Monday, 29 January 2018

Recycling, Two Empty Jars and sourcing bottles for Christmas Hampers (already)


OH was bought as part of the Christmas food bits and bobs two large jars of 
Gherkins.  It is something he can have within reason to eat and nibble at (instead of something sweet).  I get these from Lidl.  I have in the past made them but at the price I can get them for at Lidl this is one thing I have dropped off the Preserve list as it is just false economy for me to make them. Unless of course I manage to find a glut of gherkins for next to nothing which in this country is perhaps not as common as it is in the States.

In any event I thought the two large jars might keep him going until the end of the month but it appears I have underestimated him.  Both jars are now empty as I have said but they are not about to be thrown.  They are ideal for keeping my pickled onions and shallots in later in the year.  I have been adding a few jars every so often; I will just have to source new lids for the coming season. 

Bottles for Liqueurs

As many of you are aware, last year I made quite a few different flavoured vodkas and other liqueur type drinks initially for the pantry but then a lot of them being put into the drinks cupboard (sounds posher than it is).  Although many moons ago I did have a drinks cabinet in a unit I had.  However when I think of a drinks cabinet I think of Pa Larkin in the Darling Buds of May and his drinks cabinet.   in the shape of a ship - now that was a drinks cabinet.

This coming year I have plans to make some more home made liqueurs and like last year I intend to start buying bottles of vodka and gin for use later on in the year.  This year in particular I want to make some hampers up for friends and family with some of the said home made liqueurs as well as other home made goodies. 

Ifyou are giving someone a pressie you always want it to look nice and really nice bottles cost and arm and a leg.  However in the run up to Christmas last year, and totally by chance I managed to find some small miniature bottles of wine (a couple of different types) , that I could buy for under £2 a bottle, drink the contents and then re-use the bottles in my Christmas hampers with some of the home made liqueur in.  Sounds like a plan and not too expensive either.  

Corks, Lids for Jars and making the closure tidy on bottles

You can in some places also buy corks with plastic tops these are ideal for recycling the bottles and you can also use the wine covers with the use of a hairdryer to make the tops look good or you can dip them in molten wax - different coloured ones like reds, greens and maybe blue are good.  (Wilkinsons sell the cork covers in packs of 10 or 20).  With the aid of a hairdryer they are very easy to put on.

I do tend to recycle nice jars anyway as long as I can get replacement lids.  There are various sources for these.  It all falls into my waste not want not ethic.  Recycling also saves a lot of money in the long run.

I also make little fabric covers for jam jars and also for the wine bottles.  I use my Accuquilt cutter with a round cutter (there are a couple of different sizes) to make the bonnets for the jars.  You can also make your own labels with the aid of a computer different fonts and also different images.  There is so much you can do when you start looking at things.

Cheap packing paper and Wrapping paper

With me doing all the preserving I do, I do what I can to make the stuff as nice as I can without going OTT.  This includes making packing for little boxes or baskets with tissue paper shredded through my paper shredder and then decorated with cellophane and ribbon.  You can even do plants like this.  Brown paper for birthday and Christmas presents wrapped in pretty ribbon and stamped with suitable prints in ink even potato prints.  Making pretty recycled paper to be used for labels and cards.  Recycling ribbon and using on cards and on the packaging.

Baskets for food/Plants and Drink

Liberate baskets of any size from a Charity shop.  You can paint them, make fabric liners, make fabric straps, decorate with ribbon, leave them plain and use hessian and natural lace to dress them up use florist ribbons to make lovely decorative bows  -  I have a bow making machine both a wooden one and more advanced one.

I also because I am a tight so and so and I liberate wine bottles and recycle them for my home made wines. If I don't have enough bottles I occasionally buy them from Wilkinsons.  I also recycle beer bottles for stout, bitter and lager that have been bought.  Yet again you can get the crown caps (the metal lids with the crinkly surrounds) from Wilkinsons and online.

I have found that jam jars that hold Pataks sauces in and also Dolmio jars can be recycled with the Lakeland jam jar lids if that helps anyone out there.

If I can recycle something I will.  This tends to be an ongoing process in my household all the time.

I am also tight when it comes to using Kilner jars or Mason jars.  I use these only for bottled/canned goods. The jars are expensive and you have to source new seals each time you use them. Jams, marmalades,conserves and curds I use ordinary jam jars.  They more than adequately keep the jam and if you water bath the bottles it will keep them even longer.  For Pickles I use Sarson vinegar jars, or Le Parfait or Kilner jars with the rubber seals or recycled large jars that have had pickles in previously from the likes of Lidl or Aldi.

So ladies if you plan on giving your nearest and dearest home made hampers this year start looking for your hampers/containers and packing materials now as you nearly always find the packaging you want when you are not looking for it.

Have any of you ladies started yet on next year's hampers?  Would love to hear from you.

Catch you soon.



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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
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  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
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  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)