Preserving Skills go down a Treat

June 22, 2012 10:42 pm

It was enough to get anyone in a pickle, but our Nelson women were unflappable! When A Good Harvest was first released, the Nelson Environment Centre contacted our Nelson members asking them to run a preserving workshop to share their bottling, pickling, jam and chutney making skills with young women in the community.

They agreed, but an extra challenge came when the hall was needed for a tangi, and the workshop was shifted to a school staffroom nearby.

Gabi Abeltshauser, says: “With an oven but no stove top, there was one portable electric hotplate, a microwave and a gas burner that went flat out or not at all!

“The Nelson ladies rose to the challenge and managed to bottle pears and apples, make pineapple and onion chutney, pear and cinnamon jam, process and bottle tomatoes and bottle red beet. Margaret (Faulkner) had her dehydrator there and produced dried apple and kiwifruit and fruit leathers.

“The people who attended helped peel and cut up fruit, took notes, peered into pots and the oven, asked questions and went away feeling that the “mystery” had been taken out of preserving.”

Carolyn Hughes, Manager of the Nelson Environment Centre, was delighted with the way the day went. “The three hour workshop covered everything you need to know about preserving, from sterilisation of containers, bottling, processing using either a water bath or automatic preserver, to storage. The enthusiasm as participants moved between each of the four workstations and dived into the preparation, demonstrations, tastings and sharing of tips and recipes was contagious.”

Lynne Harrison, a workshop participant, was very impressed with the day. “Rural Women NZ are an untapped source of wisdom, humour and good sense.”  Lynne said our four presenters were “down-to-earth, practical and sensible” and she hoped they would continue to share their many skills with regular workshops on preserving and other practical themes.

Nelson Provincial members are keen to do it again next year – in a bigger, better kitchen!

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