Preserving Springtime

Written by Lisa Baggio — October 8, 2015

"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." 

- Francois De La Rochefoucauld  


~ Preserving ideas ~

Springtime evokes the desire to preserve the sweet fruit and vegetables that have been in abundance such as strawberries, pineapple, melons, mandarins, rhubarb, blood oranges, beetroot, spinach and artichokes. Preserving our favourite foods means we can keep enjoying the goodness of these fruits and vegetables long after the harvest is over. Traditional preserving methods include canning and dehydrating. But the quickest and simplest way to preserve fruits and vegetables is freezing.  

I found this wonderful blog by The Kitchn, that features simple tips for preserving. One is as simple as freezing fresh herbs in olive oil. How good do these look! TIPS FROM THE KITCHN


If you're feeling inspired, check out The Kitchn's blog 10 Ways to Preserve Summer Fruits & Vegetables without Canning. There's some great tips on making pesto, fruit vinegar, freezing Summer fruits and roasting tomato sauce and garlic.

If you do want to try your hand at dehydrating your favourite fruits and vegetables, take a look at our range of dehydrators online and in store. The range includes the EZIDRI Classic Everyday, EZIDRI Snackmaker and the EZIDRI Ultra FD1000.


Vacuum sealers are also a great way to extend the lifespan of your preserved fruit and vegetables, especially when using the freezing or dehydrating method. Vacuum sealers preserve food 3-5 times longer than food stored in plastic bags or containers. Preserved fruit and vegetables once vacuum sealed and frozen will last for 2 to 3 years. Vacuum sealing your preserved foods also eliminates the unpleasant taste of 'freezer burn'. 

For the highest quality domestic Vacuum Sealing Machine, take a look at our Italian Made SICO Vacuum Sealing Machines. We have a large range that caters for every purpose and budget.  



~ Australian Cider Festival 2015 ~

Don't miss out on all the festivities at this year's Australian Cider Festival. It's all happening this Saturday 10th October from 12noon - 8pm at the beautiful Ormond Hall, The Village Melbourne. There will be numerous styles of ciders to sample, tasty cider and food pairings to relish, cider master classes to participate in, all whilst enjoying the live entertainment and more.

Visit our display stand at the festival this Saturday at 2pm as Home Make It teams up with cider judge and author Claude Jolicoeur during his tour in Australia. Come by to meet Claude and grab yourself a signed copy of his latest book The New Cider Makers Handbook, which is an invaluable and comprehensive resource for home cider makers.


To help celebrate the Cider Festival, we are squeezing in one more Cider Making Course for 2015 at our Clayton Store on Wednesday 18th November, 6-7.30pm. If you are keen on cider; then book in your spot online now to learn first hand about setting up your own backyard cider making equipment and be on your way to producing fresh homemade cider in time for Summer! More Cider Making Course dates for 2016 to be released soon.


~ Home Make It presents the Melbourne Salami Festa ~

Not long now until the Melbourne Salami Festa! Block out the entire weekend in your diary! Friday 16th October to Sunday 18th October, 2015. Check out the full program guide. It's going to be massive. And if you have entered your prized homemade salami into the competition, we wish you all the best! See you at the Festa :) 


~ Beer & Bangers Classes ~

Learn to make home brew and sausages from the experts! Join Steve Lamberto and Cade Butler from Home Make It with James Mele from The Meat Room and enjoy a fulfilled day making home brew and fresh sausages at these brilliant Brew & Bangers classes. These are full day classes and you will get to take home the freshly made home brew and sausages. There will be pizza from the wood fired oven for lunch, morning tea provided, unlimited tea/coffee and home brew tastings are included as well. All equipment and ingredients will be supplied.

Bookings are still available for the following class;

Duration: 9:00am to 4:00pm 
Location: 26 O'Gradys Rd, Kilmore East
Cost: $240.00 per person

Bookings and payment can be made by phoning Kathy on 0419 242 815 or emailing to reserve your spot today!


~ Cade's Home Brew News ~ 

Hi Brewers, 

This weather is making me thirsty! Fortunately, the same weather is also perfect for brewing and fermenting. So in honor of this we are taking 10% off our entire Grain range, Online and in-store

To follow on with your brew we have a great range of WyeastWhite Labs, Brew Cellar yeasts  and approximately 20 hop varieties all in our fridges, waiting for your recipe. 

Some nice fittings recently landed to help you along on your brew days. We have just got in some malt mills, high temperature pumps, high temperature silicon hose and matching 13mm barb fittings to connect all your brewing equipment. 

