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7 Home Food Waste Solutions

Food Waste Solutions Image

Supermarkets take a lot of flak for food waste in the UK, but the truth is a lot of food waste comes from individual households, too. A third of all food produced for human consumption is thrown away each year, so it’s important that we all do our bit to reduce the amount of food we get rid of. There are lots of ways to go about this, from growing your own fruit and veg to making jams and preserves to make your food go further. Find out how easy it can be to reduce your food waste using these 7 food waste solutions.

How To Reduce Food Waste At Home

Meal Planning

If you make a meal plan and stick to it, your fridge should be more or less empty by the end of the week. It takes a little time to create a plan, but it makes shopping for food cheaper, easier – and you know you’re buying things that will definitely get eaten. Make sure to prepare for lunches too, and consider what you’ll feel like making depending on what’s happening during the day. (It’s definitely OK to include a chippy tea in your meal plan.)

Storing Leftovers

When there’s food you need to use up in the fridge, it can be difficult to know what to do with it. A simple trick is to incorporate whatever’s left into your dinner plans, whether that’s making a salad to go with it, or adding extra veg to your spag bol. Instead of doubling up your portions, leave some leftovers for lunch the next day – it minimises waste, and saves you spending more on lunch.

Preserving

We all know what to do when life gives you lemons, but the same principle applies to all kinds of fruit! Whether you have leftover strawberries from a summer birthday cake or rhubarb from an autumnal crumble, it’s easy to make jams and preserves to make your fruit go a little further. Find fantastic seasonal jam recipes here! If you already have a cracking jam recipe, you can find preserve jars for your homemade jams online here.

Juices & Smoothies

If you’re not much of a jam fan, you can also blend up your uneaten fruit & veg into homemade smoothies. Not only is this a great way to reduce your household food waste – it’s also sure to get the kids eating a healthy breakfast. Try blitzing nuts, honey, dried fruit and cereals into your smoothie for added texture and nutrition.

Freezing

As well as your standard freezer fare, lots of fresh foods can be frozen to prolong their shelf-life. You can freeze milk, chopped herbs, berries, raw eggs, pasta sauces and more. Check out this guide to freezing foods for more food waste solutions.

Grow Your Own

Go from zero waste to self-sufficient by growing and eating your own food! You don’t need a huge garden or an allotment – potted fresh herbs are a great way to start, and all you need is a sunny windowsill. Try growing pepper and chilli plants with the seeds from bought peppers. It’s a great way to grow delicious organic fruit and veg, save money, and reduce your food waste.

Composting

Composting is another great food waste solution. If your food is way past it’s best, it can still be mulched into compost. Whether you have your own compost heap in the garden, or a special bin for food waste, it’s better to dispose of food in a composter than send it to landfill. Compost helps other plants grow, and mulched fruit and veg can add extra nutrients, so it’s a way of ensuring your uneaten food doesn’t go to waste.

What are the best food waste solutions you use in your household? Share in the comments!

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How To Make Your Own Christmas Hampers

How To Make Your Own Christmas Hamper

Christmas hampers are the ultimate gift. Full of delicious drinks and fabulous festive food, what’s not to love? There’s only one way to improve this most traditional of presents, and that’s to create bespoke hampers based on the things you know your gift recipient absolutely loves. If you won’t be able to spend this Christmas with your nearest and dearest, make your own Christmas hampers especially for them.

Read our handy guide for tips, tricks and treats you can use when making your very own gift baskets this Christmas.

What Hamper Should I Use?

Let’s start with the basics. Traditional Christmas hampers are usually stored in wicker-style baskets that can be reused when all the goodies have been snaffled (typically sometime around Boxing Day breakfast). But if you’re planning to send your hampers by post, or want a sleeker, more sophisticated look to your products, you can also use premium effect recyclable cardboard boxes to store and send your hampers.

What Type Of Christmas Hamper Should I Send?

You know your friends and family best, so go with what you know! If your recipient is a real foodie, make sure you include lots of tasty, high-quality goodies. If you’re making a hamper for kids, you can fill it with toys, sweets and books. Find our favourite homemade hamper varieties below.

Festive Hampers For Foodies

Whether you opt for luxury shop-bought edibles or hearty homemade treats when you make your own Christmas hamper, you’re sure to get tastebuds tingling! If you’re filling your hamper with bought goods, you can’t go wrong with booze, biscuits, cheeses and chocolate. For an extra festive flourish, make sure to toss in some mince pies.

If you’re planning to make your own food gifts to fill your hamper, take a look at these recipes. Carefully curated by the Ampulla Christmas elves, these recipes are sure to tempt even the grinchiest of gift recipients. Choose from eggnog, mince pies, honey roasted nuts and more! Looking for a boozy tip? Try making this homemade sloe gin – then present it in these stunning gin bottles!

Pamper-At-Home Hampers

Eschew tradition and make your own Christmas hampers filled with body, bath & beauty products! These kinds of goodies are sure to be appreciated by everyone. As with food hampers, you can purchase individual items to fill your hamper with – think nail polish, beard oil, bubble bath and scented candles – or make your own cosmetics and fragrances.

Check out our recipe for creating body scrubs as Christmas gifts here. Body scrubs are ideal for giving your whole body that spa-fresh feeling, as they exfoliate and revitalise the skin. Meanwhile, homemade candles are perfect for lighting with a bath and a book for some Christmassy me-time. Here’s our guide to getting creative with candle jars this Christmas.

Mix-and-Match Christmas Hampers

Of course, you don’t need to stick to one particular theme for your hamper. You can go rogue with a mixture of edible treats and cute cosmetics, as well as including games, trinkets and more. Alternatively, you can choose a more specific theme for your hamper. Popular themes include afternoon tea style hampers (think winter spiced teas, coffee syrups, sugary shortbread and fruity homemade jams) and cheese and wine night hampers (no prizes for guessing what to include here).

Have you tried to make your own Christmas hampers before? What tips have we missed? Comment below or tweet us with your favourite hamper fillings for friends and family – and don’t forget to shop the project with Ampulla!

Make Your Own Christmas Hamper

22oz Candle Jar To Make Your Own Christmas Hampers 350ml Polo Gin Bottle To Make Your Own Christmas Hampers 212ml Glass Jam Jar To Make Your Own Christmas Hampers
22oz Candle Jar 350ml Polo Gin Bottle 212ml Glass Jam Jar

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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!