27 February, 2011

Preserving....a new exciting adventure

Years ago when I lived at Stanthorpe, my lovely friend and mentor Ruth and her lovely husband Peter, organised a preserving night with my family. I have waited a long time since then to begin my own preserving. A while ago, I can't remember exactly when, Becc and I went to several garage sales and to the second hand shop here in town, and I found a stove top vacola for only $50. I really wanted to buy an electric one but they are around the $200 mark, more if they include jars. But I also needed jars, so I borrowed a boxful of vacola jars, lids and clips from my mum. Now I admit they have sat around doing not much other than collect dust and dirt for a while, but yesterday Sam the vege man from Stanthorpe was in Roma so I went down and bought a box of peaches and a box of tomatoes with the plan to spend my weekend preserving. Now Becc, I know you'll be disappointed that I didn't wait for you to preserve together, but I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing before we got together and spent ages preparing stuff to preserve, seeing as we don't have a book about it! 

I started with the peaches because they were starting to go off. When preserving peaches all instructions I could find indicated that the peaches should be covered in a syrup made from sugar and water. When we preserved with Ruth and Peter, we used diet softdrink that we had 'flattened' because Peter is diabetic. I decided to try diet lemonade, mainly because the lemonade was on special. I opened th bottles one at a time and poured the lemonade into a jug and stirred it vigorously to release all the bubbles. Then I peeled and cut up the peaches and put them into clean jars. I then covered the peaches with the flat diet lemonade, ran a spatula around the inside of the jar to release any bubbles caught in the jars, the put the seals, lids and clips and placed them in the vacola. I then filled the vacola with cold water and turned the element on and brought it to the boil. I let the water boil for 20 minutes - I couldn't remember how long we let them boil for when we did it with Ruth, but hers were electric. When I searched preserving peaches, the recipe I found said to let them boild for the 20 mins, then allow the jars to cool in the water. 

While I waited for those jars to cool, I filled more jars, then cooked up some yummy tomato sauce, strained it and put it into hot sterilised jars, put seals, lids and clips on and left them to cool. Unfortunately the first lot of peaches still aren't cool, but when they are I'll put the second lot in to preserve. I also still have another half a box of tomatoes to turn into tomato sauce!

I'm very excited about the prospect that this new hobby will save us money in the long term. I'm hoping that I can set up better garden beds over winter so that I can grow my own tomatoes next summer. I also want to grow cucumbers to pickle for my darling hubbie, beetroot and anything else I can think of!! Becc and I are planning to grow separate crops so that we can share our produce! Can't wait to have a preserving day with you Becc!!!

Emily xoxo


  1. Hello Emily, I read you blog with much interest. You don't know me but I am a friend of Deb's. I live out towards Injune on a property.. and know Deb through church and the patchwork circle... The reason I would like to get in touch is I also Do preserving... However not with the vacola tin but do mine all in the oven, still with the vacola bottles. Would love to swap recipes if you are interested.... Luv Sue (46233838)

  2. Sue,

    I'd love to swap recipes with you, but at this stage I don't have many...I'm just starting out. I think the swap will benefit me more than you! Are you around over Easter? I'm crazy busy with school but will give you a call during the holidays if that will suit you!