Mavis Charles won close to 20 gold ribbons for her jam, conserves and sweet butters.
Mavis Charles won close to 20 gold ribbons for her jam, conserves and sweet butters. Michael Nolan

GALLERY: Did we take your photo at the Wondai Show?

MAVIS Charles might just be the perfect grandma.

She dedicates her days to feeding her grandchildren and great-grandchildren a selection of delicious homemade sweets.

Every visit to Grandma Charles' house is met with a tray full of biscuits, scones, cakes and slices.

But above all, her expert range of jams, preserves and chutneys stands out and she has the ribbons to prove it.

For the past 12 years, Mrs Charles has cleaned up at the Wondai Show culinary pavilion and 2017 was no different.

She took home the trophy and bagged more than 20 first and second place ribbons.

"I didn't count them,” Mrs Charles said.

The fruit and vegetables needed for the award-winning entries is donated by Mrs Charles' network of friends and family.

"People bring it to me, if they have too much and they can't use it all because they know I won't waste it,” she said.

Mrs Charles was one of the many exhibitors to display their produce at the Wondai Show, which organisers are saying was the most well-attended show in the past decade.

Over the years she has boiled thousands of litres of jam and with each pot she gets closer and closer to the perfect spread.

It's this dedication to the craft of jam-making that made Mrs Charles the cook she is today.

She didn't learn the craft while at her mother's apron strings as a young lady.

"We were too poor in those days; we were in the bush and we didn't do those things then,” she said.

Instead it came from trial and error, and repetition.

"You must cut your fruit up fine. I've got them everywhere at home, I have cupboards full,” she said.

Each Christmas Mrs Charles would make close to 40 boiled puddings that she gives away to her friends and family.

But as she gets on in years it becomes harder to work the batter.

Luckily, jam is not so labour intensive.

"You achieve something by making jam and it's nice to give someone a bottle of jam,” Mrs Charles said.

Kingaroy's Lorraine Kiem judged the jams this year and she said the standard was exemplary.

"I take a little sample and then I drop it onto a plate and see how it sits there and then I taste,” she said.

"You look for genuine flavour; if it's strawberry jam you look for a strong strawberry flavour.”

Mrs Charles' jams and preserves have been donated to the Show Society, which will sell it and re-invest the proceeds for next year's event.

South Burnett

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