I've just been round to see a neighbour who's had a busy weekend turning apples and pears into jars of golden preserves. She was adding the finishing touch - pretty green covers tied with pink ribbon. And where did they come from? Not a shop, but cut from one of her husband's worn-out shirts. And when there are no jars to be decorated, she recycles what were his favourites into handkerchiefs, so he never really has to part with them.
These three jars were in exchange for some pears pickled according to a River Cottage recipe (not sure yet how they've turned out, as they need time to mature). While the contents will soon be gone, the covers may well grace another batch of jams and chutneys next year.
And a footnote to our 2010 Mapesbury fruit-picking project - we've reached a grand total of 725.8 kg apples, pears, plums, grapes, elderberries and medlars - all produce which would otherwise have gone to waste.