Marmalade season is once again here and bringing some sweet, bright joy to an otherwise dark and grey January. Whether you’re a seasoned jam maker or it is your first time having a go, our easy-to-follow recipe is suitable for everyone to use this month. Seville oranges are the traditional citrus fruit to be used which offer sweetness as well as sharpness to the preserve and they are readily available at this time of year because they’re in season. Remember you need jam jars to store your sweet sticky spread!
What You Need
Lightly butter the base of a saucepan to help prevent the marmalade from catching and pour your water into the pan.
Cut your lemons and oranges in half and squeeze out the juice into the water.
Next cut up your orange skins into quarters, then one by one roll them tightly up and cut into little shreds – how big you cut these is up to your preference.
Add these to the liquid mix and bring the pan to the boil.
Simmer very gently for 2 hours until the peel is very soft. It is done when you can squeeze a piece of peel in half but be careful to let a test bit cool before attempting this.
Add the sugar to the pan, stirring over low heat until all the crystals are dissolved and then simmer for 15 minutes.
To test if the marmalade is ready, place a plate in the freezer and drop a few drops onto it. If the mixture crinkles when you push it with your finger it is ready to be poured into your jam jars. If it isn’t quite done, keeping testing it at five-minute intervals.
We all plan to improve ourselves in the new year, making resolutions that most of us half-heartedly stick too, but with a bit of planning and preparation keeping true to your new lifestyle. Healthier eating, weight loss and eating more fruit and vegetables are common promises amongst the general population and if your one of the many trying to start a healthier lifestyle in 2021, we’ve got some ideas of how you can stay on track!
Ask any dieting professional, fitness guru or personal trainer and they all say the secret to success is preparing healthy meals ahead so that you won’t be led astray and tempted by a less healthy alternative if you’re too tired or busy to make a meal on a particular day. The secret to prepping meals ahead and making them last all week is a good storage solution. Thankfully, we can offer a variety of glass jars suitable for keeping food fresh whether it’s being stored in the fridge, freezer or a dry store.
Make Your Own Food
Buying heavily processed food or ready meals, even the healthy versions, can be detrimental to a healthy balanced diet plan as even the ‘cleaner’ options can be packed with secret sugar and salt that’s used to give them a longer shelf life. Making your own meals doesn’t have to be difficult and if you prep ahead, you can limit the time you have to spend cooking and get it all out of the way in a day. Smoothies, shakes and juices are a great way to get more fruit and veg in your diet and can be kept in glass jars and bottles in the fridge for a quick breakfast in the mornings.
If you’re looking for glass jars or bottles to help you transition into a healthier you, visit our website.
Christmas is set to look a little different in 2020, with smaller gatherings and social distancing in place as a result of the corona virus pandemic. That doesn’t mean you can’t get stuck into the spirit of things though, we just need to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and make some minor changes to the way things are done. So, if you’re still going to decorate the house and make it feel merry, then our decorative jars are a great solution if you don’t want to go to a crowded shopping precinct to get décor.
Our decorative jars come in a range of attractive shapes and sizes, making them easy to use as festive decorations. There are a number of different ways to form them into festive items that will make you want to deck the halls with them, which are simple and easy. You could paint different motifs onto them such as snowmen, Santa Claus or presents and tie some string around them for makeshift baubles, or keep it simple and wrap them with tinsel or pop tea lights in them for a chic and understated look. At the moment it’s fashionable to have personalised baubles made of glass and with a bit of paint, you can have your very own without breaking the bank!
There is no denying that Christmas can be a rather indulgent time of year, with Brits on average spending billions around the festive period. Of course, part of this means a lot of waste, be it in the form of wrapping paper, uneaten leftovers or unwanted gifts which is not kind on the environment. However, our decorative jars can help to reduce carbon footprints. Fashioning them into decorations, or making them part of your centrepiece, they can be reused over and over again. If your design goes out of fashion, simply remove embellishments, wash off paint and start again next year!
It’s that time of year once again, with Christmas around the corner, there is much to think about in terms of food and drink. Whether you’re hosting a meal, looking to give a tasty gift or just want to get into the spirit of things and create some Christmas time goodies, we’ve got some great ideas for drinks this season. Pair these with our swing top bottles for a classic homemade look that keeps the tipple fresh.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without mulled wine! This rich and complex festive drink is made by combining citrus peel, whole spices and red wine in a pan and keeping it over low heat for several hours to infuse. Extra sugar can be added either in its raw form or in juices, honey or syrups for those that like a sweeter brew or for those who want to kick it, some brandy can be stirred through. Make a large batch and fill swing-top bottles with this classic Christmas drink and adorn with a label with the use-by date, recipients name or tasting notes!
