Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Strawberry Jam

As many of you know - because you came to say 'hello' - we have just come back from the BBC Good Food Show, which was great fun, exhausting, and very, very busy. When Trev and I finally got home I thought our chicken run looked kind of different and it turned out that they had escaped from the back garden that day and made off down the lane! Both of our near neighbours had been out all afternoon trying to round them up, but unfortunately, as you fellow chicken owners will know, the more you chase them the more they run. There is only three of them but it took some time to get them back behind the fence. I had to take peace offerings of a basket of eggs to each neighbour - they actually thought it very funny - and The Chix had to perch on the naughty step.

Just all part of the Jam Jar Shop fun.

Lots of you loved the extended range of red spot lids, now available in most jar lid sizes and showcased at the NEC. They look great on the sauce bottles especially, and the smallest 45ml jars. We also had the new Kilner maslin pan at a great show offer and sold out on the first day! We have more coming in at the end of this week and at the beginning of July so don't worry if you missed out before.

There's lots of fruit coming along now - we ordered the first of the season's blackcurrants today so my favourite jam will soon be underway! We have already made large batches of strawberry jam and the raspberries will be next. There is a great recipe for a classic strawberry jam on our website so why not make some while the fruit is at its best and not too expensive. I love this time of year as there is an absolute abundance of produce and you can be making something different every day.

We are busy now moving warehouses over the next two weeks so the work load will be heavier but all the lads are coming in at the weekends to make sure we get it done without disrupting the orders. So, business as usual!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Update from Jam on the Hill

I can't believe I'm still sitting here at my desk basked in sunshine..I think it may be time to ditch my thermals after all!! May and Samm are as busy as ever in the kitchen and the incredible aromas rising from downstairs are making my tastebuds do cartwheels. they've just made Chilli Sauce and it's HOT,HOT,HOT, which is exactly as it should be,although I recommend a jug of margerita's to put out the fire. Mmmmmm, Yummy.

May made scones this morning and it would have been rude of me not to accept the one she brought me covered in our Summer Pudding mixed berry jam. I can't understand why my waistline is expanding!! Rosie and I had a lovely week-end at The Smithy with 2 full days of classes,"Some Like It Hot",another great reason for me to sample shots of our limoncello,purely medicinal you understand, to put out the fire in my mouth.

Samm and I are off to join the team from Jam Jar Shop next week at the Country Living Fair, come and visit us, we'd love to see you and hear all your preserve making adventures. Or why not join one of fun weekends of classes, you do know that jam making is to the soul what the little black dress is to our wardrobes - an essential. Well bye for now,hopefully see you next week with rosie and the team,if not you'll hear all our adventures in my blog the week after... Penelope x

Friday, 4 March 2011

Spring at 'Jam on the Hill'

Today is a beautiful sunny day at The Smithy, the birds are singing, ( as are May and Samm in the kitchen) and the green outside is awash with Snowdrops and Crocuses. The Daffodils are just awakening from a long slumber and the “Spreading Chestnut Tree”, which was mentioned in Longfellow's poem, has tiny buds on its’ branches. We often have locals popping in for a quick cuppa, a chat and a sample of the latest taste bud awakener that we’ve made in the kitchen ,Chilli Jam is the hot favourite at the moment!!

The Seville Oranges are now dormant for another year, so we’ve stock piled all the wonderful Seville Orange Marmalade, some with the added flavours of Ginger and Whisky, (which no doubt was sampled first on a cold morning.. hic!!). On Saturday we have our first Wedding Favours Day which is very exciting, May and Samm are busy in the kitchen baking Lemon Drizzle Cake topped with our Marmalade for Afternoon Tea…Mmmmm delicious… maybe I can sneak down later and nibble at a corner and blame the local field mice!!..although once started, I doubt there would even be a crumb left for any visiting mouse!!

When I think of Spring my mind wanders to all the lovely fruits, and the jam making adventures to come, we’ll keep you posted!! Our classes are filling up quickly so if you were thinking of coming along to one maybe you had better get it booked!

BTW we have an Open Day on April 2nd with all sorts of lovely things for Easter - come and see us if you are close enough.

Bye for now…..Penelope

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Professional Days

Here at Jam Jar Shop we receive many questions about the rules and regulations of running your own preserve making business.

We don't feel qualified to answer these questions - although we have our own experiences through our business 'Jam on the Hill' (pictured)- so we refer any such enquirers back to their local authorities. It is sometimes clear that this proves to be less than satisfactory.

In an effort to make positive progress we are arranging a series of 'Professional Days' to be held here in Rutland at our jam making base, when our guests will be our local Environmental Health Officer, Kate Neal, and our Trading Standards Officer, Richard Matthews. They will be guiding you through the legislative mightmare with informative talks and plenty of time to answer your questions.

