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The Best Homemade Jam Recipes

How Long Does Homemade Jam Last

Have you always fancied yourself as the type of person that makes jam at home? Or asked yourself “how long does homemade jam last?” Then read on… It’s jam season here in the UK! Between June and October every year, British fruit is at is ripest and most sweet, making it the perfect time for turning into jam.

How To Make Jam At Home

Sure you could head down to your local supermarket and pick up a pot of ready made jam, but where’s the fun in that? Making jam at home is fairly simple AND you can use your imagination to tailor your preserves to your own specific flavour palette. Like your jams more tangy and sour? Not a problem if you’re making them at home! The process of jam making is fairly similar no matter what fruit (or fruits) you end up using.

Step 1: Clean your jars. In order to create jam that is food safe, the jars that you use to store it must be totally clean in order to stop any bacteria from flourishing. This is especially true when storing jam, as bacteria loves to feed off the sugar! The easiest way to sterilise glass jars is to rinse them in hot soapy water and then put them upside down in the oven at 140 degrees Celsius until thy are dry. Make sure to remove any rubber linings that sit within the jar as these will melt or look misshapen once they emerge from the oven!

Step 2: Wash (and peel if necessary) your fruit and place it in a pan alongside jam sugar, in equal quantities. Keep it at a low heat and stir until all of the sugar has completely dissolved. If your fruit doesn’t have a lot of moisture, you may need to add some boiling water to loosen it. Keeping the mixture at a low temperature is very important, as you do not want the sugar to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Depending on what fruit you are using, you may need to add pectin (a thickening agent) to your mixture in order for your jam to have the right consistency to be able to set properly.

Step 3: Once all the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture up to a rapid boil for 3-5 minutes until the jam reaches a stage where it can set. You will be able to know when to take it off the heat when you see the mixture thicken and boil more slowly.

Step 4: Test if your jam is ready to set. You can do this by taking the mixture off the heat and spooning a small bit of it onto a cold plate or saucer. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then push your finger into it. If the jam ‘wrinkles’, it’s ready to be put into jars to set! If it’s not quite there yet, just put it back onto the heat for slightly longer and keep testing it until it’s ready.

Step 5: Spoon your jam into your sterilised jars and place airtight lids on them whilst the jam is still hot. As the jam cools and sets, it will dip the seal of the jars to create a pressurised atmosphere inside. That’s why you get a distinctive ‘pop’ when you open a jam jar for the first time!

How Long Does Homemade Jam Last?

Homemade fruit preserves can last for up to year or even longer if it is unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or kitchen cupboard. However the flavour and texture of your jam will start to deteriorate after around 6 months, even if you keep them tightly sealed. Once you’ve opened a jar of jam, then you will need to move it into the fridge and consume it all within 3 months ideally.

How To Make Your Jam Last Longer

  • Process your jars and jam in a hot water bath (known as canning) to reduce the risk of bacteria growing.
  • Use an equal amount of sugar to fruit in your recipe. Sugar is a preservative, so the more you use, the longer your jam will last!

It is difficult to give a definitive answer to this question, so you will have to use your best judgement and common sense when you’re deciding to eat your homemade jam. If the jam is discoloured, has visible mouldy patches or a strange smell, then it is best to leave it!

The Best Homemade Jam Recipes

The Vegetarian Society has a fantastic, comprehensive list of all the fruit and vegetables that are in season each month, if you’re undecided on which flavours to use in your jam. If you’re stuck for inspiration, why not take a look at 5 of the best, most luxurious homemade jam recipes we’ve found online?

1. Cherry & Cinnamon Jam

This would be a great jam to make now and keep for Christmas, as the cinnamon flavours are very evocative of the festive time of year! This jam would taste incredible if it was spread into a chocolate cake…

Ingredients: cherries, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, sugar and pectin.

Find the full recipe at BBC Good Food.

2. Blackcurrant Jam

Blackcurrants are one of this country’s greatest fruits – so spare a thought for all the poor Americans that have never tasted them before (we didn’t find this out until recently – who knew?)! Blackcurrant jam tastes incredible when spread on a scone alongside clotted cream, or on a big slab of doorstep toast with lashings of butter.

Ingredients: blackcurrants and sugar.

Find the full recipe at Farmersgirl Kitchen.

