Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Spicy cranberry chutney

So....... if you like your cranberry sauce at Christmas, what about straying slightly from the traditional and giving a spicy cranberry chutney a go this year? it's ready to eat in 1 hrs 20 mins and is delicious!

What you will need:
8oz cranberries, 2 tomatoes - blanched peeled and chopped, 2oz sultanas, 1/2 small chopped onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 8oz dark brown soft sugar, 4fl oz cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 6 fl oz water.

What you will need to do:
In a maslin pan or large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sultanas, tomatoes, onion and salt. bring to the boil. Simmer covered for 15 mins (or until the cranberries pop).
Next, stir in the other ingredients. cover and simmer for 35-40 mins, (or until it has a chutney consistency) give the occasional stir. once ready, ladel into jars and let cool before use.

if you try this recipe out, give us a post on facebook with your taste results!!/pages/Jam-Jar-Shop/130417870323888

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Jammy results!

Well, the WI real Jam Festival was a lovely event to be involved with and it was very pleasing on the eye seeing the competition display room a wash with red and white spotty lids!
There were several familiar names on some of the entry's, particularly those of Guild members.
Speaking to one particular member after the results were in, who couldn't be present on the day unfortunately but was very happy with a result of 19.5 out of 20 in the class 2, soft fruit category, coming second to Best in Show, Rosemary Green. Well done Bridget.
There was also an entry from Kelvin Mackenzie, former Sun editor who went on to win class 6, 'jam in the public eye' competition.
It was great to see so many enthusiastic visitors including a young man who is a very keen jam and preserve maker, so much so that he's set up a Jam Club, 'an excuse to sit around drinking tea and eating what we've made' he says, sounds good to me!
A short video of the festival can be seen at

Watch out for the next blog on 'what do you do with yours'!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Shame on you Boots

Needless to say, I don't like the new Boots ad suggesting that a jam making kit and course is a boring present compared to some of their products so I have written to their press office, copied below.

"I want to register with you my opinion of the new series of ads, in particular the one featuring the jam making kit and course.

Whilst I have a sense of humour and 'get' the point of this series , nevertheless you clearly have no idea that jam making is the new 'cool' thing, especially amongst the younger age groups. There has been a huge explosion of interest in the last 18 months, a natural progression from the popularity in cooking generally and the enormous demand for allotments.

I feel that we have the last laugh, however, as you have probably alienated more people by this cheap jibe at what you portray to be a middle aged, boring demographic. As the foremost retailer of jam jars and jam making equipment in the UK, we are well placed to know and understand the market and if the position were reversed and we were advertising our products against yours in a similar way, I am certain that you would have plenty to say about it.

Rosemary Jameson
Director, Jam Jar Shop "

If you have an opinion then write to them too at

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pumpkin Chutney recipe

Well, halloween's over and there are still lots of pumpkins around so what to do with them I hear you say! How about giving pumpkin chutney a try?
What you will need:
2lbs (900g) of pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 lb (450g) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pint (570ml) white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons white peppercorns
1 lb (450g) onion, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 lbs (675g) brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons of black peppercorns

So once you have everything you need and have done your chopping, put the pumpkin in a pan and cover with the vinegar then add the onion, tomatoes and garlic.
Crush the peppercorns and spices together and add to the pan, give it all a good stir and leave it for an hour.
Once the hour is up, add the sugar salt and ginger and slowly bring to the boil.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, giving the occassional stir and keep an eye on the consistency as you don't want a jam like consistency.
Once simmering has finished, allow to cool then add to your sterilised jars ( we recommend a glass preserving jar) then store for Christmas and enjoy with cheese and cold meet.

