Preserving your Harvest

As John Keats’ evocative “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” arrives it is time to gather in some home grown produce with some exotic spices and prepare some delicious relishes for the Christmas table – or simply to enjoy over the Winter months. From spiced chutneys, such as our Rhubarb & Aubergine Chutney featured in our Recipe section to fiery pickles or tangy ‘citrons confits’ – they all look so much more stylish in the larder when packed into a selection of Bonne Maman conserve and compote jars.

Depending on where you are in the country, the late summer is the time to harvest blackberries, damsons, figs, grapes, plums and the Autumn for apples, medlars, goji berries, pears, quince and autumn fruiting raspberries.

Citron Confit

onfit can sound complicated but is really a simple, traditional method of storing fruit in a sugar syrup. Lemon confit, for instance is delicious and will keep refrigerated in its syrup for weeks. Many variations exist for adding a subtle, citrus dimension to many savoury and sweet dishes. Whole or quartered lemons are great for savoury dishes such as Moroccan tagines while slices are perfect for decorating tarts and cakes – or even better, try on a cheesecake with an added layer of our soft set Lemon Marmalade.

Here is a simple, sliced lemon confit version to try:

Heat oven to 150C

Make a sugar syrup by bringing 500g white sugar and 500ml water to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes until all sugar has dissolved.

Wash, trim & thinly slice lemons – 5 or 6 depending on size – and remove seeds.

Lay slices, slightly overlapping, in rows on a baking sheet. Overlay with a sheet of baking paper on top – pricked all over to allow moisture to escape – and then cover whole tray with foil.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until slices are translucent. Remove foil and bake for a further 30-40 minutes until sugar is syrupy. Cool before using or storing in compote jar with syrup and a dusting of added sugar to taste / dress.

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Gardening with Bonne Maman

As the days start to lengthen…

…and the sun makes a tentative appearance, it’s time to head out into the garden and tidy up after the winter.

Now you can actually see the soil for the leaves, you can start to think about planting for the summer, tying in your climbers and perhaps cutting some daffodils for the kitchen table.

Bonne Maman jars have so many uses in the garden. Why not pierce a hole in the lid of a conserve jar to use as a string dispenser? The jars are also the perfect size and shape for potting hyacinths to give your home a sweet and fresh fragrance.

“Pierce a hole in the lid of an empty conserve jar to use as a string dispenser.”

You can also use your empty jars for storing plant labels, seed packets, small bulbs and the myriad other bits and bobs you need to make your garden really spring into action.

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Paint Away

For those summer holidays when the weather is not so kind – take time for some artistic inspiration. Break out the paints to try your hand at some peaceful sketching or watercolours. Perhaps involve the whole family and encourage the youngsters with a Summer art and craft design challenge based on the local sea or country landscape. Bonne Maman jars are super handy for storing and organising brushes, pencils, crayons and collage elements to bring the whole thing to life.

Colour ‘lining’ the jar interiors is also a lot of fun and allows you to design a whole colour scheme for the art area or to mix it up with an array of soft pastels.

Take a small pot of acrylic paint – easily found in hobby and craft shops – and pour in gently at a diagonal, (a little like pouring a glass of champagne), swirl slowly, slowly, slowly around the interior for an even, smooth colour block finish and then be a little patient as the jars dry.

Once completely dry add some personal finishing touches, perhaps raffia or twine for naturalist looks or pretty check ribbons, bows and name tags.

Of course if drawing or freestyle painting feels a step too far, join in with the adult colouring craze that shows no sign of abating. With many beautiful adult colouring design books now in the top ten book sales, many of us are having fun with this nostalgic new trend, creating something lovely and unique plus de-stressing in the process, even if we never learnt to draw!

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Picnic Perfect

On a beautiful summer’s day what could be more enjoyable than to set out for a picnic, away from the crowds, under the shade of a large tree, with a hamper of delicious food. There’s something very special about eating outside and why not add charm to the occasion by serving up some of the food and drink in Bonne Maman jars?

Conserve and marmalade jars are perfect for individual servings of fresh chilled soups, or for safely carrying croutons, quails eggs, toasted nuts and delicious dressings for salads. The mini pots make stylish picnic salt and peppers and are great for treats – maybe fun homemade mini Banoffee pies made with Bonne Maman Caramel Spread or equal portions of chocolates and sweeties for children, young and old!

If you are taking in a Summer concert or play on your rug in the long light evenings, then just add jars of pre mixed coolers or cocktails to complete the al fresco evening scene.

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Pretty and Practical

It’s very easy for the family sewing box to become muddled.

Bonne Maman’s handy jars make it much simpler to organise all the bits and bobs in an efficient and attractive way. Cotton reels, buttons, needles, tape measure, pieces of fabric and ribbon can all be tidied away and easily found.

Use a spare piece of your favourite material to make a colourful pin cushion to stick onto the lid of a jar and it becomes both functional and eye-catching at the same time!

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Garden Inspiration

Dani recommends ‘repotting’ growing fresh herbs into her jars –

“they make a pretty, scented display, close to hand on the kitchen window ledge and it is much easier to check through the glass that you are not under or over watering”.

