastry
100g dried breadcrumbs
6 pork sausages
180g bacon lardons
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp mace
½ tsp sage
½ tsp ground black pepper
flour for dusting

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 6. Place a thin strip of greaseproof paper across the centre of each hole in the muffin tin to help lift the pies out after cooking. Cut 12 10cm circles from the pastry and place in the baking pan, over the greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, sausage meat (removing the skins), bacon, mace, pepper and sage. When all combined, divide the mixture equally into the pies.

For the pie lids, cut 12 7cm circles and brush with beaten egg before pressing down on the top of each pie. Brush the tops with beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Lift out of the tray using the paper strips and allow to cool. Serve with homemade chutney or piccalilli.

Our range of baking tins

The 12-hole deep baking pan is just one of the many baking tools we offer on our site. We stock quite an assortment of multi-hole baking pans, including mini muffin pans, brownie pans, madeleine and eclair pans, and good old-fashioned Yorkshire pudding pans. This is just the multi-hole pans! In other baking tools categories, we offer loaf pans, quiche and tart tins, loose base and spring form cake pans, sandwich pans, and all manner of unusually-shaped pans for special cakes and bakes. If you are feeling romantic, we even have a heart-shaped pan!

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Bag a bargain with our bulk jam jars

Bag a bargain with our bulk jam jars 

various jars of fruit jam on wooden table

At Wares of Knutsford, we work extremely hard to offer our customers the very best value for money across our entire range of jars, bottles and home preserving equipment. As bargain hunters everywhere know all too well, one of the best ways of saving money is to buy in bulk, with buying jam jars in bulk no exception. In today’s post, we explain why our bulk buy packs make so much sense and outline some of the jars that are available in larger quantities.

Who buys bulk jam jars?

People come to us to buy jam jars in bulk for all sorts of reasons. Some simply love making jams, pickles and preserves, and complete their entire Christmas gift list by creating a whole range of homemade delights. With plenty of friends and family to make gifts for, buying half a dozen jars here and there simply won’t cut it. A bulk pack makes much more sense for this type of home preserves enthusiast.

Artisan producers also find our bulk packs really handy. Many small-scale producers want to make up samples before committing to a wholesale order, while others like the flexibility of being able to buy in bulk without needing to meet a minimum order value. For producers such as these, our bulk packs offer the ultimate flexibility.

If you are keen on making your own pickles and preserves but don’t want to make a huge quantity, there are still ways to save. Why not club together with friends and family members to buy a bulk pack or two and split them once they have been delivered? In this way, everyone gets the benefit of the super-low prices that buying in bulk offers.

Why buying bulk jam jars makes sense

The most obvious benefit of buying jam jars in bulk is, of course, the cost saving that can be made. With bulk packs containing 100, 200 or 300 jars, prices really start to tumble. Our classic 1lb jar is even available in a super-sized pack of 500 jars!

Another benefit is that your jars will be with you in a single delivery. We have all been in the situation where we are inspired to start a preserving project, only to realise that we are clean out of empty jars. By buying in bulk, you should always have plenty of jars in store whenever you get the urge, or the ingredients, to make something new.

Why not check out our bulk packs now to see how much you could save?

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Magical milk bottle recipes

Magical milk bottle recipes 

Various flavors of milk in bottles with chocolate and strawberries isolated on white

If you often wish you could get your children to drink more healthy drinks and be a bit keener on the five-a-day concept, today’s post might be of interest. With warm and sunny days on the horizon, finding ways to tempt children to quench their thirst and stay hydrated is something we should all be thinking about; fortunately, milkshakes and smoothies are both fantastic for encouraging youngsters to drink something that is refreshing and healthy at the same time.

Fill those milk bottles with milkshake magic

For many parents, asking their children to drink a healthy glass of fresh milk every day is rather a thankless task; therefore, the trick is to turn that glass of milk into something altogether more delicious. Strawberry milkshakes are always popular, especially if you whip them until they are super-frothy and add a little marshmallow treat on the top. A peanut butter and banana milkshake is another fabulous idea to try – if you serve these in our glass milk bottles, the novelty value will encourage children to see the drink as a fun experience. If you need to get children to eat and drink healthily, sometimes stealth is a great tactic!

