Thursday, 10 December 2009

Spot the Difference!

Our custom designed lids will be here from Italy in the morning! Exclusive to Jam Jar Shop they are red with white spots and in the most popular size to fit a range of our jars. You will be able to order them at no extra cost - how good is that! It will take us a couple of days to get them onto the website but check back soon and you will be able to be the first in country - no, the WORLD - to be able to buy these lids.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Spots before your eyes

They'll soon be here. Friday. What will you use yours for? They're fun, they're unique, they're only at Jam Jar Shop.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Oh dear . . . .

Oh no! You're all waiting for the new delivery of swing-top bottles - which we said would be in this week - and where are they? Still across the Channel because all of the ferries are cancelled due to the storms. Doh! Rosie should have kept quiet . . . they are on the way though. To make it worth waiting we shall be repeating our amazing Buy One, Get One Free offer with a twist - Buy Six Get Six Free. (The boxes take twelve . . . .). I know, I'll never be able to retire if I keep doing things like that but it's only money.

The good news is though that the printer has finally delivered The Jam Maker's Journal which has gone straight onto the website at the introductory price of £8.99 for a while - Trev insisted this time- I argued that I'm already doing a crazy deal on the bottles but he dug his heels in. Hey ho.

Each Journal will end up being unique as there is plenty of room for you to record your own ideas and recipes alongside the useful information we have gathered together. The month by month pages don't have year so the Journal will still be relevant for many years to come. The Journal is in A5 ring binder format so you can easily add extras such as recipes from magazines and there's even a page on different lid sizes with a measurement guage, seasonal recipes, hints and tips, weight and jar conversions - as well as some of our lovely labels that you can use on your own preserves. We think it makes a great Christmas present - especially for you!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Christmas is coming!!!!!

Which I am sure you are all too well aware of!

We have been very busy at Jam Jar Shop finding lots of lovely packaging for you to make your preserves look really special as we know many of you are hard at working making gifts for Christmas. We have some great hampers which come complete with the woodstraw fill in a choice of colours, lovely trugs and crates plus a more modern looking card tray - very exec! And bows. Hundreds of bows. Elegant bows. Again, a great choice of colours, there's our own custom-designed labels plus all the fantastic range of jars and bottles of course.

We are busy making our yummy yummy mincemeat - May has another batch on the go today - I think this year we will use the 12oz Marmalade Jar as it is a very pretty shape and is looks generous without giving too much away, if you know what I mean. ( Note to self, re-name it the 12oz Mincemeat Jar . . . ) I must also tell May that we shall be starting the equally yummy Cranberry Relish any day now. Look out for fresh cranberries in the shops - making the relish couldn't be easier. That needs to go in an 8oz jar as it is the sort of preserve that you tend to open and use the whole jar. If we talk to Trev nicely and feed him chocolate biscuits he might put our secret recipe on the website - just this once ( but you mustn't tell anyone 'cos it's secret.)

Have you seen our bargain Mystery Box on the site as well? Every time I read those words on an order, Toyah Wilcox comes to mind - it's a mystery etc etc, I hate that song . . . I don't know what is in each box as Melanie packed them, but I know they are good value especially if you like surprises!

Best of all news, our own, our very own Jam Maker's Journal will be on site next week - the very best Christmas present ever for any jam or preserve maker. We are just waiting for the ink to dry and then you will be able to order lots and lots of copies at a special price - for a limited time - to get a few more presents ticked off of your list. I must drop a few hints myself, oh, no, - I wrote it. Doh!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

They're here!

At last! The new swing top bottles are in - ideal for sloe gin as Christmas presents. We have the popular 250ml size for that, plus 500 ml and 750 ml. The very best news is that the 250ml and 500ml are both on a buy one, get one free offer as a thank you to all of you who have been so patient. So get ordering as soon as to avoid the rush! They are great value, and look good too. We also have tie-on labels and printed Christmas labels which we have had designed for us. They are not expensive but really finish off that hand-made gift.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Doesn't time fly!