Happy Brewing  :) 


~ Food & Beverage Courses ~ 

Preserving Vegetable Courses - Pickled & Marinated Eggplants

We are thrilled to be releasing details and dates for the newest of our in store workshops! Join us for a hands-on workshop in Pickled & Marinated Eggplants with Dario from L'Arrosticino Stick on Grill at our Clayton store on 9th November, 2015 and Reservoir store on 10th November, 2015. Book ONLINE to secure your place.  

Sausage Making Courses

We have now released new dates for our Sausage Making Courses at both our Reservoir on 21st October, 2015 and Clayton store on the 28th October, 2015. James Mele will teach you everything you need to know to make fresh, tasty, healthy sausages all year round. Book ONLINE now to secure your place.   

Intro to All Grain Home Brewing Course

Join us for an introduction to  All Grain Home Brewing Course in October at both the Reservoir and Clayton stores. Learn all about equipment needed, grains, hops, yeast, how to mill, mash and all maturation/fermentation and bottling techniques to make your favourite styles of grain beers. Book ONLINE.



~ Eltham & District Winemakers Guild - 46th Eltham Wine Show ~

If you love a good drop of red or white wine, and have an interest in homemade wine, then don't miss Eltham and District Winemakers Guild's 46th Annual Eltham Wine Show. Due to the huge success, the show will again be held at the Veneto Club in Bulleen on Sunday 15th November, 2015 from 10.30am for the Wine Show Public Tasting, concluding at 2.30pm with the Awards Presentation at 12pm. Home Make It will also be there facilitating a Sausage Making Demonstration. If you are planning on entering your homemade wine into the competition, the closing date for entries is the 10th October, 2015. You can pick up an entry form from either our Reservoir or Clayton stores or you can enter ONLINE.

Click link below to check out this week's Specials.     

Check out our new look Gift Vouchers and Course Gift Vouchers also available in store or ONLINE

Don't forget, you can keep up to date with all the daily news from the team, recipes and events by following us on Twitter or Facebook

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend :)




Ever wondered how to make homemade jam? Here's a simple recipe...

Written by Celeste . — January 24, 2014

One of my favorite things about summer is the sweet taste of stone fruits. There is nothing more delicious than fresh apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries to help cool you down during those heatwaves. Whether we buy them at the local supermarket, fruit markets, grow them ourselves and or have friends or family willing to share their summer crop, they are one of life's best simplest pleasures!  

We were given some beautiful home-grown apricots by a great customer (Giuseppe) at our Reservoir Store a few weeks ago. In fact, too many to eat! Umm, what to do with them? So we decided to make some homemade Apricot Jam.  

Below is our neighbor Shirley's homemade jam recipe which has stood the test of time. The recipe is from 1972 and needed to be converted from imperial measure (pounds) to metric measure.  

Here it is!  

The Ingredients

2kg of Apricots

1kg of Sugar

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 packet (25gm) of Jam Setta *you can purchase in the spice section of your supermarket. I like to use Jam Setta because I find it helps to settle the jam and minimises the amount of sugar needed.   

I also like to use a little Brandy too, but this is optional - 2 tablespoons.  

Also optional are the blanched kernels. The kernels are the nuts inside the stone of the fruit.  The nut is crushed and blanched and included in the apricot mix.


The Process

Prepare and stone the apricots making sure they are clean.

Sprinkle half the sugar over the apricots and add the lemon juice. 

Leave to stand for a few hours or overnight in a cool place.  

Pour in the soaked apricots into a large cooking pot. (Cast iron or aluminium is preferable to stainless steel, as it will stick)


Bring them to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.

Add the Jam Setta with 100mls of warm water to dissolve.  

Gradually add the rest of the sugar.

Slow simmer for approximately 40 minutes. 

Add 2 tablespoons of the brandy. This is optional. I find that it brings all the flavors together.  

Add the blanched kernel. The kernel will give the jam a beautiful tart flavor and texture.  

You can test the jam to see if it is ready by placing a small plate in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and pouring 1 tablespoon of the jam in the center of the plate.  If it is ready, the jam should set quite quickly - if it still too runny, keep the jam on simmer for a little longer. It may need 10-15 minutes more depending on your result.


Rest the jam for 10 minutes.


Sterilising the Jars

Sterilise the jars in a hot oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes whilst you are resting the jam.

Wash and pat dry the lids.  

Ladle the jam into the jars and seal whilst hot. The jars will be very hot so take care with your handling of them.  

Invert sealed jars top to bottom (upside down) for at least 30 minutes to create a vacuum.


That's it! Your apricot jam is ready to be enjoyed.  