Serve smoothies in milk bottles

It is not just children who need to ensure they get their five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, of course, as this can also be a challenge for time-pressed adults. One quick and easy way to eat more fruit and veg is to replace at least one meal a day with a vitamin-packed smoothie. The benefits of drinking a smoothie every day are twofold – they can provide plenty of vitamins, fibre and goodness, and they can form part of a sensible weight-loss programme, if required.

What you choose to put in your smoothies is limited only by your imagination, so check what is in season and experiment with your own unique blends and flavours. If you are short of time, it is easy to make up a larger batch of your favourite smoothie, decant it into glass milk bottles, and store it in the fridge ready for use.

For a real superfood kickstart smoothie, try mixing half a cup of green tea, two tablespoons of honey, a chopped banana and 300g of blueberries with a cup of milk. Blend all the ingredients together until they are smooth, then pour into glass milk bottles and chill in the fridge before serving.

If you have any great milkshake or smoothie recipes, why not share them with us on Facebook or Twitter? We would love to hear your ideas!

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Pie Dish Recipe

Cottage pie in a rustic baking dish

Cottage pie in a rustic baking dish

Recipe for a pie dish

 Who doesn’t love a good pie? Whether it is a rich meat pie bursting with delicious gravy or a tempting fruit pie just asking to be smothered in custard, pies are part of the British way of life. Hearty and filling, they are a little slice of heaven on a plate and it is no wonder we turn to pie recipes when the weather is chilly – they warm us up, cheer us up and fill us up. Pies are not just for winter, however, and there are plenty of lighter pie recipes around if you need to satisfy your pie craving during spring or summer. In today’s post, we feature a simple recipe for a mouthwatering fish pie that is perfect all year round.

 Pie dish choices

 Before we start, let’s talk about your choice of dish. Both Mason Cash and Falcon have been making classic pie dishes for decades, with little changing in terms of their iconic styles. Whether you choose a classic ceramic dish from Mason Cash or one of Falcon’s instantly-recognisable enamel pie dishes, you are sure to love your dish. Both styles are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, meaning there is a dish to suit however many people you are cooking for.

 Our pie dish recipe:

 Ingredients

500g white fish fillets, skinned

500g smoked haddock fillets, skinned

750ml milk

1 onion, chopped

4 eggs

125g butter

75g plain flour

1kg potatoes, cut into chunks

75g grated cheese

5 cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

3 sprigs parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

 Method

 Place the fish in a shallow pan with 600ml of the milk, the onion, cloves and bay leaves. Bring the milk almost to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift out the fish, and flake into the pie dish. Let the milk cool in a jug.

 Hard boil the eggs, then peel and chop into quarters before placing on top of the fish. Scatter the parsley over the top.

 Melt most of the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Gradually stir in the cooled milk. Return to the heat and stir until it forms a smooth sauce. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, and pour over the fish.

 Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, then mash with the milk and butter that was left over. Cover the pie with the potato mash, then top with the grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden.

 

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Jam Jar Labels

WOA EBAY ROSEMARYJam jar labels with beautiful designs

 We recently attended the prestigious and rather famous Dalemain Marmalade Awards, which are held annually at Dalemain House in Cumbria. We were thrilled at the demand for our range of jam jar labels at the event, so we thought we would talk today about this range.

 We have mentioned before that you can rustle up the most delicious strawberry jam or Seville marmalade but the whole thing will be let down somewhat and won’t look as impressive as it could if you don’t present your preserves to their best advantage. Fear not, as we have a huge range of jam labels to suit all kinds of jams and preserves. Whatever style or finished look you are after, we are sure to have a label that is perfect for your jars.

 Colourful jam jar labels

 Nothing evokes a sense of fruitful abundance more than our vibrantly-decorated labels from mother and daughter team Rosemary and Caroline Wagstaff. These labels all feature a stunningly colourful border inspired by the watercolour art of the two artists. There are labels featuring cherries, apples and blackberries, and strawberries and raspberries, not to mention citrus fruits for jars of marmalade and mixed vegetables for chutneys and pickles.

 These labels come in packs of 18 and are 75mm x 50mm in size, which is perfect for a standard 1lb jam jar. The centre of each label is left blank for you to complete the details of your jam or chutney. With one of these labels and topped off with a pretty lid cover, your jam will look really special and will be a pleasure to give away as a gift.