Strawberry Saviours

Thanks to keen gardener Terry for sharing a handy new use for his left over jars –

“just perfect for keeping low hanging strawberries free from touching the ground and free from the attention of those early rising blackbirds – without endangering the loveliest early morning alarm callers (whether you wanted an alarm call or not)”.

Magical Garden Parties

Jars are adding twinkling atmosphere at parties across the UK too. Janette decorated her garden with

“pretty ‘glow worm’ jars for a party”

…and Marianna designed her own “vases with floating tea light and dotted them along the raised boarders in the garden. They were magical”.

Glad the parties were a great success.

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Storage Made Simple

Regarded by many as the most important meal of the day…

…everyone has their favourite breakfast – a slice of toast and marmalade, warm fresh croissants with jam, pancakes and Caramel Spread or their favourite homemade muesli recipe. A selection of ingredients for each person to create their own preferred assortments becomes easy once the storage of Bonne Maman jars is brought into play.

“…allow everyone to pick and choose their own perfect recipe.”

Use the larger compote jars to store the oats, bran and flakes – toasted or otherwise. Keep mixed nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a medley of different toppings in the standard size jars and allow everyone to pick and choose their own perfect recipe. Just add some fresh fruit or a spoonful or two of Bonne Maman Rhubarb, Cherry, Apricot or Peach compote, some milk or yoghurt and voila! A naturally great and totally personalised way to start the day.

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Spice It Up

You can make a bold style statement with this simple but effective idea for storing herbs and spices. Jars filled with the different colours and shapes of favourite flavourings such as cinnamon sticks, mace, pink and green peppercorns, cloves and star anise will give a unique look and ambience to a kitchen or walk in storage cupboard or food preparation area.

Simply attach Bonne Maman lids to the underside of a shelf, fill the jars and screw ‘upwards’ in place for an eye-catching and easy-to-use kitchen feature.

This same principle works really well for handymen and women too – simply fill with bolts, screws, widgets, nails, batteries, super glue tubes etc and transfer to the garage or workshop. Then you will always be able to put your hand on that vital picture hook just when you need it!

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Preserving your Harvest

As John Keats’ evocative “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” arrives it is time to gather in some home grown produce with some exotic spices and prepare some delicious relishes for the Christmas table – or simply to enjoy over the Winter months. From spiced chutneys, such as our Rhubarb & Aubergine Chutney featured in our Recipe section to fiery pickles or tangy ‘citrons confits’ – they all look so much more stylish in the larder when packed into a selection of Bonne Maman conserve and compote jars.

Depending on where you are in the country, the late summer is the time to harvest blackberries, damsons, figs, grapes, plums and the Autumn for apples, medlars, goji berries, pears, quince and autumn fruiting raspberries.

Citron Confit

onfit can sound complicated but is really a simple, traditional method of storing fruit in a sugar syrup. Lemon confit, for instance is delicious and will keep refrigerated in its syrup for weeks. Many variations exist for adding a subtle, citrus dimension to many savoury and sweet dishes. Whole or quartered lemons are great for savoury dishes such as Moroccan tagines while slices are perfect for decorating tarts and cakes – or even better, try on a cheesecake with an added layer of our soft set Lemon Marmalade.

Here is a simple, sliced lemon confit version to try:

Heat oven to 150C

Make a sugar syrup by bringing 500g white sugar and 500ml water to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes until all sugar has dissolved.

Wash, trim & thinly slice lemons – 5 or 6 depending on size – and remove seeds.

Lay slices, slightly overlapping, in rows on a baking sheet. Overlay with a sheet of baking paper on top – pricked all over to allow moisture to escape – and then cover whole tray with foil.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until slices are translucent. Remove foil and bake for a further 30-40 minutes until sugar is syrupy. Cool before using or storing in compote jar with syrup and a dusting of added sugar to taste / dress.

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Beautiful Bouquet Garni

Variations of the classic ‘Bouquet Garni’, which literally translates from French into “a garnished bouquet” have been around since the early 1600’s – traditionally combining parsley, thyme and bay. The timeless method of infusing casseroles, sauces, stocks and stews with the aromatic flavours of fresh herbs is a wonderfully simple way to add a new dimension to household favourite recipes.

Traditionally, bundles of fresh herbs were wrapped in cheese cloth, added at the beginning of cooking and removed before serving – allegedly to prevent dinner guests from discovering the secret ingredient of well-guarded family recipes! These days, bouquet garni are a much-loved country kitchen staple and are super easy to make – simply gather some of your favourite fresh herbs (dried also work) and pop them into a muslin bag.

If you don’t have this to hand, take a spare coffee filter or empty a teabag, simply place the herbs in the middle of the material, then gather edges until the herbs are encased and tie at the top with string. Storing pre-made bouquet garni in a sealed container is key to prolonging freshness and aromatic scents… naturally, a classic Bonne Maman jar is surely the chicest option.

Traditional bouquet garni ingredients include parsley, thyme and bay, but other popular additions include rosemary, lemon peel, fennel leaves, peppercorn and even chilli!

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