Tips For Showing



The following tips and suggestions are what most competent judges will be looking for, but judging is an inexact science and judges will have personal likes and dislikes. Showing should however be fun and not a chore. Remember if the class asks for a certain number of items ,more or less will mean disqualification!


Each class of vegetable and fruit should as far as possible be the same size, shape and colour. Dirty, misshapen and damaged produce will be marked down.

Potatoes should be carefully washed, have shallow eyes & weigh about 170gm -225gm each. Green colouring will be marked down.

Carrots and Parsnips should have the full tap root (watering before removing from the soil helps) All earth gently washed off, leaf stalks cut to about 75mm and tied with raffia. Green colouring on the shoulders will be marked down.

Onions should be uniform in size & shape, well ripened, firm with a dry unbroken, unblemished skin. They should not be over skinned and green. Roots trimmed neatly and the tops trimmed and tied with raffia. Staged on rings to hold the position,(cardboard tubes i.e. used kitchen rolls cut down)

Runner beans should be straight, equal in length, some stalk attached , fresh, not course and stringy. The actual beans should not be overly prominent.

Tomatoes should be firm but fully ripe, unblemished, NOT polished and have the green calyx (stalk) attached.

Beetroots ideal size is a tennis ball, it should have its long tap root, be carefully washed, its leaf stalks trimmed to 75mm and neatly tied with raffia. Large woody beets will be marked down.

Courgettes should be fresh, 10 – 15 cm in length, uniform and no blemishes. 2 cm of stalk and flowers can be left on. Clean but NOT washed ( can affect the appearance)

Marrows should be even with a good colour all over, unblemished and 2cm of stalk attached.

Leeks should be washed with the soil teased from the roots which should NOT be cut off. Leaves should also NOT be cut but can be loosely tied with raffia in 1 or 2 places along the length. The leek should have a long white stem ,not be swollen at the base.

Apples  should be fresh with  stalks attached and NOT polished.

Flowers and the foliage should be clean, disease and insect damage free. choose a vase to suit the height of the stems. Good staging (presentation) is important.


Pay attention to instructions and recipes, particularly tin size. They should be well risen and even in shape and baking. Any fruit should be evenly distributed throughout the cake. A domed top with slight cracking is acceptable for a light fruit cake . NO cooling rack marks should be visible.


Clean jars, free from commercial trademarks with unmarked lids. All preserves should have small labels stating the main fruit, day, month and year of making.

Jams, Jellies & Marmalades, jars  should be filled to the brim to allow for shrinkage. Use a well fitting wax disc and cellophane for the top. Same for Lemon Curd.

Chutney should have a 1cm space between the contents and lid and the jar must have a new vinegar proof lid ,i.e. plastic lined twist lid. Chutney must be labelled and at least 2 months old.


Class 6 A Jar of Lemon Curd

Delia Smith’s fresh lemon curd recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Class 7 A Jar of Marmalade

Did you know marmalade is a citrus jam made from the peel and juices of citrus fruits, sugar and water. The word marmalade comes from the Portuguese word, marmelada, which means quince jam.

Class 8 A Jar of Jelly

So what’s the difference between a jam and a jelly???

Jams are made with the whole edible fruit while jelly contains only the juice.

Class 9 A Jar of Chutney

Chutneys and pickles can be presented with a screw top lid. If you want to know the difference between a chutney and a pickle take a look here….

Class 10 A Jar of Pickle

Pickles have been around since ancient times. According to some, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra claimed pickles made her beautiful.

Class 11 Homemade Fudge

Class 12 A Bottle of Flavoured Gin

There is no end to the possibilities …………………….…/guide/how-make-flavoured-gin

Class 13 A Bottle of Elderflower Cordial The elderflowers will soon be out in abundance. Did you know that you can freeze them to use at a later date?

Class 14 A Loaf of Bread- handmade