Stock up on jars
Just to point out, on this freezing cold day, we have hot prices - see what I did there - on jars at the moment so it would be good to stock up ahead of the new season. We have good quantities as well - from 10 jars upwards so no need to just stick to one size.
We also have the popular Frutetto back on sale and you can buy those in singles - just right for that special something.
Great quality as ever, and great prices.
Rosie's Pantry is filling up as well and is the place to look for the lower volumes of jars and, of course, all of those fantastic Jarcessories!
Crikey! I hope you are all safe in these howling winds - we have no rain or snow at the moment here in Rutland but I don't think it will be long.. Poor old hens don't like it much - it messes with their feathers. I have the woodburner going here in The Old Smithy but there are so many draughts in this old building it doesn't feel all that cosy.
I have had to be doing a lot of book keeping in the last couple of weeks as the company accounts are due to be filed, the tax sorted, the VAT - I should have worked for HMRC instead of making jam. The paperwork! AND - although you sign up to something called the Government Gateway, every single element of it requires it's own log in, password, authentication code (which they send in the post), and,. in the case of my son's accounts, all of the above plus an extra layer for me acting as agent, also posted. Talk about belt and braces! PAYE is different again of course, and then all of the above to be filed as accounts on Companies House who have all of their own log ins and authentication codes. Grrrr!
Enough of that - let me show you the new things in Rosie's Pantry on the lovejars.co.uk site. Lots more lovely things and ideas to help you think up new ideas for dressing your jars. As well as the oranges & lemons and mixed citrus there are Rosie's Reds and a Naturals range. All are filling up nicely with lots of Jarcessories with lots more to come.
Have a look at Gifts and Goodies as well - I have created a brilliant Gift Jar for Preservers with everything you could possibly need to create wonderfully original looks for your jars. A mixture of labels, jar wraps and tags, buttons and pegs, string, ribbons and a gold or silver gel pen for writing the labels. There is even a log book to record all of the batches you make. It is all packed into a good quality Le Parfait clip top jar which can be used for preserving once all the contents have gone. If my Ma was still alive and IF she had liked preserving (she hated it) then I would have definitely bought her this for Mother's Day.
Lid Printing for Artisans
If you have ever wished that you could have your own bespoke lid design for your preserves we may now be able to help. We have been approached by a cap manufacturer who is offering this service in volumes of 10,000 ( which isn't actually very many when you add up what you use over a year.)
We have to order a minimum of 60,000 per run but we can make up that run of mixed designs of 10,000 each. The caps are of very good quality with food grade, acid proof linings and seal. The linings are German products which have all of the technical specification certificates. We can also mix up to four sizes within the run.
The caps will have the security button so will be tamper evident without having extra seals and labels. This will save you cost and time. The caps will be of a comparative cost with non-printed i.e. fractionally more expensive but still cost effective.
So, if this is something that you have always hankered after then get in touch and we can discuss it in detail.
Firstly, please read the warning below. Sorry to be boring but its better to be safe than sorry.
Just a warning for you all - beware enquiries coming from China professing that they want real 'English Jam'. The email will say that they want to set up a relationship with a UK producer and receive large quantities of jam every month.
They will ask for samples to be sent and once these have arrived a purchase order will be raised for the first order. Shipping and export forms will be discussed, a draft contract will be issued for examination, packing requirements and a deposit will be discussed.
Then, they will say, as a matter of courtesy, they like to meet the people that they are going to do business with, to forge a bond, to sign the contract in person etc etc. An invitation to visit their offices - the sooner the better.
The scam is, once you are in their offices, with the contract on the table, you will be asked for a large 'notarisation fee' to process the contract. This will be several thousand dollars payable by money transfer and you will be asked to wait until tomorrow to sign the papers, once they have been registered with the Chinese authorities. They may suggest a dinner that evening with their Directors. You will leave, looking forward to seeing some Chinese nightlife.
You will never see them again.
The offices will be rented, the people are bogus and there is no large order. They will collect you from the airport so you will not know which address you are being taken to. The address they put on the 'contract' and 'purchase order' will not exist if you Google it.
The money will be non-returnable and there is no order.
When I received such an enquiry I let it run as far as possible to find out what was behind it. I contacted people in UKTI and they contacted CBBC in Chengdu and got the background checked out in China. Luckily no flights were booked or money lost - except for some samples. There is no point giving you the company or individual's names as they will be changed each time.
