From corncob jelly to damson gin - Whanganui woman Bronwynne Anderson did 365 different types of preserving last year.

There are boxes of jars on her veranda and piles of feijoas waiting on her kitchen bench. She hates waste and has 11 different fridges, freezers and chillers to store food in.

This busy grandmother and fulltime nurse loves knowing where her food comes from, and what's in it. Making things is her recreation, and she has even tried making her own mustard and buttermilk.

"My husband told me he would divorce me when I start making my own salt," she said.


Anderson is a friend of Lydia Harris, who managed without buying groceries for a year. She knew she couldn't match that but she had a big vege garden and took on the 365-day preserving challenge instead.

Bronwynne Anderson's pantry is crammed with her own preserves. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Bronwynne Anderson's pantry is crammed with her own preserves. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Her 2017 list in impressive. It takes in dehydrating, freezing, bottling, fermenting and making cheese and sausages.

She tried not to do the same thing twice and found 13 different ways to use feijoas: jelly, jam, chutney, cider, cordial, leather and icecream among them.

Anderson never aimed to do one thing each day. But on some weekends she did eight different types of preserving.

She used 1230 bottles and jars and she won prizes for her blueberry and fig liqueurs at this year's Marton Harvest Festival.

A lot of the food is given away or sold, for money she donates to Jigsaw Whanganui, Hospice Whanganui and the Whanganui Women's Network. The preserves also feed her husband Hugh Lourie, and are given to her children and grandchildren.

She learned a lot during an old fashioned rural upbringing in South Africa. In Whanganui she gives classes in making cheese and charcuterie, and she has a Facebook page called Simply Home Made.

"I don't believe in making anything difficult," she said.


She'll share recipes freely - except for two which are secret.

"One is a garlic sauce recipe and the other one is a South African vegetable pickle. I loved it so much that I begged the recipe before I left, and I promised never to reveal it."

Her 4.8ha property produces a lot of food. There are 75 free range chickens, 18 ducks, some quail and she rears calves every year. This year she's getting her own cow.

The vegetable garden is prolific. She grows gherkins and garlic, and harvested 200kg of tomatoes from 20 Scoresby Dwarf plants.

Preserving in her kitchen is time out for Anderson, and a separate preserving kitchen is under construction at her Fordell house.

She doesn't watch television, and all her recipes come from books.

This year is going to be less strenuous than last. Her new food challenge is making 12 cheeses she's never made before.