 Contemporary jam jar labels

 If your tastes lean a little more towards the contemporary, we still have plenty of jam labels to choose from. Our funky union jack labels and the labels featuring a glamorous tiara are both popular choices for a modern and fun look. New to our range is a roll of dissolvable jam labels, which feature a simple but elegant flourish at the top and bottom of each label. There are 60 labels on a roll, which gives you plenty of scope for a summer filled with home preserving projects. When it comes to reusing your jars, these labels make light work of getting the old label off, as they simply dissolve in water.

 With spring already here and summer just around the corner, now is the time to get stocked up on jars and labels so that you are ready for preserving action once all those lovely fruit and vegetables come into season.

 

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Baking pan recipes

Baking pan recipes 

Chocolate brownie on the baking tray with blueberry , knife in the hand , chocolate , forks and old vintage plates on the wooden table top view

There is something deeply satisfying about baking your own cakes, whether simple cupcakes, traditional cakes such as Victoria sandwich or Madeira, or flamboyant and exotic affairs such Black Forest gateau or Sachertorte. As we have mentioned before, whilst the success of your baking endeavours is partly down to baking skills and good ingredients, it also helps to have the right baking equipment for your project. In today’s post, we take a look at a few of our baking pans and offer a recipe for a delicious alternative to a Madeira cake.

Our range of baking pans

We stock a huge range of baking pans to suit all types of baking projects, from individual cake tins to loose base cake pans and spring form tins. Loose base and spring form tins make life easy when it comes to getting the cake out of the pan, as the base and the sides come apart after baking to allow the cake to be lifted from the tin. Whilst most people tend to choose a round cake tin for larger cakes, we also stock square sandwich pans and shaped tins for something a little more unusual.

An idea for those baking pans 

pound cake

This recipe is for a traditional French cake called Quatre Quart, which is a little like a Madeira cake. It is quick and easy to make and is a great cake to rustle up if you know that friends or family are going to drop in for coffee.

Ingredients

200g salted butter
200g self raising flour
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

– Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 10” cake tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
– Using an electric whisk, cream together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
– Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks and whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks.
– Add the egg yolks and flour little by little into the butter and sugar mixture until all are combined well.
– Fold in the egg whites and mix gently.
– Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden and no raw mixture remains on a skewer when pushed into the cake.
– Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire tray.

We hope this recipe and a peek at some of our baking equipment has inspired you to bake a cake this weekend. If you do make a Quatre Quart cake, be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter how it turns out!

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Exploring our range of sauce bottles

Exploring our range of sauce bottles 

tomato sauce in glass jar

We all know that tomatoes are the main ingredient in ketchup, but how many of us know that this was not always the case? In today’s post, we take a quick look at the history of ketchup before offering a tasty recipe for homemade ketchup and showcasing a few items from our range of glass sauce bottles.

What is inside those sauce bottles?

Whilst we might think that tomato ketchup is a fairly modern creation, the origins of ketchup date back to the 1600s, when the Chinese made a sauce using pickled fish and spices. By the 1800s, this sauce had travelled to modern-day Malaysia, where western colonists tried it, liked it, and brought it back to England. English cooks originally added mushrooms to the recipe; however, it was gradually adapted and tomato ketchup became the norm.

Fill some sauce bottles with this tasty recipe 

tomato sauce with raw ingredients

Whilst most people love a good dollop of the world’s most famous tomato ketchup, not many have thought of making their own, even though it can taste so much nicer than the brand name version. Try this recipe to see whether you become a convert:

Ingredients 

3.5kg very ripe tomatoes (these do not have to be top quality)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
125g salt
1kg sugar
700ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Method

– Put all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer on a low heat for about three hours, stirring regularly so that the mixture does not stick or burn.
– Once the mixture has cooled a little, use a food processor to blend it and then pass it through a sieve.
– Pour the mixture into warm, sterilised glass sauce bottles and screw on the lid.
– Store in a warm dark place. Once opened, keep the ketchup in the fridge and use within one month of opening.

Choosing your bottles

Our range of glass sauce bottles covers an assortment of shapes and sizes. Our favourite is the 250ml hexagonal bottle, which somehow just seems to have the look of a classic ketchup bottle. If this is a little too vintage for your taste, the 250ml round sauce bottle has an altogether more contemporary look and would work brilliantly for ketchup or any other homemade sauce, such as barbecue sauce, sweet chilli sauce or salad cream.