A snowball is an unforgettable and nostalgic drink, but did you know you can make your own Advocat? Simply start by making a custard by bringing an inch of water to a gentle boil in a saucepan and whisking 10 egg yolks together with a cup and a half of sugar. Whisk in a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon until the liquid forms yellow ribbons when the whisk is lifted. Then, pour a cup of brandy in. Place the mixture over the simmering water and continuously stir until it is slightly thickened. Place in a swing-top bottle and allow to cool. As this uses fresh eggs, it is best stored in the fridge and used within a week.
Making some food hampers this Christmas? These delicious gifts are thoughtful, simple to put together and often, the most well-received. You can fill them with just about anything but typically, food items with a longer shelf life are best. Making your own additions can be a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and can also help save you some pennies. We’ve got some recipes for jam jars that you can make in any size batch to suit your hamper quota!
Perfect with a turkey, cranberry sauce is a staple at the dinner table at this time of year thanks to it’s sweet and tart flavour profile. This condiment can be easily personalised and can be made in several variations with additions to suit the receiver’s tastes. The basic recipe calls for cranberries, sugar and a liquid (usually orange juice) boiled down until the fruit starts to soften. Some of our favourite customisations include adding port, orange rind, rhubarb or spices such as star anise. Pop it in a jam jar for maximum freshness and easy serving.
Another traditional condiment, this time served with dessert! Brandy butter is usually spread upon Christmas pudding but can be used on any sweet treat for an added lick of flavour. There are 2 ways to make brandy butter, with one requiring a little bit more effort but being well worth it. The easy way means beating together equal parts icing sugar and butter before adding a tablespoon of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of brandy. Then simply pop in a jam jar and chill until set. Alternatively, you can make your own butter! Simply whisk double cream and salt on a high speed until the solid butterfats separate from the buttermilk, strain and squeeze as much liquid from the fats as possible. Then repeat the same steps.
With Autumn and Winter just around the corner and the days getting shorter, many of us are retreating back inside and picking up our more indoors-y hobbies once again. Whether that’s knitting, painting or just creating, there are a number of ways that glass bottles can be used in your artsy afternoons!
Home Décor Ideas
Glass bottles come in many shapes, statures and sizes and can be an easy way to add a bit of an aesthetic edge to a room. Opt for an interesting shaped bottle such as a curvy one, a globed one or even a milk bottle for a table centre piece, windowsill ornament or even for use in a display cabinet. There are a number of ways you can turn this glass bottle into something visually striking which could include layering coloured sands inside, painting the outside of the bottle with layered colours or even decoupaging images to it. The great thing about glass is that if you go wrong, you can easily erase and start again.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to gift practical crafts, then why not try your hand at some aromatherapy style crafts using glass bottles? Whether it’s mixing up your favourite blend of essential oils to use in a burner or layering bath salts for a colourful bathside ornament, there are a range of glass bottles to suit. Aromatherapy bottles are smaller in size and are amber in colour, making them ideal for holding clear liquids that may not be the best for display purposes, where as clear glass bottles are suited to hold more colourful items and can instantly add a splash of brightness to a room.
It goes without saying, but glass bottles crafts for the kitchen are some of the easiest. Whether it’s creating a beautifully infused bottle of oil using chilli, vinegar or even root vegetables, creating a visual piece that is practical is simple!
It’s never too early to start prepping for Christmas particularly if you’re the sort of person that likes to give homemade gifts or get ahead of the game before December rolls around. With winter now officially in action and the indoors being a comfortable retreat from the cold weather, there’s no better time to get started on your gifts and this blog has some ideas for using mini milk bottles.
Christmas is a time associated with a bit of indulgence and alcoholic gifts are some of the easiest to make and some of the most well received, not to mention trendy. Just about any alcohol can be infused with flavours of your choosing and then stored in a mini milk bottle and decorated with ribbon, labels or even some festive tinsel. Simply select a spirit, add flavourings such as fruit rind, sugars, herbs and spices and leave to infuse for around 4 weeks, shaking every so often. Then either strain these out or leave them inside for a more visual gift.
Juice it Up
Know someone who is always on the January health kick? If you want to give a healthier option, juices and immune boosting home made cordials are a great alternative to alcohol. Ginger and lemon cordial are simple to make and has many health benefits and can be taken as a wellness shot or diluted with water for a refreshing drink. Boil ginger and lemons with a tiny bit of sugar or sweetener and some water and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Strain into a mini milk bottle and wrap ready for the big day.
Mini milk bottles make quirky containers for holding gifts besides liquids and can be used for small sweets to gift to children or someone with a particular sweet tooth. Being clear, you can layer different colours of sweet for an aesthetically pleasing design or even try and replicate a popular drink brand in the container! For example, you could fill one with orange smarties for someone who like Iron-Bru.
