Milford’s Pam Leckie has been turning local fruit and vegetables into jams, chutneys and relishes for the past 24 years, trading under the name Pamela’s Kitchen.
She had her first introduction to jam making as a child, under the instruction of her grandmother Hilda on their 10,000-hectare property outside St George.
“I can remember her standing at an old-fashioned stove using a big oval pot,” she says.
“My grandmother made everything, including her own butter. As a kid I used to help her and I guess that was the beginning of my making jam. She was from a different era, we lived miles from town and if you didn’t make it you didn’t have it.”
Pam started making her own jams about 24 years ago, while working for a Boonah fruit shop. She used excess produce and found she loved the process.
“My recipes came from books, friends and customers. One customer asked me, “ÉDo you make rhubarb chutney?’ I said, no and she said she’d walk over hot coals to have some. “So I gave it a go. Another older lady from the retirement village asked me to make mango chutney. She gave me her very old special recipe and I’m still using it today. She’s since passed away but whenever I make it I think of her.
“I don’t think there’s a secret to making good jams and chutneys but it does take many hours of labour. I make seasonally and it takes a lot of time and love. When I make rosella jam it takes me two hours solid to hull 4kg of rosellas. For mustard pickles I cut up nine pounds of vegetables – that takes ages. You wouldn’t want to be hanging by your last breath to make money out of it. For me it’s a hobby and an outlet.”
Pam’s products are available at local markets and some Scenic Rim shops.