Many years ago as a proud first home owner I had my first lemon tree. When it delivered a bumper crop when I began the jam sessions. Lemon marmalade, lemon chutney, preserved lemons, lemon syrup. Making preserves does take time. It involves washing and weighing and chopping and a lot of waiting and watching. I like to turn on the music and sing and dance in the kitchen while I am at it. It’s a lot of fun. You always end up with heaps of beautiful bottles to store away and to share. More recently in my search for a simpler, more sustainable life style my pastime has become a business.
People have been preserving food in jams and pickles and relishes for generations. It was born out of necessary in a time before supermarkets and freezers. Even in times of factory made preserves, CWA and church ladies and all sorts of people had jam sessions and sold or gave away their cooking. Today it is easy and cheap and convenient to buy everything from the supermarket. The shelves are full of preserved food in bottles, cans or freezer packs but often the factory process of preserving has robbed the food of flavour or filled it with additives.
It doesn’t have to be like this – making preserves is not just for little old ladies. Anyone can do it and where better than the Lockyer Valley with its fertile soil. Today there is much talk about paddock to plate experiences, real food, slow food, sustainable food. Talk about knowing the provenance of food, low food miles, cutting down of food waste and reclaiming the food chain from corporate control. Whether you want to save money or save the planet, nothing else feels quite as rewarding as making your own preserves. It is a practical economical enjoyable way to enjoy seasonal food all year round. If we care about what we eat we can grow our own, swap with a neighbor, or buy fresh from a local farmer. We can make our own food choices. We can all experiment with food and flavour. We can all have jam sessions.It is important to take care with food hygiene and storage of course but it is easy to find advice and recipes. Most cooks are happy to give some advice to the beginner. My message to you is to try making some jam – your own bottled happiness. You may never buy mass produced condiments again. However you could always come and buy some Gecko Grove Products as well.
Gecko Grove is our small contribution to reducing food waste, lowering food miles and creating great flavoursome food.