Relishing the teachings of pickles and preserves guru Nellie Kerrison

Jessica Wright

We are in a pickle – and it is a mighty fine thing.

Pickling and preserves guru, Nellie Kerrison, is showing how best to ready oneself for the art of pickling – and it's all in the preparation.

Sterilisation of the jar and bottles is key, a healthy imagination for ingredients is advised – almost anything goes – and a basic understanding of setting points to ensure no nasty surprises or explosions occur.

Kerrison runs Relish Mama cooking school, which offers classes in pickling, preserving, and making chutney and jams. And she lives by what she teaches.

“I am very passionate about preserving, there is so such much waste in society and it is a beautiful thing to teach people about how they can maximise the things we eat or buy or grow,” she says.

“I am very passionate about sustainable cooking, it is a bit of a trend at the moment but for people like me it is a way of life. It is in vogue with a lot of households so I am happy to capitalise on this and help show people the best way to get the best of your ingredients.”

The most common mistakes, Kerrison says, is not using appropriate vinegars, acids or salt; missing the setting point in bottling or “not using appropriate equipment, where you can get mouldy products at the end which is very disappointing.”

Kerrison says through her cooking school she is pleased to find weekly converts to the art of preserving fresh produce.

“Everyone that comes to our classes, they are quite blown away by how easy it is once you have a handle on it,” she says.


“I encourage people to use what is in abundance, if they have tomatoes on special because it is the peak of the season, well I think that is when you should make salsa.”

Kerrison says her philosophy towards eating and cooking is simple: “I absolutely love cooking and relish good food,” she says. “Cooking, for me, is a love and pleasure. It is such a beautiful way of giving and sharing”

Now that's something to relish, indeed.

As part of Melbourne Good Food Month, Kerrison will run a hands-on workshop extending over a day, exploring different techniques in pickling, fermenting and preserving.