Under the auspices of The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers we hope to pioneer a Nationwide programme of such training days to bring much needed help and advice to those that are seeking it.

The cost for the day will be £75.00 inc VAT, a tasty lunch of locally sourced food will be provided along with refreshments throughout the day. The day will start at 10 a.m. with coffee and biscuits and the first talk will begin around 10.30 a.m.
We will aim to finish around 3 p.m. to allow time for you to travel home.

The first day is planned for April 20th, if you are interested in booking a place please either email or telephone 01572 723723 to reserve a place. There will be a maximum of 8 places on each day and more dates will be booked if there is enough interest.

On April 19th we will be holding a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate training day.

You will be able to attend the informative lecture and take a multiple choice assessment paper at the end of the session. Successful candidates will be awarded a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate, which meets the minimum legal requirements, and will remain valid for up to 3 years.

What does the course cover?
The course covers everything you need to know about good food hygiene practice, including:
· Causes of food poisoning
· Contamination
· Micro-organisms
· High risk foods
· Cooking, chilling and re-heating
· Preventing food poisoning
· Personal hygiene
· Cleaning and disinfection
· Pest control
· Premises & equipment
· HACCP and Safer Food Better Business

This course is ideal for anyone who handles food for the public and who needs evidence of food hygiene training. This includes chefs, waiting staff, staff in care homes, schools, nurseries, prisons, contract caterers, voluntary organisations etc. - and anyone starting their own jam and preserve making business!

The actual course lasts for three hours but refreshments will be available throughout the day and a delicious lunch of local produce will be provided.

There will be a maximum of 8 places but other dates will be booked if there is enough interest.

The all inclusive cost for the day is £80.00 - if you are interested in booking please either email or telephone 01572 723723 to reserve a place.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Marmalade Awards

WooooHoooo! We're off to the Marmalade Awards this weekend - come and see us if you're there, we'd love to say 'hello' and give you a discount code you can use on the website - see you there!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Looking forward

Well, May and Samm have nearly finished a marathon marmalade make, just a last few speciality flavours to complete. The Seville orange season was quite short this year and for the first time, we have frozen a few whole just in case we get an order for something we have run out of. We haven't frozen the whole fruit before, but know people do, so we shall see what happens. We are off to the Marmalade Festival next week, we have sent our entries off and we shall be having a stand there, so come along and see us if you can. We would love to meet you and we'll have a few show offers as well.

I devised a recipe for Seville Orange and Cracked Black Pepper Jelly this year which was both stunning to look at and has the most amazing flavour. It is equally good with duck or an oily fish like mackerel. Try making up your own recipes sometimes - what's the worst that can happen?

We're busy stocking up on things like Rosie's Extra Special Brown Sauce and our own recipe Barbeque Sauce , then we'll be making Lemon Cordial and all things lemony. Use this time of the year to make those kinds of things which aren't quite so seasonal to leave time later when there is a glut to deal with. We are impatiently waiting for the rhubarb to start - there is some lovely delicate forced fruit about but that isn't really suitable for preserving - it's too expensive. Wait for the maincrop then make some gorgeous chutneys, sauces and jams.

Lots to do, lots to do. If you haven't seen our new Artisan range take a look here. Great prices, as ever, larger quantities for the home producer, plus sturdy storage boxes to make transportation easier. We have the pressure bottles back in as well, again, a great price - we always try to be value for money.

We have some great ideas in the pipeline, the best way to hear about them is to subscribe to our newsletter - no obligation - no tricks - no charge -but you will hear there first about any new offers or discount codes.

Happy preserving!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

New Year Resolutions

I can't believe it's 2011 already! where did 2010 go? well another busy year ahead and with lots of bumper harvest's I hope.

If like many of us, you've already had your maslin pan out and made your seville orange marmalade, filling your kitchen with those amazing citrus vapours and stocking up your cupboards for the year ahead, then you'll probably already be looking forward to summers soft fruit season so don't forget to take advantage of the more sleepy (in terms of preserving terms) spring months and take the opportunity to re-stock your preserving equipment, not forgetting your jars, bottles and lids so that you will be ready for what the summer months will bring.
If last year was anything to go by, we'll all be pretty busy with damsons and apples again, which would be nice. My plum tree does something different every year but last year, the plums it produced were enormous so here's hoping it'll surpass itself this year.

Anyway, back to January and February................well, here at Jam Jar Shop, we're looking forward to taking part in The World's Original Marmalade Awards again this year on 12th and 13th of February. March is Country Living Fair and lots more to come so we'll keep you posted.

Happy Marmalade making and if any of you are stuck on what to do, Rosie has a marmalade making video on the Jam Jar Shop website.