HELENA Foster is no stranger to the power of herbs.
Growing up in eastern Europe at a time when there was no choice but to rely on the garden — or the wild — Mrs Foster learnt all her secrets from her family of keen herbalists and gardeners.
Herbs for her were the key not just for cooking but for health, well-being and vitality.
“In Europe come winter, you can’t have them — they aren’t available if you haven’t preserved them,” she said.
“Here you don’t need to do that as much because most are available year-round. Preserving herbs is more about enhancing cuisine than necessity.”
But it’s always handy to know a few traditional home-spun tricks and, luckily, Mrs Foster is open to sharing her family recipes.
She will be joined by Jacky Cronin — both members of community group Seed Savers Albury-Wodonga — to teach Border folk how to preserve herbs and make herb oils, vinegars, rubs and teas in the second “nanna” technology workshop tomorrow.
There’ll also be a range of delicious free samples, like Mrs Foster’s marinated feta with chilli, garlic and oregano, or chilli, parsley and nigella seeds.
“You pay $10 for a tiny jar of feta when, for that money, you can get all of this,” she said, holding a large jar filled with the delicious marinated mix.
“These are things people can grow in their garden so easily.”
Organisers are expecting another solid turn out for tomorrow’s workshop, after almost 100 attended the first one on how to use excess citrus fruits and jam-making.
Workshop co-ordinator Lizette Salmon said she believed the popularity came from the do-it-yourself ethic and appreciation for days gone by, that people were keen to revive.
“There’s something very nurturing about making things from scratch, it’s the sense of self-sufficiency,” she said.
Albury cultural development officer Narelle Vogel agreed, adding people enjoyed passing on their skills.
“This provides a space for passionate locals to connect with other like-minded, passionate locals,” she said.”
The workshop will run from 3pm to 5pm at the Albury community wood fired oven.
For more information on the “nanna” technology workshops, visit ecoportal.net.au