Sunday, 24 January 2010


'Jam jars', of course, is something of a misnomer nowadays. They can be anything from mayo jars via jars that used to contain curry or bolognaise sauce, especially those nice little Seeds of Change jars, all the way to salsa jars that sit snugly next to those tubes of Pringles!

Anyone who makes pickles and preserves knows the feeling. Each time you visit the supermarket, you weigh up the jars you are going to buy, not only for their content but also for their size, shape and general appropriateness for housing your made-with-love preserves. Another worry is the label: does it look as if it will come off easily or are you going to have to attack it viciously with the scourer? And, practically, will the funnel fit inside the top so that the jam or whatever goes into the jar without mess?
It's not just a question of the food inside, you know - oh, dear me, no!

When you clear out the fridge and get rid of all the remains of out of date stuff, instead of recycling the jars via the nearest recycling point, you carefully scoop out the remains, thoroughly wash the jars and lids and store them in the shed or attic.

Last summer, DD got the urge to make jams with some fruit she had acquired free one way and another. Very nice it was too. However, she didn't have jars, so she raided my store and removed the most useful sized ones - to be fair, she did ask and I said yes, but I didn't quite realise how many she would want! I didn't have enough for her needs so she had a think and came up with something so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it myself. It involves waste, unfortunately.

We are lucky enough to have a Lakeland in town. Lakeland sells jam jars and lids; very nice they are too, but on the expensive side. Sainsbury's and Tesco's sell value mint sauce; horrid stuff, the only merit being that it's very cheap - only 15p per jar. That's £1.80 for a dozen jars and I defy anyone to find better value jars locally. Of course, the sauce itself goes down the sink but it probably clears out your pipes a treat at a fraction of the price that Mr Muscle demands! And the jars need a good hot run through the dishwasher, but I'd do that anyway before putting my culinary creations inside. OK, they're not huge jars, but they're an ideal size for one who lives on her own and also for nice little gifts, all done up with pretty paper and ribbon.

So when it gets a bit lighter, I'm off down the garden to the shed to see how many jam jars I have. If I don't have enough, I'm off to get some value mint sauce from one of the Big Two. If I do have enough, I'm off round the corner to Morrison's anyway to get some cointreau and some gin (sounds good, that, doesn't it!). I want to try adding some cointreau to a bit of the mixture, once it has reached setting point, just to see what it's like. I don't care for whisky or brandy but have heard that a bit of alcohol is lovely in marmalade. The gin is for the Seville orange gin. Honest!!

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