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We already know our food system is broken, but sometimes the reality smacks you around the chops. This happens to us more often than most, as we do our best to use perfectly good produce that would otherwise be binned by supermarkets because they cannot adequately manage their supply chains.

Last month, during the depths of winter gloom, our community partner, FareShare, delivered us ten crates each of intercepted strawberries and limes destined for landfill. In pristine plastic punnets and still in date, we now had a challenge on our hands: how do we avoid letting any of this fruit go to waste?

The strawberries were from Morocco, the limes from India. Not only had these fruits been flown across continents just to be binned, they had also been refrigerated throughout their long journey.  But the disastrous environmental impact and waste of resources aren’t the end of it. Underpaid and exploited agricultural workers – mostly women – harvested the fruits under poor working conditions.

With the help of our school cookery class, we started a preservation experiment. We covered the strawberries in caster sugar and popped them in the fridge. By the following week, the sugar had drawn much of the moisture from the strawberries and left us with a sweet strawberry juice. We double strained the strawberries – through and colander and then through muslin – and boiled the juice until reduced and syrupy. We added the juice of our limes to balance the sweetness and ended up with a delicious strawberry and lime cordial which we can use as part of our catering and community food projects.

You can see the process in the photos below. Shout out to Mossgiel Milk for using glass bottles that we were able to reuse for this!