There are variations on the pumpkin chutney recipe including, sweet, pumpkin and apple or spicey, all worth a try.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Jam Demo at St Katherine's School, Pill

It's always great to find children and young people enjoying fruit and vegetable's both growing and eating and especially interesting to be asked to contribute to a Food Festival Week at St Katherine's School in Pill at the begining of October.
St Katherine's is a Food For Life flagship School and achieved the prestigous Gold Award, presented to them last December by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
As part of their Food For Life initiative, they hold a Food Festival every year and this year we were asked to come along and demo jam making for the children. As expected, it was hectic but fun and all the children engaged and had lots of questions. They loved tasting the jam and they had plenty of goodies to take away with them.

We're working towards becoming more involved with schools, running demo's and classes and also talking to pupils and teachers about SwapCrop and how they can get involved. We've also been asked to return to St Katherine's next year once their new Hospitality and Catering building is ready for use.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

BLUE spot lids are here!

I am almost fainting with excitement! We have just received our new delivery of blue spot lids - you've had the red - and we still have those - now we have blue as well! They are so new we don't even have a picture yet. People have found them on the website and ordered them though. They match the blue spot labels if you want to see the colour.

What are you making at the moment? We are very, very lucky to have been given a huge amount of quince by a lovely lady in our next village. Our preserve business, 'Jam on the Hill', has survived the re-branding and this boost of these rare fruits is very welcome indeed. Classes are underway at The Old Smithy and I am just working on the programme for next year, which will be published on the website this week. There are still a few places left leading up to Christmas as well.

We will be launching our gift vouchers this week - ideal for Christmas presents - watch the website.Talking of Christmas, there are some fantastic packaging ideas on-line as well - we have hampers, trugs, crates, fill, ribbons - you just need to provide the contents. Take a look.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

SwapCrop and the Guild at the Organic Food Festival

Well, if anyone has been to the Organic Food Festival in the past or was there this year, you'll know that it's always a successful event, with so much going on over the two days and we were very happy to be part of it this year. The response to both SwapCrop and The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers was so positive with lots of interest in memberships so we've been pretty busy since!

It was really interesting to meet people from all ages and walks of life who were truly making the most of the seasons fruits making everything from jam and chutneys to flavoured vodkas and cordials. We even spoke to a lady that uses a bread maker to make her jam but, we were particularly inspired by a group of young men that were keen preservers and told us that they regularly hold 'jam offs' (as apposed to bake offs) of an evening!
This is brilliant, really good to see that all ages are making jam and in their case, making an event of it too.

During the weekend, we also met several journalists and school teachers, all very interested in the concept of a Jam Guild and the benefits of a scheme such as SwapCrop so look out for up and coming write ups!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I hadn't disappeared - back with some great offers

Phew! Where have I been? Working. that's where. There has been no time to be bloging or filming for YouTube, hardly time to see the grandbabies, although we did go camping with them last weekend. I have been asked to write for a magazine, we have had lots of national press coverage, taken a lease on The Old Smithy to start our courses and jam making and dealt with more orders in the last month than in four months this time last year.

We have lots of new products on the website that I haven't had time to tell you about - especially the bumper packs of labels - great value - same great quality!

We also have new packs of the popular Firenze bottles - the average purchase ofd these bottles is in 6's so we have had a box produced for this quantity, packed them, AND reduced the price - can't be bad - check them out here . Will be great for Sloe Gin.

May and Katie will be starting on the Plum Jam later this week, so we'll get the recipe up on the website over the weekend, hopefully. Normal service is resumed!

Thursday, 13 May 2010


Fab newsletter here all about the elegant, exciting, extrovert, economic, ebullient elderflower. Recipes, ideas, offers, check it out.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Jam Jar Tongs for Preserving

Just a quickie - we have finally got the jam jar tongs in for lifting jars from a sterilisation water bath - I know many of you have been trying to find them so they are just on the website now . We also have several other sizes for preserving jar replacement seals, there are plenty of pictures, plus line drawings with the specific sizes shown clearly - you just need to click onto the thumbnails.