Finally, if you really want to work the vintage look, we stock squeezy ketchup dispensers in the shape of a tomato – just like they used to have in cafes and restaurants in the 60s and 70s!

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Wedding Favours

DIY wedding favours

 

Three small jars of marmalade or jam on wooden table. Toned image

Wedding Favours – Mini Jam Jars

It is no secret that weddings can cost a small fortune. Even small details seem to cost an exorbitant amount, and costs soon start to mount up to eye-watering levels. One solution to help keep things manageable is to take a DIY approach wherever you can. Not many brides would be able to create their own wedding dress or bake their own three-tier wedding cake, of course, but there are smaller elements to the day that can be tackled by anyone. Wedding favours are one such item, and these can be more appealing and personal when they are homemade rather than shop-bought. In today’s post, we showcase a few of our jars and bottles that are perfect for use in DIY favours and offer a few suggestions on what to fill them with.

 Food and drink wedding favours

 Gone are the days when favours amounted to a pouch of sugared almonds for each guest. Wedding couples these days want to express their unique personalities in their choice of favours and give a gift that shows they have put thought and care into finding just the right thing to say thank you to their guests. Wedding jars filled with homemade creations are extremely popular, and couples are getting more and more inventive when it comes to what to fill those jars with. From homemade jams and jellies using foraged and hedgerow fruits to cute and colourful macaroons, it is easy to come up with something that stands out from the crowd and impresses your guests. The great thing about this approach is that it reduces the cost dramatically when compared with buying ready-made favours.

 Our Gladstone bottles with corks are also hugely popular for favours. Couples are creating their own homemade drinks, such as infused gins and vodkas, and decanting them into these miniature Gladstone bottles for a really charming favour.

 Non-food wedding favours

 Wedding jars do not have to be filled with something edible, of course. One of our favourite wedding favour ideas is to fill small jars with wild flower seeds. On the label, ask your wedding guests to scatter the seeds in a favourite spot to create a beautiful and lasting reminder of your wedding day. Other couples have chosen to give small herb plants potted in tiny jars for guests to plant at home. Rosemary and thyme are great choices for this idea, as they smell so heavenly and won’t wilt on the big day. Our 105ml jam jars are perfect for this option.

 

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Jam Jar Labels Galore

Wellies label on jarJam jar labels galore

 When it comes to home preserves, you can rustle up the most amazing flavours and create the most perfectly set jams and jellies; however, if your labelling is not up to scratch, the product will not look appealing and you will be reluctant to give your preserves away as gifts or place them on the breakfast table. You don’t need to resort to a plain white printer label, as we offer a huge range of decorative labels perfect for showing off your jams, jellies and marmalades.

 Unique jam jar labels

 We are delighted to offer labels featuring the gorgeous, colourful designs of mother and daughter watercolour artists Rosemary and Caroline Wagstaff through their company Words of Art. These labels typically feature a vibrant fruit design around a central white panel, in which you can write the details of the preserve you are labelling. From rich, juicy blackberries to bright, sunshine-filled oranges, the range includes all sorts of fresh and appetising fruits. Raspberries, cherries, gooseberries, lemons and limes, plums and strawberries – all these are featured on these delightful labels, and more besides.

 If you are also a chutney maker, you are also in luck. The range includes vegetable designs that are suitable for labelling jars of chutney or piccalilli, and even pickled onions.

 If you would prefer a label design that is a little more contemporary, we have plenty from which to choose, with labels featuring gingham checks, spots, pinstripe borders, and even funky union jack designs.

 One of our quirkier labels for jam jars features a colourful royal crown in the bottom right corner. If you consider yourself to be the queen (or king!) of home preserving, what better way to label your creations?

 We don’t just offer labels for jam – our range also includes labels suitable for honey, curds, oils, and all manner of pickles.

 Could you design jam jar labels?

 Our jam jar labels are so popular that we would like to extend our range and have decided to hunt out some inspiring artists and designers to help us to come up with our own unique Wares of Knutsford range of labels. We are really excited about this project and can’t wait to see what designs our artists come up with. If you think you could design some amazing labels for us, please get in touch to discuss this further. You never know, you may well find yourself labelling your own homemade jams with labels featuring your very own artwork – that really would be something to be proud of!