3. Strawberry, Long Pepper & Lime Jam

Long Pepper (sometimes known as Indian Long Pepper or pippali) has a very similar to black pepper, but is more floral like cinnamon. It gives a good kick to this strawberry  and lime jam recipe! Spread it on your morning toast to wake you up on weekday mornings.

Ingredients: strawberries, jam sugar, salt, limes and long pepper.

Find the full recipe at Great British Chefs.

4. Fig Jam Scented With Earl Grey Tea & Star Anise

This is one to save for your poshest guests. The combination of these luxurious, rich ingredients makes this preserve ideal for serving alongside sandwiches and scones for afternoon tea. You could even give out pots of this jam to your friends and family, as it makes a thoughtful, yet inexpensive birthday or Christmas gift!

Ingredients: earl grey teabags, ripe figs, jam sugar, lemon juice and ground star anise.

Find the full recipe at Delicious Magazine.

5.  Plum & Mulled Wine Jam

This is another jam that will go down a treat at Christmas. This jam tastes lovely when used sparingly on toast or when it’s spread into a stacked sponge cake.

Ingredients: red plums, red wine, mulled wine spices, (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc), orange zest and granulated sugar.

Find the full recipe at The Women’s Institute.

Glass Jam Jars For Home Bakers

Here at Ampulla, we specialise in providing high quality packaging for big businesses and individuals alike. Thanks to our flexible ordering system, you can order as little as one unit of each of our products! Our tired pricing means that regardless of the quantity you have ordered, you will be getting the best possible value for money. If you’re looking for glass jam jars, then you’ve come to the right place.

glass jam jars

Our range of glass jam jars encompasses capacities from 30ml up to 500ml, which all come with the option of adding colourful twist off lids. We’ve got jam jars in all shapes and sizes, that are perfect fro use by both home bakers and big businesses. Check out our full range today.

Liked our guide to jam making? Then we think that you would also like our guide to brewing your own cider!

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How To Reduce Plastic Waste At Work

reduce plastic waste header

Whether your workplace is a factory, office or retail building, it is extremely likely that you will be generating a lot of plastic waste. Did you know that British companies have shipped more than 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste to China and Hong Kong since 2012? As a large retailer of plastic packaging products, we are more than aware of the big environmental issue that plastic waste causes and want to use our voice to encourage manufacturers and individuals to dispose of plastic waste responsibly. In this short guide, we’ll explore the best ways to reduce plastic waste in the workplace. Office managers and CEO’s – listen up!

Find Out Where The Most Waste Is Originating 

In order to address the problem, you’ll need to identify the source! If you work in an office, chances are that your main source of plastic waste will be from food and drink packaging that employees have brought in for lunch. If 20 people are getting a meal deal every day, the amount of sandwich containers and plastic bottles can soon add up! However, sometimes the plastic waste that your company generates goes unseen. If you are a mass retailer that uses plastic packaging, then you won’t be the ones left to dispose of it. Even though it technically isn’t your problem any longer, you have still contributed towards the plastic waste. Plastic waste can also be a by-product of production processes in factories. Once you’ve identified the specific area in which you are generating the most waste, you can start to brainstorm solutions.

Organise Your Recycling Bins

One of the first things that you can do within your company is too make sure that you have an easy way for your employees to recycle their plastic. Instead of having a number of general waste bins dotted around your office, why not have a designated recycling station? This only has to consist of a maximum of 5 different bins: cardboard/paper waste, glass waste, plastic waste, food waste and general waste. By encouraging staff to make the effort by making it easy for them to comply, you will be making a big difference without making a big deal out of it!

recycling bins

Evaluate Your Packaging Materials

If you’re a producer of consumer goods, then it’s a great idea to see if there are any changes that you can make to the materials you use to create or package your items. Plastic drink bottles are a big contributor to plastic waste worldwide, yet it is difficult to see how this product can be made more eco-friendly without losing the clear benefits that plastic offers. But there are sustainable alternatives! Here at Ampulla, we have a small range of PLA Plastic Drink Bottles that are biodegradable! PLA Plastic is made using 100% plant material that can be broken down using industrial composters in around 6 months, thanks to the heat exposure that a huge amount of composting material gives you. However, the biodegradability of these bottles does not impact on their quality! They have the same look and feel as normal plastic bottles, with the only difference being that you cannot leave them in direct sunlight, as the plastic may begin to soften and lose it’s shape. If PLA isn’t for you, then you also have the option to switch to aluminium cans, which are more easily recycled or even glass bottles.

