WHEN Megan Radaich began spending more time preserving fresh food for her family, she never dreamed that one day her skills would be in such high demand.
The Armadale resident made her first preserves in high school and continued the practice through university, but it became an integral part of life only when she became a mother.
‘I didn’t want to feed my children artificial ingredients and preservatives,’ she said.
‘I wanted to support local growers, buy in bulk and in season, and not just rely on the space I had in the freezer.’
Her friends quickly became interested and in 2011 she began holding lessons at her home every couple of months for people she knew.
She held her first general community class in 2012 and soon began to hold them every month.
Now she holds up to 14 classes per month in Harrisdale, runs the website www.fruitpreserving.org and this month will teach at Roleystone Family Centre.
The not-for-profit classes are run at cost price.
‘I can’t believe the way it’s taken off,’ Ms Radaich said.
‘People are more aware of how their foods are being produced and more people are growing their own food at home or in community gardens.
‘I get inspired to see people take an interest in preserving, learning hands-on and taking those products home to share with family and friends.
‘They enjoy the freshness and the flavour and they are surprised by how easy it is ” specific techniques are involved but once you understand those and the recipes it is easy and you can start experimenting.
‘It does get quite addictive.’
Ms Radaich said preserving was a way families could save time and money and always have staples such as tomatoes, bottled fruit, chutneys and pickles in the house.
‘I’ve got a big larder,’ she said.
‘It means you’re not always rushing to the supermarket and the homemade stuff just tastes better.’