How us smallholders love our jars – big, small, tall or wide they have a myriad of uses. There’s no doubt that they are the perfect option when it comes to storing the first delicious jams of the year, not to mention how we rely on them for all our pickles and chutneys. And what about the cranberry sauce as the year draws to a close?
The humble little jar is the unsung hero in kitchens throughout the land. With some care and good hygiene these jars can be used over and over.
But my jars are not just used for jams and chutneys. They have a range of uses that are invaluable not only to the smallholder but to anyone keen to save money.
I wash and store these jars and bottles and they form the basis of many attractive, inexpensive and well-received gifts each year.
Note: For food storage or food gifts, I always use new lids. These are inexpensive and a worthwhile buy in my opinion to avoid potential food spoils.
A Gift Of Granola
Every month or so, I make a batch of granola here at Hunters Lodge. It’s easy to make and full of goodness. After lots of compliments I decided to jar some up and now I have a really healthy, nutritious and inexpensive gift for family and friends. You can change the nuts and seeds in this recipe according to what you have in the cupboard.
You’ll find my GRANOLA RECIPE HERE
This idea is so simple but works incredibly well. For this recipe, I use an ordinary jar for my own body scrub stash at home and keep the decorative bottles for gifts. Using a few household basics you can create a range of sugar and salt scrubs that are excellent exfoliators and leave your skin feeling refreshed and smooth. Without the hefty price tag you can enjoy the luxury of a health spa in your own home.
You’ll find my BODY SCRUB RECIPES HERE
It’s expensive to buy so why not make your own? This is a gift that I love to receive and I’m sure your friends and family would too. This will work in any jar, but a nice tall jar lends itself to this one. I make a large amount of vanilla extract and divide into smaller jars as required. Here’s how..
1 75cl vodka (any quality)
6-8 vanilla beans
Make a slit down each vanilla bean – this will release the flavour.
Add the vanilla beans to the vodka and leave for eight weeks, by which time you will have the most amazing scented vanilla extract. What could be nicer?
A Jar of Sweets
I love these as last minute gifts. If you have time, make some toffee but if you dont, pop to the shop and buy a packet of sweets. Pour the sweets into a clean jar and decorate with a jam jar cover, twine or ribbons. This is a perfect last-minute gift that has saved my bacon a few times!
Reuse and recycle, save money and do your bit for the environment – it’s easy!
Adapted from an article by Fiona Dillon which originally appeared in Home Farmer magazine.