We still have great deals on boxed jars - the 8oz hex have joined in now! Stock up before the season gets underway and you won't have to think twice about making an extra batch or two.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

FreeTree and The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers

At Jam Jar Shop we are excited to bring you a brilliant new scheme - FreeTree! Take a look at the page on the website and get applying. We love to think that lots of new fruit trees and bushes will be planted for the future and there will be lots of lovely fruit for jams and chutneys, of course. Whether you are an allotment association, a playschool or school, a care home or just an individual you can apply to receive a fruit tree of your choice - absolutely FREE. Write us a letter, send us an email, a picture of where the tree will be going - tell us why you need it. We will award a tree every week but the trees will be dispatched at the appropriate time for planting, not actually every week. Let's hear from you.

The other project we would like to bring to your attention is The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers. Newly launched, you can email for a membership pack and join in with the jam making community. From individual home producers through artisans to the industry, membership is open to all. Membership also incorporates SwapCrop a community based scheme to match folks that have spare fruit or vegetable crops with those willing - or even desperate - to make them into jams and preserves, to be shared with the cropper of course! Make new friends, learn new skills, make the most of nature's harvest. Visit for all information. We will be adding lots of items over the next few weeks so visit often.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Italian Bottles

We have lots of lovely new Italian bottles in stock - already for the Elderflower season which will be here before we know it! The bottles are reasonably priced, stylish and in a variety of sizes with some beautiful shapes. There are two sizes of oil bottle in both green glass and clear and they come with a choice of cap - gold or black with an intergral plastic pourer. The sweetest little bottle with a swing top stopper is just 40ml and ideal to use as a wedding favour. Take a look - we'll be having some lovely new elderflower labels as well shortly.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Our Country Living Award

Here's the proof! We had such a good time at the show - all of the people from the event organisers and from Country Living Magazine made it as good as it can be. It's always hard work, you always end up exhausted but if the hassle is minimised it makes all the difference. Things like being able to have a freshly cooked breakfast with wholesome ingredients before you start really made a difference. Hats off to all of the cheerful staff at The Good Eating Company in the venue. Even the taxi drivers were cheerful!

We are so pleased to have won this award on our first visit and it really gives our staff a boost who worked especially hard to keep everything going back at base while some of us were away. We've shared the champagne with them this morning so if something is missing from your order today you'll know why.

It was lovely to meet lots of our customers face to face and we have plenty of feedback for next year, and for the things you are looking for, so we'll get to work on that.

We have a couple of great schemes coming up which we'll do separate entries on once we've caught up with the post and the messages.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Great News!!!!

We have been awarded the Best New Product for our stand at The Country Living Fair at the Design Centre, Islington and we are sooooooooo pleased! Totally unexpected - the show is on until Sunday and is a great day out - why not come along and see us? Now, where are those champagne glasses?

Thank you Country Living

Sunday, 21 March 2010

YouTube Slideshow - Making Lemon Curd

Just completed the next YouTube presentation on making fresh Lemon Curd - just right for Easter - give it a go!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Easter newsletter and offers

Great new email newsletter out today - get here You can subscribe to receive the newsletter from the website - no need to buy. There are some fantastic offers for Easter and some great ideas for weddings - so if you are a bride-to-be or know someone who is, take a look.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Guess what I saw today?

We've been to some meetings today (groan) but on the way back stopped at a farm shop we know of (hurrah) and they had some very young, very pale pink rhubarb - the first I've seen so
far. It will start to come in now more and more and I'm hoping to be able to use some for a new Jam Jar Shop video epic - making Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney. Hopefully May and I will be able to take the photos this week and I can get it onto YouTube so you can make some too. It's really exciting because it is the first home-grown crop of the year - next will be gooseberries married with the fantastic hedgerow Elderflowers and then, well it will all kick off early Summer.

Here we go!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lemon Curd for Mothers Day March 14th

I promised you the recipe for lucious Lemon Curd in time to make some for Mothers Day, which is March 14th this year in the UK. I hope you have been looking out for a lovely bowl to put it in to make your gift even more special. This recipe makes about 1.5 8oz jars - roughly!

Wash and rinse your jars and put to warm in a medium oven while you make the Lemon Curd.

