Pickle power goes on show

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY KYLIE WIL­SON kwil­son@ne­me­dia.com.au

If it can be pick­led, pre­served, or made into sauce, jelly or jam, you will most likely find it in Mi­lawa woman Ruth Shalders’ kitchen.

A reg­u­lar en­trant in the Wan­garatta Show, Ruth has faith­fully tended her home gar­den since mov­ing to Mi­lawa about 18 years ago, and started teach­ing her­self the var­i­ous ways of bot­tling and pre­serv­ing food soon af­ter in an ef­fort to make use of the large amount of food pro­duced in her gar­den.

“I use ev­ery­thing out of the gar­den,” she said, adding that while the recipes and tech­niques pre­sented a steep learn­ing curve at the begin­ning, she now loves to ex­per­i­ment with flavours and com­bi­na­tions on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“I like grow­ing some­thing new and find­ing out what to do with it.”

She said friends know to pass on their empty jars to her, and she of­ten passes on her culi­nary cre­ations to them as gifts.

Her cre­ations – es­pe­cially her favourite, mar­malade – also of­ten make an ap­pear­ance at the pop­u­lar monthly fundrais­ing stall op­er­ated by Friends of the Hospi­tal.

Ruth said the pop­u­lar­ity of pav­il­ions at lo­cal shows, and the de­mand for home­made food items, shows that peo­ple still want to learn tra­di­tional skills as well as know ex­actly what goes into their food.

“You’re in con­trol of what goes into the jar, you de­velop the flavours to suit,” Ruth said.

She en­cour­aged peo­ple who love food to “have a go” and en­ter their items in the Wan­garatta Show.

Ruth cre­ates her pre­serves, pick­led items, jams, jel­lies and sauces at the times through­out the year when the fruits and veg­eta­bles she uses are in sea­son, with mar­malade and other cit­rus based items be­ing the pri­or­ity at this time of year.

She said when pre­serv­ing – es­pe­cially when cre­at­ing en­tries for com­pe­ti­tion – clean­li­ness was a top pri­or­ity, as is the pre­sen­ta­tion of your work.

Us­ing fresh, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents is also im­por­tant for the best flavour, and Ruth said that cre­at­ing en­tries far ahead of time gives the flavour in her cre­ations time to de­velop and ma­ture.

She has been a reg­u­lar prize win­ner at the Wan­garatta Show for her work, and has also placed well at district shows.

She names hav­ing some of her pre­serves on dis­play at the Mel­bourne Mu­seum as part of a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of North East Vic­to­ria as one of her proud­est mo­ments.

Ruth urged peo­ple not to hes­i­tate to en­ter items in the Wan­garatta Show, say­ing that the more pop­u­lar pavil­ion ex­hibits are, the more vi­brant and con­nected to the com­mu­nity a show is.

“The show is about peo­ple, and about en­tries,” she said. “Have a go and en­ter the show.” The Wan­garatta Show will take place on Oc­to­ber 12-13 at Wan­garatta Show­grounds.

To learn more about en­try cat­e­gories in the pavil­ion and live­stock ex­hibits, see the event web­site at wan­garat­tashow.org.au.

PHOTO: Mel Guy

FOND OF PRE­SERV­ING: Ruth Shalders reg­u­larly en­ters her jams, jel­lies, pre­serves and more in the Wan­garatta Show.

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