Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Boiling Point

We had our fourth kitchen day yesterday, and while we were able to bottle quite a bit of raspberry and cardamom-clove syrup, not everything went according to plan.  This is what they don't tell you about syrup: it's HOT. The more sugar is in a solution, the longer it retains heat. Also because of the high sugar content of syrup, it boils upwards very quickly.  Here's a brief recap of yesterday's snafus:
  • While bottling our first batch at 10 AM, I poured hot raspberry syrup (at 208 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact) all over my hand.  Ouch! 
  • Later in the day, I was running my hand under cold water (again), when I heard someone yell, "Uh-oh!". I ran back to the stove and turned the burners off, but it was too late--smoke and flames were billowing up from the two 25-pound kettles of cardamom-clove syrup on the range.  Yes, it was a boil-over.
The dreaded boil-over.  It's pretty messy at home, when you are cooking a few servings of rice, or you have a 4-quart pot of potatoes on the stove.  Now imagine that you're working with 50 pounds of sticky, boiling liquid.  As soon as the syrup boils over the top of the kettle and hits the burner underneath, it goes up in flame.  So we were left with an entire 12-burner range that was covered with burned sugar in various stages.  Sticky and taffy-like, rock hard (think peanut brittle), and charred.  Poor Benny and Forrest!  While I bottled up what was left in the kettles, they had to dismantle the stove top and wash every piece of iron hardware.  It took them 2 hours!  Talk about dishpan hands.

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