You can make this over a saucepan of simmering water but it is much quicker to make it in a microwave, if you have one.

You will need:-

3oz caster sugar
1 large, juicy lemon, grate rind, squeeze juice
2 large free range eggs
2oz butter, cut into small cubes

Place grated rind and the sugar into a 1 pint-ish bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into another bowl and whisk in the eggs. Line a sieve with a piece of muslin, if you have it, and strain the eggy lemon mix through onto the sugar. Discard the muslin, if used. Add the butter to the bowl and then microwave on half power, if possible in short bursts, until mixture thickens.

I usually do 1 minute on half power, stir, repeat a couple of times and then go onto 30 sec bursts on half power, stirring in between. How long it takes to thicken will depend on your microwave, but it is usually no more than 5 minutes total. You don't want to end up with lemon flavoured scrambled egg so BE PATIENT! The mixture should just coat the back of a spoon when ready - it will thicken as it cools.

If you are making this to give straightaway then pour into the bowl or jar. If you need to store it then pour into your prepared jars and seal immediately.

The Lemon Curd must be stored in the fridge at all times because of the egg and dairy content and you should aim to use it within 6 weeks of making - not usually a problem!

It is delicious on toast, scones, with meringues or used to sandwich together a sponge cake - maybe some whipped cream? Or pack a couple of home made scones in a basket with a jar of lemon curd and a few fresh flowers - perfect. ( Be sure the recipient knows that it must be kept in the fridge )


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Country Living Fair

We are very excited to have secured a small stand at this spring's Country Living Fair at the Design Centre, Islington 24th-28th March. It is tiny, tiny, tiny as it was a late booking - the last stand available in the WiRE area (Women in Rural Enterprise) I don't know what we will be able to shoehorn into the space but come along and see us anyway as we will have some exciting announcements to make - can't tell you now! I hope to have some brochures from Country Living with some ticket discounts on, so if that interests you, then email the office ( see below ) and we will send you the details as soon as we have them. We will have some show offers as well for you on the day. See you there!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wholegrain Mustard with Beer - on YouTube now!

I have been working ALL DAY creating the Making Wholegrain Mustard slideshow which is now on YouTube. Making mustard is so easy, no cooking involved, as in heating things up, and the variations are endless. It's a whole subject in itself. There are step by step instructions, the recipe and loads of pictures. It is the very same recipe I used when I won Gold at The Great Tastes Awards in 2008 ( didn't have time to enter last year!), so it is tried, tested and approved.

Have a go and let us know how you get on. Don't forget you can get mustard seeds, cider vinegar and sea salt from the website if you find them hard to find.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Mother's Day

Had a great time at the Marmalade Festival in Cumbria at the weekend - my they work hard! Over 800 entries to taste and evaluate, 1800 visitors to organise and make cups of tea for - thank you to everyone involved. I met up with Dan Lepard, who writes for The Guardian, and champions good honest food, so we like him - see his website . Some great items plus a useful forum. David Whitehouse was there helping the talented amateurs with problems over setting points, information on making pectin stock, whilst simultaneously helping to ensure the event ran smoothly - and listening to me! And they say men can't multi-task.

My preserving thoughts are turning towards Mother's Day which this year is 13th March. Yes, I know it almost a full month away but I am thinking home-made here which takes a little planning. How about a lovely dish of home-made lemon curd - there is nothing like the taste of this and in my opinion the only thing to eat it on is a teaspoon! The lemon curd is made very quickly and I will be bringing you the recipe for it a bit later. However, it might be fun to search the charity shops to find a pretty glass or bone china bowl to put the lemon curd in, rather than a jar. You can cover the top with film or cellophane if travelling and you still have a gift after the contents vare eaten. That's what takes the time. Finding the bowl. So get to it and check back soon for the recipe, which couldn't be easier.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Pancake Day February 16th

Now that you have made some marmalade use some to make this yummy, quick and eaaaasy Marmalade Sauce to go with your pancakes on Pancake Day, February 16th. It's delicious.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Red Onion Marmalade

No, I know it's not that kind of marmalade, but a friend asked me for a recipe so I thought I could share it with you too. It's great with good sausages, steak, barbeques or with a tasty cheese.

