Friday, 14 October 2011

We've moved...

Welcome back to our regular readers and a warm welcome to any first time visitors.

If this site is looking a little bare it's because we've moved.... but don't worry we haven't gone far. Come and visit us over on our new look blog:

We look forward to seeing you there.


Friday, 30 September 2011

River cottage Bramley apple lemon curd

Having experienced a very specific craving for lemon curd last week, I looked to twitter for some recipe inspiration. My fellow tweeters never fail to dig out some wonderful recipe variations that I simply can’t wait to try out. 

I was particularly keen to try this recipe as it comes from the much loved and much used River Cottage preserves handbook by Hugh Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Pam Corbin. I dedicated a sunny Wednesday afternoon to re-creating this version of lemon curd and can confirm this will certainly become a favourite among the bottle and jar team.

Image courtesy of River Cottage/Bloomsbury
Any variation of lemon curd is perfect on toast or muffins and works equally well as a cupcake topping or sponge filling topped with poppy seeds.

Ingredients: Makes 5 of our 228ml round jars.

·      450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped

·      Finely grated zest and juice of two unwaxed ­lemons (you need 100ml strained juice)

·      125g unsalted butter

·      450g granulated sugar

·      4–5 large eggs, well beaten (you need 200ml beaten egg)


Image courtesy of River Cottage/Bloomsbury
Put the chopped apples into a pan with 100ml water and the lemon zest.

Cook gently until soft and fluffy, then either beat to a puree with a wooden spoon or rub through a nylon sieve.

Put the butter, sugar, lemon juice and ­apple puree into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture is hot and glossy, pour in the eggs through a sieve, and whisk with a balloon whisk.

If the fruit puree is too hot when the beaten egg is added, the egg will “split”. Check the temperature with a sugar thermometer — it should be no higher than 55–60C when the egg is added.

If your curd does split, take the pan off the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth.
Stir the mixture over a gentle heat, ­scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes, until thick and creamy.

This will take 9–10 minutes; the temperature should reach 82–84C on a sugar thermometer. ­Immediately pour into jars and seal.

This will keep for up to four weeks (if it lasts that long). Once opened, keep in the fridge.

Happy preserving

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Courgette and pineapple jam

Here at Bottles and Jars we’re always eager to make the most of nature’s seasonal offerings, and over on our twitter feed you can follow our #seasonalingredientoftheweek – this week we’re celebrating the courgette. As a member of the squash family, it has similar preserving properties to the marrow from our last post, and whilst both are treated in the culinary world as vegetables, botanically they are actually fruits – perfect for a jam!

The texture of the courgette makes it ideal for a quick and simple jam recipe, as it doesn’t require a long cooking time to thicken and set. This recipe from Spana at attracted me with the incredibly short ingredient list and cooking time, perfect for whipping up while you wait for dinner to cook. This jam can be kept in a jar to spread on toast and it makes the perfect filling for a Catalan cream tart: recipe here.

Ingredients: (makes 4-6 jars)
  • 1lb 12oz or there about peeled courgettes.  If really big take out seeds before weighing
  • Juice 2 lemons
  • 1 tin pineapple pieces, drained.  The tin says 540g, drained weight 340g
  • 1kg bag Jam Sugar with added pectin
  1. Put peeled courgettes in food processor and blast until mostly diced
  2. Add drained pineapple and give a short blast to finish. It needs to be fine but not pulp
  3. Scrape into your jam pan, add the lemon juice and sugar.  Give it a good stir to get the juices running
  4. Place on a low heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved
  5. Bring to a fast rolling boil and continue to boil for 4-6 minutes
Et voila! 
Pot into sterilised jars and seal: For more information on potting and sealing jars – read this post.
 You can view more bottle and jar recipes here along with all our special offers - currently we're offering 10% off your first order for anyone who registers at our site, and half price shipping until end of September.

I hope you enjoy trying some new vegetable jam recipes and would love to hear what you think. Have you got any tried and tested unusual sounding recipes? I’d love to hear them.

Happy preserving


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Marrow and Ginger preserve

Here at we're always keen to make the absolute most of the wonderful produce the seasons have to offer. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed will know I feature a #Seasonalingredientoftheweek and this week it's the marrow.

As you can imagine I'm also pretty keen to find a way of preserving the yumminess of these seasonal goodies. So when faced with a marrow I have to admit I needed some outside inspiration, but with quick flick through some preserving books, and a little help from my Tweeps I came across this recipe for marrow and ginger preserve.

