Mrs Pickle’ raises funds for Hospice

Mrs Pickle’ raises funds for Hospice11 Feb 2016

Ruth Houghton has dedicated herself to making jams and pickles for Hospice Waikato. Over the past three years Ruth estimates that her volunteer pickling, jam making and preserving has raised over $15,000 for Hospice. Ruth started her fundraising mission in 2011 when Hospice began looking after her husband Harry, who had motor neurone disease. Hospice took care of Harry’s medical needs through specialised palliative care nurses and doctors. “The Hospice nurse made him feel comfortable at home, we had a specialised lazy boy in the lounge that they loaned us,” says Ruth.

Harry passed away in July 2012 and Ruth has continued to whip up thousands of delicious home-made jams, marmalades, chutneys and pickles that you will often see for sale throughout the six Hospice shops. “After Harry died I decided I wasn’t going to go sit around, so I went into the kitchen and made a big batch.

I started making more and more to keep me busy and it has grown from there.” The delicious jams and pickles are all made by Ruth from fruit and vegetables from her own garden and collected from neighbours, friends and both Silverdale Fruit shop and the Big Berry. “I try to stock up during the growing season and freeze it,” says Ruth. Ruth says that her signature preserve is a zucchini pickle that she has perfected over 10 years of making it as a farmer’s wife when they lived in the King Country. Although Harry had a sweet tooth and liked Ruth’s jams the best, pickles were what she has become known for, largely due to the abundance of cucumbers and zucchinis she grows each year. “I am known as ‘Mrs Pickle,’” she laughs.

In between cooking for Hospice, Ruth also likes to holiday in her motorhome; she belongs to a motorhome group where she takes off with friends to various parts of New Zealand. “A lot of my motorhome friends provide me with jars and fruit,” says Ruth. Last year Ruth estimates she made over 1200 jars. “It’s been my life saver and a reason to get out of bed,” says Ruth. If you would like to try one of Ruth’s delicious jams or pickles pop in to one of Hospice’s retail stores of visit us at Hospice Waikato - 334 Cobham Drive, Hillcrest, Hamilton.