Gosh! Where has the summer gone to . . . I feel dreadful that I haven't been able to update this blog but I do have a few reasons. Ahem. Firstly we have moved premises again - for the second time in 6 months! Jam Jar Shop has been very popular and we quickly outgrew the first workbase and went from me and Trev plus Clair working away to process all of the orders to a growing band of helpers, now totalling 12. It was a steep learning curve during the busy summer months with busy jam makers clamouring to obtain the lovely jars and bottles that we had managed to source for you. We have been working seven days a week and there has been precious little time left over for all of the plans we were hoping to put into place.

However, with all of the extra help we now have, those plans have been able to be dusted off. We are drawing up the programme for our jam making classes, which will be published shortly, and we will be producing our first newsletter soon for all of those that have requested it. Full of lots of seasonal ideas, the new products that are coming along, and some special offers and bargains. Trev will soon be putting a link on the home page of the website where you can sign up for the newsletter - you don't have to buy anything first!

We have a great new range of labels coming out including some stunning new Christmas designs exclusive to Jam Jar Shop, plus, some new colourways for some old favourites.

We have been experiencing great problems with some of our suppliers, who are not re-stocking effectively. So much so, that our recent order for the swing top bottles and flasks which many of you were waiting for, has been sold to another of their customers. We had paid in advance for the order but we are told there is nothing to be done about it as they don't have any more available stock. Annnnd I haven't been able to get our money returned as their Financial Director is out of the country and he has to sanction any refunds! Just one of the trials and tribulations of our everyday life! We have decided therefore, to bring the 250ml swing-top bottles into the country ourselves, from Milan and we are expecting around 4000 bottles into our warehouse next week. We shall then have an exceptional offer for you so check the website often.

Right, it's nearly midnight so I'm off to bed to be ready for another day in jamjarland tomorrow!!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Ginger Beer

Well, I guess, like me, you have all finished making Elderflower Champagne and cordial - and it got me thinking about something I used to make when my son was still living at home - Ginger Beer. It is so simple - and cheap - he he used to drink gallons of it. It's non-alchoholic, of course, so it would be great to make for a summer party when you want something a bit different to offer 'the drivers' as a soft drink.

The ingredients are mostly store cupboard and I just love the chemistry of making it. Children could do this during the long holidays as well - it's less bother than getting a pet!

You need to create what is called a Ginger Beer Plant. Get yourself a large, clean jam jar, the 2lb size is great.Put 15g or 1/2 oz of general purpose dried yeast into the jar, add 300ml or 1/2 pint water, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 2 teaspoons sugar. Cover jar with a sheet of polythene or cling film and secure with a rubber band.

Each day, for seven days, add 1 teasppon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the mixture in the jar.

Now strain the mixture through a piece of fine muslin and add the juice of two lemons to the liquid. Add 50g or 2oz sugar to the liquid and make up to 4.5 litres or 1 gallon with cold water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bottle into screw-top cider, beer or plastic bottle - we have 1 litre ones on the jam jar shop website which are perfect for this. Keep for 7-10 days when the ginger beer is sparkling and ready for drinking.

Keep the sediment that you have left after straining the ginger beer plant. Divide into two jars and give 1 plant away to a friend with the instructions. To the sediment add 300ml or 1/2 pint water, 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ginger and carry on as before.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Entente Cordial

Well, I don't know where that fortnight went to! We have been busy, busy, busy, as usual and have been making lots of Elderflower cordial while the flowers are so lovely. My Trev took some beautiful pics of the flowers in our garden - they really make a stunning show at this time of year. We have also made some Lemon Cordial which is so delicious - I don't like squash or lemons very much, but this is so refreshing. It looks great in our swing top bottles. We diluted it with sparkling mineral water but I can just imagine it as a gin and tonic as well! Email me if you want the recipe. We've also been making Mediterranean Chutney with lots of lovely peppers and aubergine, good old Piccalilli and tomorrow we are going to devise a recipe for a barbeque sauce. I think I'll have to go and lie down for a bit.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

River Cottage

Hurrah! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is back with a new series of River Cottage in the UK - tonight at 8pm, Ch4. I just set the recorder - I think he is going to be doing a lot about cordials and sauces - it's all about using the best of the Spring and Summer produce anyway. I'm all ready with my jars and bottles, and I've just managed to find citric acid, a natural preservative for fruit juices and cordials, which I wasn't able to track down last year so my elderflower cordial was rather short-lived! The elderflowers are just coming into bloom so I hope we don't get the torrential rain that has been forecast . . .