Whilst both the main ingredients are savoury, this is actually a lovely mild and sweet jam, with a stunning autumnal yellow hue (which darkens slightly when kept). It is nice and easy to make as the marrow thickens the mixture quickly ready for popping in a jar quickly - so you don't feel that you need to make huge quantities at a time.

Ingredients: - Makes about 10 1lb jars
  • 6lb diced marrow flesh
  • Juice and grated rind of 4 lemons
  • 12 oz crystal ginger or 1 oz ground ginger - feel free to add ginger to your own taste though
  • 6lb caster sugar

1. Add the flesh to a heavy pan and pour over a little cold water. 
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 mins until tender. 
3. Drain and thoroughly mash the flesh. Return the flesh to the pan and add the grated rind and lemon juice. Add your ginger. 
4. Bring to the boil and then remove the pan from the heat. 
5. Add the sugar , stirring till disolved and then boil again till the jam is thick, about 20 mins. 
6. Pot in steralised jars and seal as normal.

For such a hearty preserve I think these would suit a chunky, rustic style jar such as our Excellsens jars.
Happy preserving


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hedgerow goodies

The hedgerow season is upon us and preserving pans are going into overdrive, making the most of the abundance of fruit late summer has to offer. 

We simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to share one of our favourite berry recipes - a no fuss blackcurrant jelly.

Blackcurrants lend themselves perfectly to jellies as opposed to a jam as the little fruits, whilst packed with flavour, can take a slightly 'bitty' texture when the whole fruit is used, so the juice is put to much better use as a jelly.

  • 700g of blackcurrants
  • 1.25 cups water
  • jam sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • knob of butter
You’ll also need a sturdy pan, jelly bag and jam jars such as these: hexagonal jars
  1. Place the blackcurrants, water and lemon juice in a pan with a knob of butter (the butter helps to stop a scum forming). Bring to the boil and let it simmer for approx 10 minutes. While simmering, mash the currants with a potato masher to get all the juice out.
  2. Pour the blackcurrants into a jellybag or sieve and suspend over a pan. Let the juice drip out for at least two hours. Do not push the mixture through as you will end up with a 'bitty' texture.
  3. Measure the juice and pour into a pan. For every 2.5 cups extracted add two cups of sugar
  4. Bring to the boil.
  5. Now comes the tricky part – testing the setting point. Put a small plate in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Take it out and put a teaspoon of the mixture on it. Place back in the fridge. After two minutes test it by moving it with your finger. If the mixture has started to set and has a visible skin on it that wrinkles when you push it, then it’s ready. If not repeat the test with a new teaspoon of the still boiling mixture.
  6. Once the mixture has reached the setting point take it off the boil and pour into jars that have been sterilized in boiling water or a medium oven.
  7. Seal the jars, keep in the refrigerator and consume within about six weeks. For more information about sterilizing and sealing jars visit our site:
Happy preserving

Monday, 8 August 2011

Plum Chutney

It's plum week in the bottle and jar kitchen so I thought I'd share an easy plum chutney recipe with you all. The smells that come from the kitchen with this recipe will provoke images of warm winter fires and thick wooly jumpers as cinnamon spice fills the air, and whilst it may seem a little early to be feeling festive there is no better time to take advantage of a hoard of yummy seasonal plums.
Image courtesy of Flickr

My favourite way to enjoy plum chutney is dolloped on cheese on crackers as a mid afternoon snack and it will make a delicious addition to a Christmas spread with cold meats, cheeses and pickles.

As with all homemade preserves they make a fabulous gift, and would fit perfectly alongside your other homemade goodies in a Christmas hamper. Make a big batch and share out the yumminess, it's sure to be appreciated.

Image courtesy of Flickr

Makes about one medium sized jar - multiply quantities to make a large batch.
  •  500g dark red plums
  • shallots, chopped  
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100 g demerara sugar

1. Cut the plums in half down the crease, twist the halves in opposite directions and pull apart. Prise out the stones and discard. Roughly chop the flesh.

2. Place the chopped shallots in a heavy-based, non-reactive saucepan with the olive oil and heat until sizzling. Sauté gently for 5 minutes until softened.

3. Add the chopped plums, vinegar, water, cinnamon and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly thickened.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 100-120°C /gas 1-2. Place a clean medium-sized jam jar in the oven to warm. When the plum chutney is ready, spoon it into the warm jar. Seal with a lid and leave to cool completely.