Other Handy Tips To Reduce Plastic Waste At Work

  • Request that your suppliers use less plastic;
  • Swap disposable plastic water cups for paper ones;
  • Encourage your staff to bring in their own reusable water bottles;
  • Remove any plastic cutlery from communal kitchens and replace with stainless steel;
  • Replace plastic bags with paper or compostable bags for customers.

These are just a few of the small ideas that can help you improve the carbon footprint of your business and show your customers that you’re making positive steps to become more sustainable.

If you’ve found our ideas on how to reduce plastic waste at work useful, then we think that you’d also enjoy our guide to identifying plastic recycling codes.

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What Is Vertical Gardening?

vertical gardening header

Vertical gardening is exactly what it sounds like: plants that are grown upwards on a structure, rather than on a flat lawn. Whilst it sounds pointless, vertical gardening is a great option for green fingered people who don’t have the outside space to fully indulge in their hobby! It also offers a fantastic way to add plants and flowers to your living spaces that can give splashes of colour and fragrant smells to your home. As well as for use in smaller living spaces, vertical gardens can be huge and used to cover large sections of walls and buildings for dramatic visual effects.

Vertical Gardening Ideas For Small Spaces

There are many different ways that you can incorporate vertical gardens into small spaces into your home, whether it be in small gardens, balconies or indoors.

Trellises

A trellis is a large vertical wooden lattice, that you can thread or affix plants to so that they grow upwards in a winding fashion. You can buy them from any good garden centre or even build one yourself! They are designed to hold climbing plants such as vines, ivy and honeysuckle, but you can get creative with them. Indoor trellises require a plant pot beneath them for the plants to be planted in and grow out of, unlike outdoor trellises where the plants grow directly from the ground below. Once you have your trellis ready, then you can place it up against a wall and wait for your plants to climb tall! You could even make your trellis freestanding and use it as a stunning room separator.

Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets typically are placed at the outside entrance to your home, but if you have a flat then you may not have an outside entrance to decorate. Why not use hanging baskets to brighten up a small balcony or courtyard? Making a hanging basket is very easy. All you need is a basket with a handle, a liner (phagnum moss, cocoa liners or burlap liners), soil, a water reservoir and, of course, your plants! Line your handing baskets with your chosen liner, top up with soil to around 4- 6 inches from the bottom of the baskets, then insert a vertical 8-10 inch section of slotted drainpipe (AKA your water reservoir) into the centre. Make sure to leave the top 2-3 inches of the drainpipe above the soil level and around 4 inches from the bottom of the basket. If the drainpipe hits the bottom of the basket then any water will simply drain straight through the bottom instead of filtering evenly throughout the soil.

You can now start planting your plants and grasses into your hanging basket. Make sure to choose plants that will stay fairy small and not outgrow their surroundings!

Terrariums

terrariums

Terrariums are small ‘gardens’ that are created within small environments, such as glass jars or fishbowls. They are very easy to put together and can last for years without a huge amount of maintenance! Our Half Gallon Glass Pickle Jars are ideal for making homemade terrariums with, as they are large enough to get creative with your designs, but small enough to keep on a shelf or mantelpiece for all to see and enjoy.

You’ll need: pebbles, activated charcoal, potting soil, plants and any small ornaments that you desire.

First add a layer of pebbles or small stones at the bottom of your container. Next top with a layer of activated charcoal, then a layer of potting soil (enough to plant your plants in). Now it’s time to plant your greenery! Once again, make sure to choose plants that will not outgrow their containers quickly. Cacti and other succulents are a great choice for terrariums, as they cope well with humidity and do not need much watering. Finish off your tiny garden scene by decorating with ornaments if you so wish! Place your finished terrarium in a space that receives a lot of bright, indirect sunlight and lightly water the plants every 2 weeks (or once the potting soil looks like it has become too dry).

Shelving

If trellises are too large, hanging baskets are too fiddly and terrariums are too complicated, then why not simply buy yourself some small houseplants and a tall shelving unit so that you can create a ‘wall’ of green without much effort?