Enjoying the fruits of their labour
19 October 2018
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Atawhai resident and former cooking & sewing teacher Barbara Stokes with their homemade marmalade
By Deborah Watts, Diversional Therapist
They say when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. But when you live at Atawhai and the rest home’s garden is brimming with ripe oranges and tangelos, what do you do? You make marmalade of course!
Preserving fruit is a wonderful activity that residents with a wide range of abilities can take part in. It gives them a sense of purpose, takes them back to the days when preserving was part of their everyday lives, and creates comradery as they come together to make something they can all enjoy.
We started by taking wheelchair bound residents for individual walks around the garden and picking the different fruits from the garden trees. Various types of oranges, tangelos, lemons …. a whole container full of them.
We then put our team together (including one of our gentleman) with a former cooking teacher as the ‘team leader’. It was the perfect recipe for a fun and fulfilling afternoon! Set up in the dining room with all the ingredients and utensils, the residents started to zest, cut peel (with a bit of supervision to avoid potential injuries) while discussing the correct way of making marmalade. It was fascinating to hear each resident talk about their own way of making the citrus breakfast spread! After some friendly discussion, we decided we would mix all the recipes together and make our very own Atawhai blend.
Patience is key in any jam or marmalade making as the fruit boiled, then the sugar and gelatine (a tip from our Atawhai chef) were added, then more stirring and waiting followed. Two of our residents, Barbara and Margaret, went back and forth to the chiller with a small plate of the liquid to let it set then check if it was ready. We even had the input of one of our registered nurses who makes marmalade frequently and claims to have won ‘best in show’. It was a total team effort!
An hour and a half later, and after many checks, the sweet smelling blend passed the setting test and the ladies agreed it was ready to bottle. Jars were sterilised twice just to be sure, the marmalade was poured into the jars then all were sealed. Barbara agreed it was a very enjoyable and satisfying experience to be able to make their own marmalade and to taste the fruits of their labour at breakfast a few days later!
Next up for the pantry, we’ll be making chow chow for our ploughman’s platters!
Find out more about Atawhai Rest Home