I like my chutney in a square jar and our medium sized 282 ml square jars are perfect for the job, although you can of course use any shape you desire.  Choose your jars here.
Happy Preserving...


Friday, 29 July 2011

Fruit pies in a jar

Pies may be a little autumnal but I simply couldn't resist sharing this wonderful idea, and they both use brilliant seasonal ingredients so it keeps me happy.

Making your individual pies in a jar is an absolutely brilliant idea as not only does it keep the pie moist and scrummy, but it also solves the problem of transporting your pies. It makes these the absolutely perfect treat to take along to all your summer picnics and BBQ's, with the bonus that this practical solution also looks like the epitome of homemade kitsch.

Recipe & images courtesy of:

Blueberry & Cherry star topped pies
Blueberry, Cherry & Peach Pies in a Jar
makes eight to ten 4 oz. pies
Pastry crust
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup ice water
Fruit filling
makes four to five 4 oz. pies
3 cups blueberries or cherries (pitted and halved), or a combination of both. Or 8-10 medium peaches (stoned and sliced to 1/2 thick pieces)
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for top of pie
big pinch salt
1 tablespoon ground instant tapioca (I use my coffee grinder)

Peach lattice pie
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Quickly chop up the butter, and pulse it into flour mixture, 5 or 6 times. Drizzle in ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times, just until the dough is combined.
Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Divide into 2, flatten dough into discs, and wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least a half-hour in the refrigerator. 

In a medium saucepan, heat the fruit, zest and juice over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, and allow the sauce to reduce a bit, until it coats the back of a spoon. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and combine in a medium bowl with the fresh fruit, sugar, salt, and tapioca. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well. Liberally butter 8 – 10 glass jars.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough discs. For the bottom crusts, cut out a 5” square, and press into the jar. For the tops, either cut strips of pastry for the lattice or use a jar to press out a circle. Use the scraps to cut out the stars with a tiny star cookie cutter. Spoon in 4 tablespoons or so of filling, press top crust into place, and crimp edges with a fork or your fingers. Add the star and make 4 very small incisions in the top of the dough to vent. Sprinkle the top of each pie with 1/2 teaspoon or so of sugar.

Place prepared pies onto heated cookie sheet, and bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the cookie sheet, turn the heat down to 150 degrees, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes, until crust is light golden and filling is bubbling vigorously.
Allow pies to cool completely and serve, or keep covered with a lid for up to three days.

These pies would work very well in our 228ml Round jars and I just can't wait to try these out.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe.


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Super simple broad bean dip

Image courtesy of Flickr
This week the bottle & jar store team are celebrating our seasonal ingredient of the week ..... introducing the broad bean.
These beautiful bright green beans make for a super simple yet stunning starter.

My absolute favourite way to enjoy these lovely little beans is smashed up, blitzed in a blender and packed full of flavour. I use a few essential ingredients - a glug of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper, garlic and of course wonderfully seasonal broad beans. I like to add a fresh herb of choice and find basil or mint work particularly well.

This recipe works well hot and cold and works as a great alternative to mashed potato in the summer months. Not only does do they add a new texture and a splash of vibrant colour to your dinner plate but broad beans are super-healthy and packed full of goodness.

For a stunning and versatile starter or snack, perfect for a picnic check out the recipe below. You really don't have to be too scrupulous with quantities, flavour to your taste.
Image courtesy of Flickr
  • A few good handfuls of broad beans
  • A good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • A small bunch of mint or basil (roughly torn)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt & pepper seasoning to taste
  • handful of grated parmesan

Method: Place the beans in a pan of boiling water and cook until tender (approx five minutes), drain beans and place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until required texture. Decant into an Excellsens jar. This will keep in the fridge for 2/3 days. 

195ml Excellsens Jar

This dip is also wonderful dolloped onto some crusty bread as a rustic and attractive canape.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do....

Keep an eye out for the next recipe coming very soon.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Time to introduce myself and welcome you all to my bottle and jar kitchen. I’m Penny and as you can imagine, along with the rest of the team I’m absolutely passionate about preserves and bottling up homemade goodies.

I’m lucky enough to have been given this space to share all my favourite preserve recipes, both old and new and with your help I hope to learn some new ideas along the way.

Each week at we celebrate the best produce the seasons have to offer, so I will be following suit posting the top seasonal recipes on here every week.

I hope you enjoy this space and please do feel free to share your tips and recommendations. I’ve seen some great like-minded foodie blogs out there and I’d love to read some more – so post your blog on here, I’d definitely be taking a look.

Stay tuned for my first recipe.......