Just beware - if it sounds too good to be true etc etc. Please let me know if you do have such an enquiry and I will pass the information on to the authorities.
Happy Jammy New Year everybody!
Now, this blog isn't about boring dusting or clearing out cupboards! I know that most of us preservers are up to our ears in Seville Oranges and that the annual marmalade making is well underway. When that is finished, however, what will there be? Take a little bit of time out to plan for the gap between marmalade and the soft fruit arrival. I have been Spring cleaning my chest freezer this week - it is very surprising what you find that has been forgotten! I am not one of those organised people who keep an in-out log but it does all get used on a regular basis. My freezer is only used for fruit and vegetables and there is always a small bag of something or other that has gradually fallen to the bottom recesses. So this week they have all been retrieved, the freezer cleared out and defrosted and the bigger bags replaced. This flurry of activity is so there is the maximum room for filling up the freezer with Seville oranges so that I can make marmalade throughout the year.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the madness of the marmalade season, the fact that it whooshes in after Christmas when we are all ready to replace the cinnamon, clove and pine-y smells with something fresh and tangy. There is nothing quite like the smell of the marmalade cooking to clear the head. However, there may be all sorts of reasons why you may want to extend the seasons - pressure of work maybe, busy parent, or perhaps you find it just too tiring to make a lot in one go. I can relate to that, but my main reason is because I sell my products, I can never make enough for a whole year if I just make it in the season. There would have to be 48 hours in the day, 49 of them spent cooking!
So I buy lots of oranges as soon they arrive and make some marmalade then, and put the rest into the freezer for later. You probably know by now that I make my marmalade by cooking the fruit whole first, and then cut up the peel when it is nice and soft. The recipe with lots of photographs are on our lovejars.co.uk website. This means that I can freeze the oranges whole and take them out as needed. I just loose fill the bottom of the freezer to about half it's depth, which leaves me space at the top for a few other things.
If you anything like me, you will end up with a few bags of this and that which aren't much use on their own. I combine berries to make Berry Good Jam, just cook on the usual jam principles of one to one - sugar, fruit, lemon juice. Or, this week I have been making fruit syrups, single flavours, which will be very useful later in the year for drizzling over ice-cream or flavouring cakes and puddings. I have bottled them in 100ml bottles as they are a bit special almost being the very essence of the fruit. I totally forgot to take any photographs on the way through but it is basically a jelly making principle of cooking the fruit down, straining through a jelly bag and adding sugar to the juice. I have made some blackberry today and am looking forward to putting a little in the bottom of my glass on a hot Summer's day before topping up with chilled Prosecco. Yum.
I will be using up some veggies and tomatoes in a lovely hot chutney with some Scotch Bonnet chillies which were lurking in the basket tray at the top of the freezer. My son Rob loves really hot things so let's see what he makes of that!
Here is the recipe for Blackberry Syrup - I will also be making some Blackcurrant, Raspberry and Strawberry flavours as well.
450g/1lb granulated sugar
600ml/1 pint water + 1 teacup
Makes about 8 100ml bottles
Cook the blackberries with the teacup of water very gently until the fruit is very soft and pulpy.
Mash well with a wooden spoon and the pour into a jelly bag and leave to drip overnight
Measure the juice and allow 600ml/1 pint water and 450g/1lb sugar to each 600ml/1 pint juice
Put the water and sugar into a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar
Bring to boiling point then maintain a steady boil for 5 minutes
Add the juice to the pan, bring back to boiling point and cook for a further 5 minutes
Pour into sterilised bottles and seal loosely
Put a folded tea towel or J cloth into the bottom of another pan and stand the bottles on the cloth. Pour enough cold water as high as the pan will allow, leaving a space for the water to bubble. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes to sterilise the contents of the bottles. Remove the bottles carefully as they will be very hot and tighten the caps down firmly. Leave to cool then store in a cool dark place. Use within one year.
Just a footnote on jars - we are offering much smaller quantities on lovejars.co.uk now, so ideal for home preservers. There are lots of exciting new things in the pipeline and some great offers. This new range of marmalade jar wraps, labels and tags will be on the website this week and I will have some special prizes coming up.