There are lots of other recipes for fruit juices and cordials and they are delicious diluted with sparkling mineral water for a real fresh, summery drink. Much healthier too - have a go, they are really easy to make.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Glass Swing Top Bottles - ready for Summer!

It has been a busy holiday weekend in UK but it's back to work now. I went to our local market yesterday and the summer fruits are starting to appear - English raspberries and strawberries, but I started as I always do with some lovely fresh apricots. Not from UK I know but definitely in season now. I try to buy local whenever possible but it can't always happen. Seasonality is the thing we should all be embracing. We shall be making lots of lovely apricot jam and I am going to try my hand at some fruit coulis this year. Apricot or raspberry coulis in our lovely new bottles just in at Jam Jar Shop. They will look great and taste even better.

We have some beautiful new glass swing top flasks which we shall use for flavoured oils I expect but you can use them for anything that isn't fizzy - cordials would be good. The elderflowers will be blossoming soon so why not make up a batch of this aromatic cordial all ready to add to iced sparkling water for that long hot summer we are going to have! Makes a great gift too. I'll see if I can put a recipe up on the website.

My friend May will be arriving for work shortly and we shall get on with the apricots plus finish the batch of beetroot chutney - May made loads yesterday and turned herself quite purple in the process! ( She won't wear the gloves . . .)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Jam Funnels travel to Australia

Jam Jar Shop travels the world - photo from Lisa in Lucindale, Australia with one of our jam funnels on the town emblem. Go funnels!

Jam Making Classes

We're busy, busy, busy, devising jam making classes for later in the year, working out what the format should be, so many ideas its difficult to incorporate them all.

We have a new jam making kit on offer - a perfect wedding present or gift for someone who is interested in taking up this absorbing hobby. With more and more people signing up for allotments and growing their own again there will be a need for the old preserving skills to be taken out and dusted off. Waste not, want not! as my old Granny used to say. I don't know about gardening tho' - it has been more like the start of Winter here in the Midlands today, cold and overcast with a bitter wind, no chance of hardening off the runner beans.

I am putting the finishing touches to my new Jam Makers Journal which will be on the website soon - very exciting! And we are researching more new recipes, trying out new things, I must get Trev to put up a recipe space so that we can share them with you. Send me your favourites via this blog and we can publish those as well - or any questions you might have, I'll do my best to answer.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Biding My Time

I am finding this time of year quite frustrating - I am repeatedly asked if I have any jam - we sold out of jam around about Christmas time - and I am impatiently waiting for the new season's fruit to arrive. It's a way off yet but May, who helps me cook, and I got out the recipe books today and started to plan for this year's production. At least I know I have enough jars and lids!

Jam Jar Shop is very busy every day of the week and I have to try to balance work and play to make sure we have some time off - it's very easy to keep on going but we all need a bit of time off. We are doing a lot of commissioned label designs for wedding favours at the moment - I suppose it is a popular time of year for weddings - we supply the small jars and make labels to co-ordinate with the wedding colour sheme, sometimes we are asked for the fabric covers as well. They look very pretty - some people actually make jam to go in the jars but there are all sorts of other ideas as well. I am thinking of starting a feature on the website 'What do you put in yours?'

We also supply some laboratories with jars and even an oil rig in the North Sea - I wonder if those burly boys are making some marmalade?

I'm off to my local Country Market early in the morning to peddle my wares and so another Friday comes around, faster and faster it seems these days. Let me know what you are planning on making - we could have a recipe share.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Holiday Weekend

It's been a busy holiday weekend here - still trying to get sorted out from the recent office move. We even found three large boxes of oil bottles that had escaped the stock take so I think we'll put those on Jam Jar Shop as a special offer bargain - as we didn't know we had them!

I am trying to sort my 'making list' for preserves as we have a new deli opening in our town soon who are going to stock my products so I had better be ready! We have had lots of orders in over the weekend for jars so it seems a lot of you are getting ready too. The new fruit season will be upon us sooner than we think and we will be battling to keep up with the produce.

We had our lovely new grandson Oscar to stay over the weekend who is very special and makes us focus on the important things in life - family and friends.