Gardening season is slowly starting to wind down and as we get ready to overwinter some crops, tidy out the greenhouse and prepare for frosts, some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables are just coming into their best. Autumn is well known for many British staples which can be turned into some truly delicious foods. We’ve put together some of our favourite autumn recipes to use up any gluts you might have at this time of year.
You can’t beat an apple chutney on a cheese board, smeared across a sandwich or even just straight on a cracker and with a variety of apples in season, you can make any variation you like. Start with a kilo of apples, 750g of light muscovado sugar, 2 medium onions, 500g of raisins, 2 tsp of ginger, 2 tsp of mustard seeds, 700ml of cider vinegar and a tsp of salt and add to a pan over a high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil before turning down to a medium heat and simmering uncovered for about 35 minutes. Once ready, add to your sterilised glass jars and eat or store.
Fennel is a delicious flavour that tastes great in pasta, on pizza, on sandwiches or in salads and you can preserve it in a pickling solution so that you have it on hand at all times. Simply add vinegar, sugar, salt and spice of your choosing to a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, and the spices are aromatic. Then, prep your fennel by chopping it into pieces and layering into a glass jar of any size. Pour over the pickling solution and then leave for a minimum of 4 hours to infuse.
It can be harder to grow herbs in the colder months if you don’t already have an established plant, so using those that you do have to make pesto means you can add them to cooking all year round. You can use just about any herbs to make pesto, simply add them to a blender with pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil and blitz into a smooth paste.
Swing top bottles have been a staple in many kitchens for centuries and they have a delicate way of adding charm and a rustic feel to kitchens. Thanks to their upscale and classy appearance, they make a great vestibule for homemade gifts, making them appear expensive and a little bit more upmarket. Whether you are a beginner when it comes to home made gifts or you’re always in the kitchen around Christmas, we’ve got some fool proof ideas that look fantastic in swing top bottles.
Infuse Some Oil
Infused oils are a great gift for those who like to cook or are experimental in the kitchen and while they sell for a pretty penny in the supermarket, they could not be more straightforward to make! Simply choose an oil such as olive oil that absorbs flavours easily and add your chosen flavourings inside a swing top bottle. Go fiery with some whole chipotle chillies or keep it classic with garlic and thyme or get creative and try star anise or cinnamon for a more Asian taste. One of our top tips though – keep whatever spices or herbs you use whole as they look great when surrounded by deliciously oozy oil and will be proudly displayed in the recipient’s kitchen
Create Some Cordials
Cordials aren’t just for children and can be diluted with water, sparkling pop or even a little bit of prosecco and taste absolutely delicious either way. Their high sugar content helps to preserve them which makes them a great addition to a home bar and is a thoughtful and useful gift for any would-be bartenders! Simply choose a flavour and boil it down with water and sugar, leaving to cool and infuse before straining into a swing top bottle. White elderflower, rhubarb and rosehip are great adult flavours that are as stunning as they are delicious.
Jam is one of those quintessentially British foods that can be made from just about any fruit, vegetable and even spices that tastes fantastic on bread, cakes and pastries at any time of the year. Autumnal berries like blackberry and raspberry are a breakfast staple where as summer varieties like cherry and apricot are delicious sandwiched between a scone and whatever the season is producing jams can be made from January through to December!
Autumn Winter Jams
Winter isn’t renowned for its ample harvest, but there are some still fruits that may not grow in the UK, but are readily available in supermarkets thanks to their foreign seasonality. Seville oranges are on offer throughout January and February and make the most mouth-wateringly tart and tangy marmalades. Large and juicy in size, these oranges can produce huge quantities of marmalade, so make sure you stock up on jam jars for the occasion.
Spring is planting season for many UK growers and if you’ve planned ahead for this season then chances are you have an abundance of rhubarb and onions, both of which are delicious in preserves. Rhubarb jam is simple to make and is an exceptionally trendy flavour making it a great addition to cakes, biscuits and pastries at this time of year. Fill up you jam jars and then try a rhubarb Danish pastry, jam tart or even crumble cake for a showstopping teatime treat. Onion jam on the other hand is a savoury sensation that comes alive when served with cheese and crackers on a spring day.
The sunshine at this time of year ripens the classic flavouring of strawberries which goes perfectly on scones, served with cream or pavlova on those hot and humid days. Strawberry jam is brilliant on its own or can be enhanced with other flavourings such as champagne, other berries or even balsamic vinegar for a very foodie twist.
Karen Taylor - also known by some of our customers as 'Jam Jar Karen'..