Spotlight on Ugly Duck Preserves | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Spotlight on Ugly Duck Preserves

A lot goes into producing a bountiful harvest of fruit, and even those blessed with the greenest thumbs would know that a crop kissed with the perfect amount of sunlight, water and nutrients can still produce some frightening looking fruit. Pears with protuberances, berries with bumps and peaches that look anything but plump – they’re enough to make any fruit bowl shiver in horror. The stakes are pretty high for every juicy morsel, and if it’s not a contender for Australia’s Next Top Melon then it’s pretty much a one-way trip from the orchard to the rubbish pile. Just when you thought it was hard avoiding all that bikini body business on social media, imagine being an extra-curvy cucumber or a chubby little carrot! Can’t we just accept that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes? ugly duck 2Thankfully, Michelle Mascher from Ugly Duck Preserves knows that beauty isn’t skin or peel deep. Drawing on her family’s tradition of making gorgeous German jams, she decided to make a stand against the immense waste that occurs in supermarket chains and make the most of the so-called ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables that don’t get sold. Combining her love for growing and preserving food and her passion for reducing waste, she armed herself with some pots, pans and capable hands, and headed to the kitchen. The result? Delicious, bursting-with-flavour jams and spreads made with organically grown, perfectly imperfect produce. Just when you thought you couldn’t fall in love with the sound of these deliciously sustainable preserves any more if you tried, wait until you hear how good they are for you. These wonder-jars are absolutely jam-packed with nothing but organically grown, preservative free ingredients with only a tiny dash of sugar – just enough to preserve and set the goodness within! From strawberry and lime jam to apple and rosemary jelly there’s something sweet to tempt every tastebud – and go with every cheese and cracker! Keen to top your toast and treat yourself something tastefully un-wasteful? Ugly Duck Preserves pops up at the Milton Markets every second Sunday with new and exciting preserves, but you’re sure to find some of her misshapen masterpieces at these stockists. Words by Caroline Tully Images by Judit Losh