 

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Baking Equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Baking Equipment at Wares of Knutsford

 It is pretty much impossible not to notice how popular home baking has become in recent years. From the rise of the humble cupcake to the unstoppable Mary Berry and similar celebrity cooks, baking has become the nation’s favourite pastime. Whether you like creating simple flapjacks or muffins or prefer to challenge yourself with exotic quiches and elaborate cakes, such as the famous croquembouche that has challenged so many competitors on The Great British Bake Off, baking is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that can be taken up by anyone, with minimal equipment needed and no formal training necessary.

 Extending our range of baking equipment

 Regular Wares customers will be delighted to hear that we are planning a major expansion of our baking tools and equipment this year. Whilst we already offer a comprehensive range of mixing bowls, pie dishes, cake tins and assorted baking tools, expect to see this range develop significantly. Whilst we can’t reveal too many details at this stage, we are confident that you will be delighted to see some big brand names and some really useful and clever gadgets to make your baking endeavours easier and more exciting.

 Lots more baking equipment

Cookware next to brown eggs on black background. Horizontal shoot.

 One of the areas we plan to expand is our cake decorating range of equipment and accessories. If you love to ice your baking creations and enjoy piping intricate decorations, you will be pleased to hear that this range will soon be much bigger and more comprehensive. With so many tools and accessories available on one website, you will be spoilt for choice and the world will really be your oyster – in terms of cake baking, anyway!

 For us, it seems like a natural move to expand our baking range, as preserving and baking go together so well. Many of our home preserving customers tell us how much they also enjoy baking, so we hope our decision to increase our baking range will inspire and delight you.

 If you are keen on home preserving but have not yet been bitten by the baking bug, why not give it a try? After all, if you are wondering what to do with all the jam you have made, baking might be the answer! Why not bake a traditional Victoria sandwich, or perhaps some jam tarts? Bakewell tarts also contain jam, and mince pies made with homemade mincemeat are simply divine. Once you start to hunt them out, you will find plenty of baking recipes to make use of your jams and preserves.

 Check back soon for more details of our expanded baking range.

 

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Baking Accessories

Ideas for Baking Accessories

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

 We recently wrote about how more and more people are taking up home baking, either as a hobby or as part of a wider effort to cut down on shop-bought, over-processed food and eat more mindfully. The success of TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef have undoubtedly played a huge part in raising the profile of home cooking, spurring on a new generation of enthusiastic cooks. In a previous post, we walked through the most important piece of equipment – the mixing bowl. Today, we take a look at some other pieces of kit that will help you to become a master baker in your own kitchen.

 Top baking accessories

 One thing that new bakers often tend to fret about is pastry. We are happy enough making a Victoria sandwich or some cupcakes; however, when it comes to making a pie or tart, we come over all anxious – Mary Berry’s warnings of ‘soggy bottoms’ have obviously made a big impression! If you start with the right tin, you will minimise the chances of things going wrong.

 Tarts and quiches should be cooked in a non-stick tart tin with a loose bottom to help you get the pastry out without damage. To ensure the pastry base cooks evenly and stays flat, use ceramic baking beans during the initial stage of baking before you add your tart or quiche filling.

 If you are making a pie, there is always the chance of the pie crust lifting or ‘bubbling’. You can also end up with a soggy top, in addition to a soggy bottom, if steam cannot get out of your pie whilst cooking. A ceramic pie funnel is just the job here – placed in the middle of the pie, with the top poking through the crust, it will let all the steam out and leave you with perfectly crisp pastry.

 Fun baking accessories

 If part of the appeal of home baking is the chance to do something creative with your children, pastry cutters are essential. Children love making their own cookies and gingerbread families and they will be clamouring to help if you introduce some pastry cutter shapes – choose from alphabet letters, animals, gingerbread people, hearts, stars and more. For added entertainment with the children, use food colouring to make your cookies and biscuits bright and colourful.

 We have touched on just a few baking accessories in this article, but there are many more that can help you to achieve great results. Check out our full range today to see what might inspire your next creation.

 

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Mixing bowls for baking

Mixing bowls for baking 

Making a cake, top down view of mixing bowl, flour, eggs, sieve, cocoa powder, butter, sugar.

