The Age Old Art of Preserving
What do this bunch of women from many parts of Victoria have in common?
They came from near and far for today's workshop. It is wonderful being able to welcome people into the home of My Green Garden and especially so when I find out from how far away they have come. One even came to stay overnight with her parents so as not to have to drive too far for the morning start. A couple of friends came from the mountains (is Mt Evelyn an actual mountain?). Another unfortunately missed the session because her plane flight was delayed and eventually cancelled!
What they all have in common is the desire to increase their life skills in what would have been regarded as basic knowledge in our grandmothers' times. Learning how to preserve the seasonal abundance, in creative and delicious ways, sets up your pantry to be able to serve a group, at a moment's notice, with delectable pickles and chutney condiments; or to wow guests at your breakfast table or afternoon tea with home made jams that taste like the fruit they are preserving.
Over winter is a great time to hone those preserving skills. We don't regard winter as being the most bountiful season but there are plenty of apples and pears around. These are great as bottled fruit to use as pie or crumble fillings. Spice them up and cook away to make chutneys that will grace the cheese platter in months to come. Then there are the winter veg such as turnips and cauliflower to turn into simple vegetable pickles, spectacularly coloured with the addition of beetroot. A bowl of these alongside an antipasto platter not only look inviting, they'll satisfy those who love vinegary treats.
The workshops are not designed to just be following a few recipes. Anyone can do that themselves. Instead, we look at the science behind why preserving works. This is the science teacher nerd in me but it is important so that we can understand what may have happened if things go wrong, or to be able to adapt recipes knowing that the techniques work.
So thanks to the group today - Karen, Melissa, Faye, Kelly and Trish - for letting me have a glimpse into your lives and backgrounds. Enjoy your preserving journey!