Red-as-your-hair jelly

NZ Lifestyle Block - - DIY FOOD -

The res­tau­rant is closed on Tues­days and Wed­nes­days, and that’s when it is of­ten used for jam-mak­ing.

Dot loves cook­ing and is a strong ad­vo­cate for food­bear­ing plants in the gar­den land­scape. The jam-mak­ing side of the busi­ness started when she spot­ted a red pep­per jelly in an English mag­a­zine and made it, then pointed it out to Be­van.

“Look at this jelly – isn’t it gor­geous! Would you like to sell it in your res­tau­rant?”

“No mum, I wouldn’t,” was his flat re­ply.

Dot wore him down. She called it ‘Red-as-your-hair Jelly’, a play on her trade­mark pink hair, and sold it in her gift shop. It flew out the door.

To­day they sell 20,000 to 30,000 jars of jam a year, made with fruit and spices, and char­ac­terised by their wild names. There’s Granny Smith’s boozy-fig-jam, Bev’s bug­ger-the-bird­scherry-jam, Dot’s eat-me-ina-kilt-real-scots’-rhubar­band-gin­ger-jam.

“They toned the la­bels down a bit,” says Dot. “But the sil­lier the la­bel, the more it sold!”

All of this suc­cess with food was ob­vi­ous to Dot from the very be­gin­ning.

“I didn’t know Be­van was a great chef,” she says. “He was al­ways a very hun­gry child. I said to him, ‘There is only one thing you can be when you leave school ‘cos you’ll never feed your­self! You’ll have to be a chef!’”

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