You will need:-

3lbs / 1.5 kgs red onions, finely sliced
12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
150ml red wine vinegar
8oz / 250g dark muscavado sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tip the onions into a large pan and add garlic, olive oil, mustard seeds and coriander seeds. Stir well to combine and cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the vinegar and sugar and continue cooking slowly for a further 15-20 minutes until the onions are translucent and reduced. Stir in 4 tablespoon water and continue to cook for 10 minutes until thick and sticky. Season to taste and pot up into warm, sterilised jars.

The instructions say store for up to 2 months ( but we have kept it for a lot longer, sealed, and it has been fine )

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sugar n' Spice - and all things vinegar!

Just up on the website today - bulk quantity wine and cider vinegars! I have never seen these sizes in the shops and they are a great saving on the bottle prices. Saves taking all the empties to the recycling as well. We have red, white and cider from that tried and trusted company Aspalls. We have also managed to track down Certo pectin, which I know many of you have difficulty in finding in the shops, as they only tend to stock it in the main jam making season. We have price-matched Tesco and Waitrose so you can't say fairer than that.

There is also the wonderfully crumbly Maldon sea salt - I have tried others but always come back to Maldon, especially when making mustards and chutneys. I tend to use good old table salt for salting things like red cabbage and the ingredients for Piccalilli to save a bit, but for added flavour I like the Maldon.

We have other hard-to-find spices as well for you - things like Allspice, which isn't the same thing as Mixed Spice and shouldn't be substituted. The Allspice Berries are wonderfully pungent when bruised slightly, and then added to a spice bag for warm flavoured chutneys. We have yellow and black mustard seeds all ready for a spot of wholegrain mustard making. I'll be posting the method on YouTube soon - would make a fantastic Easter present for hard-to-buy for Dads and Uncles. Not being sexist - but you know what I mean!

We shall be adding to our range of ingredients as time goes on - once we find it for us, we will share it with you.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Spices and more

Just a few new ingredients for you - hard-to-find items that we tracked down to use ourselves and thought you might need as well. There will be more coming next week so check back soon.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Kilners are here!

Kilner jars are up on the site in record time! Screw tops or clip tops, lots of choice. Good pics, good price! Check it out here

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Kilner Jars

Stop press! We have had a delivery of traditional design Kilner jars today both screw top seals and clip top. Good old Kilner - something that used to be in almost every home, made redundant when the swanky freezer pushed them out of the way but now makin g a welcome comeback. They will be on the website tomorrow and available as single items. You won't have to buy 6 or 12 unless you want to of course!

The mustard-making went well and we got some great photographs so I will be hard at work now editing so that you can try some recipes out as soon as the marmalade making is finished.
We are also bringing you a new range of hard-to-find ingredients at great prices - there's no end to it! So much to do, so little time.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Spring Cleaning

Well the snow has gone from round these parts and life is getting back to normal - or what passes for normal anyway. We're busy, busy, busy with our two great offers on jars to help you through the marmalade season cos' if you're anything like me, you always buy more oranges than you planned. Don't forget that they freeze well so you could spread out the making a bit.

May and I are going to be making mustard this week so we hope to bring you a new method pdf and YouTube slideshow - it really is ridiculously easy to make, and a jar of home-made wholegrain mustard makes a great present, especially if you team it with a bottle of flavoured oil -chilli or herb maybe. Great. I won a Great Tastes Gold award for my mustard the very first year I started making it, so it can't be that tricky!

It is also a good time to be making things like that whilst we wait for the first rhubarb and the early gooseberries. Or think about sorting out the freezer - all those odd bags of left-over fruit or veg could cook up into some tasty chutneys or relishes, making valuable space for the coming year's crops - or the seville oranges!

