Real World Gardener Early Australians Preserves and Pickles in What’s Cooking

November 1st, 2015

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.


Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The complete CRN edition


If you could time travel to the early to mid-1800s, what kind of things would you expect to find growing in their produce gardens and what kind food would you expect to eat?


In the What’s Cooking segment, this is exactly what we’re doing; time travelling back to early colonists days in Australia and having a peek at what happened in those kitchens and kitchen gardens.

Would you have guessed that an alligator pear is an avocado?

Or that eggplants, tomatoes, artichokes and other heritage vegies were grown on a regular basis?

Tomatoes were initially not commonly grown but staples such as beans, potatoes and cabbages were the staples in most kitchen gardens.

Pickling and preserving were high on the cook’s to do list when all the produce comes ripe at once.

Salt and vinegar were the main preserving ingredients back then and unlike today, sugar wasn't used at all, the reason being sugar was expensive.

Pickling was in 100% vinegar, but they also used spices to make condiments like Brinjal pickles and Picalilli.

food_group.jpgFermenting vegies such as cabbage was common practise as was storing root vegetables in sand and keeping them in a cool environment such as a cellar.

Wealthier households that could afford sugar were able to make sweet jams and cordials.

Back then of course there was no global trade so once the tomatoes had finished for the season, the early colonists cook wouldn’t be able to get them unless they had been preserved.

If you have any questions about early colonists kitchen gardens or have some information you’d like to share, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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