Here's a quick Plum Jam variation recipe for you to try;


2kg of red plums

1kg of sugar (raw or white)

4 lemons

1 stick of Cinnamon

4 or 5 cloves

3 glasses of water.

25gm of Jam Setta



Clean and cut the plums in half and remove the stone. 

In a large bowl, pour half the sugar over the fruit. 

Squeeze the juice of the lemons and add the water.  

Leave covered in a cool place for up to 12 hours or overnight.  

Strain the liquid and keep separately. (Edit: You can use this later to dilute the jam if it becomes too thick during the simmering stage, and in which case you'll also need to add more sugar proportionally. Depending on the season, you may not actually have much (or any) liquid to strain either.)

In a large cooking pot, (large enough for the fruit and liquid), place the fruit and gently bring to the boil.  

Once boiling, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and stir and regular intervals.  

Dissolve the Jam Setta with 100mls of warm water and add to the pot.  

Gradually add the rest of the sugar.

Slow simmer for approximately 40 minutes.  

Remove the bouquet garni (cinnamon and cloves).

Sterilise the jars in a hot oven at 180 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.  

Wash the lids and pat dry.  


Use the same process to test the jams, as included in the apricot jam recipe.  

Ladle the jam into the hot jars

Invert the sealed jam jars upside down for 30 minutes to create the vacuum.  



Watch this space...... We will be including some more preserving recipes in the coming weeks for strawberries and other popular seasonal fruits.  

Our Clayton and Reservoir Stores stock a great range of jars, lids and preserving accessories that are prefect for preserving jam and fruit. You can check out our range at our Online Store.   

We also have a few places available for our Summer Homemade Food and Beverage Courses at our Clayton and Reservoir stores. Our courses are hands on, social and lots of fun.


Cider Making Course

Passata/Sauce Making Course

Feta Cheese Making Course

Hard Cheese Making Course

Advanced Homemade Wine Making Course


You can also check out our SPECIALS by clicking on the link below (in our new mobile-friendly site!):  

Don't forget, you can also keep up to date with news from the Home Make It team by following us on Twitter and Facebook.  


Have a great weekend :)


We're thinking outside the pickle jar...

Written by Lisa Baggio — September 26, 2013

We have moved away from our seasonal and traditional homemade food and beverages for this week's Newsletter, to focus on preserving jars and take a look at the latest food craze to hit Australia from the US. It seems we've gone mad for jars to serve up our favorite dishes and drinks in trendy bars and restaurants. The jar craze has also been embraced by those on the go that want to enjoy healthy, fast meals. There's no limit to what you can serve up in a jar whether it's breakfast, soups, salads, pastas or desserts.  

Check out the Pinterest page on Mason Jar Meals for some great food storing and serving ideas.  Here's just a sample of recipe ideas. Click to follow their links.  


Some handy tips we've picked up for using jars to store and serve salads are;
  • Put the dressing in first, to sit at the bottom of the jar.
  • Separate the leafy greens from the salad dressing.  Leafy greens should go in last. 
  • Put the more robust veggies in after the dressings, such as carrots and cucumbers.  They can sit in the dressing without spoiling.  
  • Fill the jars completely, to minimize the condensation liquid caused by space in the jars.  
  • You can store your salads freshly in salads in jars for several days.  
The Age: Good Food Month - Queenie's Food Tours 

Home Make It is teaming up with Master Chef contestant, Andrew Prior from Queenie's Food Tours for The Age, Good Food Month, for a special sausage-making lesson and specialist cooking class. To join Andrew on the Queenie's Food Tour with us on the 23rd November, 2013 book Online to secure your place.  
Food and Beverage Courses

Our Spring Food and Beverage Courses are now available and run from two convenient locations, Reservoir and Clayton. Visit our website to book directly Online. Our DIY homemade food and beverage courses are fun, hands on and affordable.     

The things we must do .......

You may recall earlier this year, our Business Development Manager, Frank Bovezza made the grueling sacrifice to travel to Italy in search of new, innovative and exciting products for our stores. You may also remember what a terrible time he had ;)


Anyway, Frank has kindly agreed to return to Italy in search of more new products for our stores and we look forward to sharing highlights from this trip with you via FacebookTwitter and our Newsletters.  Poor Frank, the things he must do....  


Don't forget that if you are into preserving and would like to participate in thePreserving Memories Project that will be exhibited at the Darebin Homemade Food and Wine Festival in May 2014, then please contact Anne Thoday on 0407 887 099.  

The trading hours for our Reservoir and Clayton stores are 9am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 1.00pm on Saturdays.

You can also shop anytime at our Online Store, with the security and ease of Paypal.  GiftCards are also available.  

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, specials, events and more.   

Enjoy the weekend :)