5:30am, the sodium lights are still warming up. It is cold, working fast helps the blood get flowing. 40 quart stainless pots are hurriedly placed in large double boilers. A tray of partly defrosted Totem Strawberries from Oregon are poured into the bottom of each pot. Following are trays of rhubarb poured on top. Now each pot is heaping full, well over the top of the pot. Six pots in all. The other twelve pots are other flavors. Six pots of Rhubarb & Berry are enough work for one day! 900,000 Btu’s are now happening bringing our double boilers loaded with water to a strong boil. 40 more minutes and steam is starting to find it’s way through the rhubarb. Stainless paddles help the steam and liquids escape around the edges of the pots. 10 more minutes, with a rocking action with the paddles all rhubarb can reach it’s liquid level. Now the cooking begins! 7:15am a few pounds of cane sugar are spread over the tops of each pot. 10 more minutes and another few pounds of sugar are spread on top of the pots sealing in color and texture and reducing loss to evaporation. After a while we mix these sugars in with our paddles and repeat the process. We keep the double boilers full of water to keep plenty of heat on the inner pots of rhubarb & berry. 8:00am the boilers are slowed down to a simmer. Cleanup behind ourselves and a break. 8:30am with a large stainless spoon we begin working the air up out of our first pots that we are going to pour. Foam is scooped out and fruit pectin is added. 8:45am, we are pouring the jam! 128 jars per pot, 16 pots to go….a search, but why?
~Mountain Fruit Spreads~