West Kootenay Advertiser, May 7, 2020

Page 2

A2 Thursday, May 7, 2020

West Kootenay Advertiser


Brilliant jam factory offered many products By JONATHAN KALMAKOFF

Third in a series on the Doukhobor jam industry Production at the Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works closely followed the growing and picking season for berries, fruit and vegetables in the British Columbia Interior, with jam production and fruit canning often occurring the same day of receipt of fresh-picked produce at the packing house to avoid deterioration or spoilage and to ensure maximum quality. The production season commenced in July, with the arrival of strawberries until mid-month, followed within days by raspberries, cherries and other small fruit through to the first week in August. Beginning in mid-August, apples and plums arrived, followed by other large fruit through to the last week of September. Tomatoes and other vegetables were the last to arrive by early October. By mid-October, the production season was complete. The factory operated an average of 26 days per season. Each production day began at five a.m. and ended at midnight.

jam using an open kettle method according to the old English recipe introduced by Harry Beach in 1911. Only pure fruit of the highest quality and granulated sugar cane were used. There were no preservatives, coloring or other additives. Cleanliness and sanitation during production was strictly supervised. Preserving and canning process Fruit was brought from the packing house to the preserving floor, where The Kootenay-Columbia Pre- it was cleaned and prepared (peeled, serving Works manufactured pure de-cored or de-stoned, as the case

may be, then cut into pieces and/or crushed). This was originally done manually by six workers; however, by 1928, much of it was done with mechanized pitters, sieves and other automated equipment operated by one worker. Equal portions of fruit pulp and sugar were put into each of the large copper jam-making kettles and mixed together with ladles. The kettles were then fired by steam heat supplied from the boiler and the mixture was

cooked for 15 minutes. As it cooked, it was continually stirred by an attendant. After the jam was cooked, the attendant flipped each kettle over (kettles were built on stands with hinges that allowed them to be flipped to empty) and the jam was poured into smaller copper pots that were placed on wheeled ‘turtles’. The small pots were then wheeled over to long cooling trays filled with cold water, in which they were placed. As the temperature

of the jam was reduced, it received its final skimming. The cooled jam was then taken to tables where it was ladled by hand into sterilized cans. A sheet of antibacterial gauze was placed over the top of the jam in each can and then automatically sealed with the lid. The same process was followed for making pure jelly, except that pure fruit juice was used instead of fruit pulp, resulting in a smoother, clearer spread than the thick, fruit-filled jam. Mixed or compound jam, which had a higher sugar-to-fruit ratio, was made by blending pure jam with apple jelly; after 1932, colour was added to it. To make pure canned fruits and vegetables, cleaned and prepared produce was blanched in the large copper kettles filled with boiling water, then plunged into the smaller copper pots filled with cold water, then finally poured into sterilized cans topped with heavy syrup (for fruit) or water (for vegetables). The cans of finished product were then moved to the labelling room on the lower floor of the facility by lift, where labels were manually affixed on each can designating its contents. The cans were then placed in cases Continued on A3

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