WHEN Rebecca Lever decided to pep up her lunch by creating her own pickle, little did she know that it would have such a boost on her way of life too.
For now she is selling hundreds of her home-made condiments every month, and has set up her sideline venture, Rebecca’s Kitchen.
All of her chutneys and preserves are hand-made on a gleaming cast iron range at the family home in Stoborough, near Wareham, which she shares with her parents.
“I was eating a ploughman’s lunch and was disappointed by the poor quality of the pickle, so my mum suggested I should try making my own,” she explains.
After researching various recipes, she developed a date, pepper and apple chutney which she tried and tested on her friends and family.
“I started giving them as gifts at Christmas and people suggested that I should start selling them. My sister, who sells art online, designed the labels and it went from there.”
Rebecca who works full-time for the local authority, seems to have been taken rather by surprise by the almost over-night success of her business.
She says: “I have been pleasantly surprised by the response – I certainly didn’t expect to get so much interest so quickly.”
Now she has overtaken the kitchen and uses a side room for storage.
“My parents have been very supportive, although I think they get a bit fed-up with the smell of vinegar in the house,” she laughs.
Rebecca has already sold 600 jars in the last few months. “I think people like to know what they are eating and where it’s come from.
“I try to use whatever is in season and always use local produce where possible or grow my own, except for the odd thing like pineapples.”
Earlier this year she was contacted by one of the team at Chococo, the award-winning chocolatiers, to create a lemon curd.
“I had never made lemon curd before – I just asked them what consistency they would like and then I started researching some recipes.”
Now she is supplying kilos of curd to the Swanage-based store.
Rebecca is also supplying a range of delis and stores across the region and, in the last few weeks, has taken orders from as far as Essex and Somerset.
“There is a lot of preparation and chopping involved – especially for the chutneys, but I still get a lot of satisfaction,” she adds.
For more information, visit rebeccaskitchen.co.uk