Traditional, home-made preserves made just the way Grandma used to.
Ok, perhaps the chilli jams are a bit feisty for Grandma’s taste, but you get the idea.
Here at Black Chicken Preserves, we grow and hand-pick citrus, chillis, rosellas, mulberries, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and other vegetables from our own pesticide-free trees, bushes and vines, then process them into a range of delicious marmalades, jams, jellies, cordials, chutneys, sauces and pickles.
We also believe that good, nutritious food should not end up in landfill simply because it does not meet the unrealistic size and shape requirements of the major grocers. Instead, we hunt down these ‘rejects’, giving the farmer some income for what would otherwise be wasted, and put these fruit and vegies to use because, really, who cares if a capsicum is slightly misshapen, or a strawberry is “too small”?? It is the flavour that counts! And, let’s face it, the “too small” strawberries are the tasty ones and make the most flavoursome jams!
Because we care about providing wholesome, nutritious food, our products also do not contain any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. For those with sensitivities, all of our products are also dairy- and nut-free.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Black Chicken Preserves was born as a result of my husband and I moving into a house with mature fruit trees, and trying to figure out what to do with all the fruit before it went off – I didn’t want to waste it!
After a few years of peppering our family and friends with copious amounts of marmalade and mango chutney, it was suggested that “why don’t you sell these?”. So we did.
From those days of mandarine marmalade, orange marmalade and mango chutney, Black Chicken Preserves has diversified first into chilli products, then other jams, jellies and chutneys as my vegie patch grew and I became more aware of the tremendous amount of food waste going on out there. Over the years, it has become common practice for us to collect ‘reject’ boxes from our local grocer – those capsicums that are slightly misshapen/lopsided, tomatoes that have split due to inconsistent watering, strawberries that are ‘too small’ or pears that have been bruised during transport, are just a few examples – and turn these wonderful fruit and vegies into tasty meal accompaniments. Likewise, we often get contacted by other backyard growers who end up with more fruit than their families can eat. We hate to see this produce go to waste too, so we harvest and process the fruit, returning with the producer’s chosen selection of preserves from our website (if you’re sick of the sight of mandarines, we’re not going to force marmalade on you; you can chose from our entire range).
As of 2020, we will also be moving into the next phase of growth, as the trees on our farm approach maturity and start supplying us with citrus, stone fruit, apples and pears. This will allow us to better ensure that our products contain healthy, spray-free produce; the very best for our customers. Eventually, other products will be added – we have feijoas, strawberry guavas, black sapote, lychees, longans and jackfruit growing as well, although it will be a while still before they are mature.
My dream is to one day also have bushfood products, and am eagerly awaiting the flowering of our midjim berry bushes so I can start experimenting with midjim berry spread. We also have several varieties of native finger limes growing – great in drinks as well as a very intense marmalade – but the lillipillies and Davidson’s plums will be a way off yet. Watch this space!
What’s in a Name
Black Chicken Preserves is named after our very forth-right – ok, bossy – Australorp chicken, Little. Little was one of our original flock, back when I first started growing my own fruit and vegetables, and become interested in permaculture. Although her sisters have all long since passed, and she had been joined by many other breeds over the years, Little had no intention of going anywhere, and remained the ruler of the backyard (including our two Labradors) until her passing in Oct 2019, just short of her 11th birthday.
You read that chickens are stupid animals. Little was certainly not stupid. She had her repertoire of noises she made to communicate, and she made sure we learned them too, including the dogs. She had no trouble making herself known and regularly joined me in the garden to ensure I was maintaining everything correctly, and sampling kale, silverbeet and strawberries along the way. If I was just reading, she would settle down beside me and snooze in the sun. She was thoroughly loved – ok, spoilt – by us, allowed to roam the backyard at her leisure and coming inside into the air-conditioning during hot summer days, sitting in front of the fan and inspecting the Black Chicken Preserves stock while she was at it. The backyard and chook run seem somewhat empty now, without her, but her image will live on in our labelling.