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Published 3rd February 2020

I'm a child of the 70's and re-cycling and re-purposing was an everyday occurrence for our family.  Careful with money, grandma and mum always bought the best quality food and things for the home.  There weren't any large wheelie bins cluttering up the drive.  Mum loved to make homemade ketchup from the glut of tomatoes she always seemed to have (her dad had been a market gardener and she was blessed with grandad's green fingers).  She would carefully fill glass bottles she had saved when their contents had long since been enjoyed.  She'd make home-made jams and chutneys with the best of the summer strawberries from a local Pick Your Own Farm or raspberries from her little fruit garden.

That was just the way we did it in our family then and I've carried that tradition on throughout my whole life.  Picking fruit with my own small children filled many a happy hour or two during the summer and autumn months and they were content to be in the fresh air in the lovely countryside, surrounded by the local wildlife.

Blackberry picking was always an occasion and once back at the farmhouse the magic would begin when the hedgerow "jewels" could be combined with sugar, to bubble away in a vintage jam pan whilst I raided my hoard of eclectic jars I'd saved throughout the year, cleaned and sterilised all ready for this special day. 

Some berries would be saved to make homemade blackberry vodka and that's where I came up with the idea of re-purposing empty Ownsworth's Rapeseed Oil bottles to fill with flavoured spirits to give to family and friends as homemade gifts at Christmas (oh! and we might have kept one or 2 bottles for ourselves!)

You can find some lovely recipes online for creating your own flavoured gins, vodkas, rums and whiskeys then all you have to do is fill your old rapeseed oil bottles.

When you have finished your 250ml or 500ml bottle of our oil, carefully pop the little plastic pourer out of the neck of the bottle and wash in hot soapy water, along with the metal screw cap, then dry them both and put to one side.  Next invert your empty oil bottle into a sturdy glass measuring jug so that the last remnants of our delicious oil trickles into the jug which you can still use.  Peel the label off the bottle (be patient - a little soapy water can help or even rubbing with a bit of oil can do the trick!) You can then pop the empty bottle into the cutlery holder of your dishwasher, again inverting it - a good hot wash in the dishwasher will do a perfect job.  Allow the bottle to dry thoroughly.  Your bottle, plastic pourer and metal screw cap can be stored until you need them.

Use your cleaned 250ml and 500ml bottles to fill with your homemade tomato ketchup, BBQ sauce, raspberry or blackberry vinegars (also try making chilli vinegar, tarragon vinegar, homemade chilli sauces or flavoured spirits ..... the list is endless!

I'd love to hear how you up-cycle and re-purpose your Ownsworth's Rapeseed Oil bottles.  Of course you know you can recycle our bottles if you prefer.

I'm already thinking of new and exciting recipes for sauces and vinegars and of course that Christmas tipple!  Watch this space and see you all soon, Ronnie x