Don't forget the Marmalade Festival - you can all enter even if you can't visit the Festival and all of the proceeds go to the local Hospice.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Marmalade Method on YouTube - whatever next?

Check out the marmalade recipe and instructions on YouTube - and when you've seen how easy it is go to the website where there are some great bargains to help you make the most of your new-found knowledge.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Sale Page

Getting a bit fed up with the white stuff now - it makes everything so much harder PLUS there are no Seville oranges around for the marmalade! Well, not in my neck of the woods anyway. It's hard enough buying everyday food without searching for the elusive oranges as well. So many people have had it much worse than us - we have got off fairly lightly in comparison but there is still more forecast for tomorrow and Thursday. Oh joy. I am spending the time when I should be cooking working on some other ideas for you - more on this later when I have got something in place for you to look at and consider. In the meantime, we have grouped together all of the items on special offer on a Sale page on the website so that you can easily spot the bargains - hope it helps. Oh, and we have some new paper jar tops as well if you want to pretty up some recycled jar lids, more designs coming soon. Keep warm, keep safe.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Calling all jam makers! BBC Television Business Opportunity

I have had an email today from Howard Mills who is looking for entrepreneurial jam and preserve makers for a new BBC Television programme _ it could be you! I have copied the email for you below together with the contact information. Why not get in touch - you have nothing to lose!


Do you believe you’ve invented the next Dyson? Concocted a successor to Innocent Smoothies? Discovered the next Protect and Perfect face cream? Then the BBC wants to hear from you!

In a groundbreaking new series, some of Britain’s biggest and best loved high street stores are clearing some shelf space for YOU – the great British public – to sell YOUR products.

Whatever your product, this could be your unique chance to break into the big time. Under the watchful eye of retail expert Theo Paphitis of Dragon’s Den, the most influential buyers in retail want to meet Britain’s undiscovered design talent AND will stock the best of what they see.

Whether you have created a range of garden tools, a fabulous food product, a ‘must have’ accessory or anything else worth selling, this is your chance. If you believe your ORIGINAL product could be successful, but has yet to find its market, apply now.

Email address:
Or telephone: 0207 874 6617

Friday, 1 January 2010

It's marmalade time!

Happy New Year to everyone - hope it was all good for you.

We managed a few days off and had a happy time with our families and new grandchildren -magical to experience Christmas through the eyes of children who are seeing new things for the first time.

We spent a warm and fun New Year's Eve with friends from the village, travelling from house to house until we brought in the New Year with fizz and fireworks. Now we are turning our thoughts to the first preserves of 2010. Marmalade. If you have never made marmalade before do have a go. It seems time consuming and complicated but if you follow our instructions on the website you will soon find yourself hooked - and I promise that you will never want to eat shop-bought marmalade again.

To help things along we have two great offers for you - 24, yes 24 16oz jam jars with our brand new exclusive red spotty lids for just £9.95 - are we mad? You can buy as many packs as you like, there's no limit. Also, pick up some packs of our retro orange and lemon labels, each with a FREE square of muslin PLUS instructions for tying a muslin bag from the square. All for just £3.95.

The labels have been designed for Jam Jar Shop by talented artist Marek Jagucki and they will not be available from any other source. Marek designed our Christmas labels and we are now extending this range of retro style labels throughout the year so if you have any special requests then send us an email. We are very happy to respond to ideas and to make Jam Jar Shop what you would like it to be.

Our vision is for the website - and indeed the business - to become a community. There is so much to explore and to present to you but there seems to be so little time! We are going to be looking for some more help in the Spring but that all takes time as well! Interviewing, selecting, waiting for notice periods to be worked, training - all the while hoping you have chosen the right person plus trying to keep on top of all of the other work. Ours staff all work very hard and they deserve more help so we will have to find the time to attend to it somehow.

Finally, if you feel you would like a little more practical help check out our range of classes on the website. A great day out - why not make up a group of your friends and come along together to a workshop. Contact Lynne for more details and to discuss requirements.

Happy New Jam Making Year!