If you are thinking of taking up home baking, perhaps the most vital piece of equipment you will need is a good mixing bowl. Whilst you might be able to do without some other bits of kit, such as pastry cutters or baking beans, you will not get far without a mixing bowl. In today’s post, we check out our range of mixing bowls and look at the history of the grand-daddy of mixing bowl manufacturers, Mason Cash.

Mixing bowls from Mason Cash

Mason Cash started out way back in 1800, making kitchenwares from glazed earthenware. Variously known as cane ware, yellow ware or barge ware, these items were well known and much loved throughout the 19th century; however, it was not until Tom Cash acquired the company in 1901 that the company became known as Mason Cash and the iconic mixing bowl range was developed.

Mixing bowls in many sizes

The Mason Cash range includes bowls in a huge variety of sizes, from the smallest 12cm bowl right through to the huge 35cm bowl. The smaller sizes of bowl are perfect for storing ingredients prior to mixing; in addition, they are great for beating eggs. The 29cm bowl is a fantastic size for cake and pudding mixes, while the largest 35cm bowl is ideal if you want to make a large batch of dough for baking several loaves of bread. The bowls are made from chip-resistant earthenware, with the patterned exterior helping you to grip the bowl effectively.

Whilst the bowls we all recognise are the traditional brown-coloured ones, Mason Cash has also produced a range in other colours, including red, white, blue, apple green, pink and lemon. These make great gifts for a keen cook and really brighten up the kitchen.

More from Mason Cash

Whilst the firm has a long mixing bowl heritage, Mason Cash pie dishes are perhaps almost as well known and well loved; again, the range is huge and these iconic cane dishes come in oval, rectangular and round shapes and in a variety of sizes. This cane bakeware is known for its strength and durability and Mason Cash pie dishes will give years of service, as will any Mason Cash mixing bowl.

If you plan to get into home baking in a big way, we recommend exploring our mixing bowl and pie dish ranges to get you off to a cracking start. Whether it is sumptuous cakes or hearty savoury pies that take your fancy, setting yourself up with the right equipment will stand you in good stead for enjoying your new hobby.

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Using jars for wedding favours and displays

Using jars for wedding favours and displays 

Candles in jam jars make lovely wedding favours and decorations.

In past articles, we have talked about how to use our range of jars and bottles for wedding favours or small vases for wedding reception tables. We have featured some incredibly creative ideas that are guaranteed to look fabulous, so we thought we would revisit this theme today. This time, however, we take a look at how ‘going big’ with your displays and decorations can really add the wow factor and make your wedding look like something from a glossy magazine.

Grouping lots of wedding jars together

Kicking off the ‘big is best’ idea, let’s consider how much of an impact you could make by grouping lots of wedding jars together. There is obviously a limited amount of space available on each wedding table; however, by building up a group of jars of different sizes in the centre of the table, you can really create an impact. In the tallest jars, try adding tall stems of beautiful flowers, feathers or even branches decorated with tiny baubles or glitter. As the jars get smaller, reduce the size of the items you place in them to keep everything in proportion.

Delicious wedding sweets (multicolor table set)

Another way to pack a powerful design punch is to decorate the edge of the room with rows of jars, each holding a tea light. With the lights dimmed, this will look oh-so romantic. If your wedding reception is in a marquee or barn, try lining the edge of the pathways with jars filled with tealights to illuminate the outdoor space and create a magical atmosphere.

Using bigger wedding jars

Some of our larger jars work brilliantly in a wedding setting. If you want to offer sweets as wedding favours but the standard candy cart offering is not what you have in mind, why not fill a row of our one-gallon pickle jars with vintage or homemade, sweets? You could also offer colourful macaroons, chocolate cookies and homemade biscuits in these jars to make your wedding favours really stand out.

Another great idea for larger jars is to wind a string of twinkling LED lights into each jar and dot these around the room for a fairy tale look that will have all the old romantics in the room whisking their partners onto the dancefloor.

From using larger sized jars to hold sweet treats and wedding favours to grouping smaller jars en masse, you can achieve a unique and stylish effect for your big day by thinking big when it comes to using jars as part of your wedding styling.

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Baking Pans

Baking pans 

Sponge cakes with chocolate center and muffins

Home baking has surged in popularity recently, with people tiring of bland, shop-bought cakes and pastries and turning instead to the simple pleasures of making their own. Knowing exactly what is in the food you produce is a great feeling, while being able to experiment with new recipes and flavours gives cooks a real sense of achievement; therefore, it is no surprise to us here at Wares of Knutsford that baking is really taking off again. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro when it comes to baking cakes, you will need an assortment of baking tins, trays and pans to accommodate all the different types of cakes and bakes that you are likely to produce. In today’s post, we walk through a few of the most useful pans and trays to give you a good selection for your cake making creations.

Loose base and spring form baking pans

With many types of cakes, one of the most difficult parts of the entire process is getting the cake safely out of the tin in one piece. No matter how well you line or grease the pan, it can still be quite tricky to get the cake out. Loose base pans and spring form baking tins help with this problem, offering a means of gently removing the cake without resorting to poking it with a knife or some such method. With loose base pans, the bottom of the pan is separate from the rim – once the cake is cooked, you can push up on the base from the bottom to lift the cake out of the pan. With spring form pans, the outer rim has a spring clasp that can be opened after baking to release the rim and slide the cake off the base.

Deep baking pans

Traditional fruit cakes and celebration cakes, such as wedding cakes and birthday cakes, often call for a deep baking tin. We have an extensive range of deep baking tins, ranging in size from 10cm to 25cm diameter; we also have lots of square tins. If a traditional fruit-based celebration cake is not your thing, why not try a deep chocolate cake or a light Madeira cake instead?

Baking sheets and trays

If you want to make brownies and cookies in addition to larger cakes, you will also need some flat baking trays. Most cookie and biscuit recipes produce around 15-20 pieces, so make sure you buy two or three baking sheets to have enough room for them all in the oven. Baking sheets are also perfect for making sausage rolls, apple puffs and other individual bakes.

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Recipe for Cumberland Pie in Pie Dishes

A recipe for cumberland pie

traditional cottage piein dishtraditional cottage pie in dish

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

Pie dishes to the rescue

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

Filling those pie dishes

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

Ingredients

2 celery sticks, diced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

800g diced braising beef

4 bay leaves

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tbsp tomato puree

30g strong cheddar

30g parmesan cheese

800g potato, sliced thickly

1 beef stock cube

1tbsp butter

1tbsp vegetable oil

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Old kitchen in Wales

Whilst most of us probably grew up watching our mother of grandmother making cakes, pies and pastries on a regular basis, baking fell out of favour in the early 80s. Perhaps we felt we didn’t have enough time, or we simply fell in love with the convenience of shop-bought cakes. Whatever the reasons behind the decline, it is fair to say that this trend has been well and truly reversed and the nation has again started to bake in earnest. We suspect a certain Mrs Berry and Mr Hollywood have something to do with this, of course, as The Great British Bake Off has become something of an institution in recent years. If you have been inspired to bake a cake or two, you will need a few key pieces of equipment to get started.

Baking equipment essentials

The main items of equipment you need to start making your own cakes and pies are weighing scales, a measuring jug and a mixing bowl. There are other items that will help your baking endeavours, of course, but these are the most important items to choose first.

We have a range of stylish weighing scales, including vintage-inspired enamelled or chrome-plated scales and traditional balance scales that hark back to our grandmother’s kitchen. If you prefer a contemporary look, we have some ultra-modern ‘add and weigh’ scales that let you add all the ingredients together by setting the dial to zero after each item is put in.

When it comes to mixing bowls, Mason Cash is the name to look for. This firm has been manufacturing traditional mixing bowls for over 200 years and its bowls will stand you in good stead for many years to come. Choose a traditional stone-coloured bowl or go for one of the newer styles in a vibrant green, yellow or red.

A good measuring jug should be next on your shopping list; after all, you won’t get the best results if you don’t follow your recipes accurately. Jugs are available in a range of sizes up to a capacity of two pints.

Baking extras

Once you have sourced your baking equipment essentials, it is time to check out the optional extras. A good range of baking pans, pie dishes and pudding basins will have you ready for any baking challenge. If you fancy trying your hand at making biscuits, some shaped pastry cutters will set you in the right direction. These are also a great way to have fun in the kitchen with your children, who will love cutting out fun shapes such as animals, letters and gingerbread people.

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