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Monday, April 16, 2012
make room for the bounty
Listening to:Bonnie Raitt in my head
Reading:just finished Bounce by Syed
Weather:Scrumptious! 82 and breezy today
I finally realized it was time to get those black raspberries from last summer out of my freezer and make jam. I had this big plan. I individually froze on cookie sheets exactly 7.3 metric shitloads of black raspberries last summer and bagged them in little ziplocs. I was bloody from the picking. It was hot. Why heat up the joint making jam when frozen berries make just as tasty a jam, and there will be some wonderful stretch of 4 or 5 days when I'll get snowed in and want to warm up and humidify the house with canning. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I neglected to take global climate change into account. No such snowy stretch this winter. And here we are, halfway through April, and those berries were still in my freezer. I also may have exaggerated a wee smidge on the shitloadage: it was actually about a dozen tightly packed ziploc sandwich bags full. That's a lot to me. Anyhoo, as I was taking a lil noontime stroll on the lower backstreets of motown last week, down near where the creek meets the river, I saw that the black raspberries canes have leaves and buds. Time ta make the jam.

So this past Saturday I got out all my canning stuff, dug all those bags o'berries out of the bottom of my freezer, and dumped them out into two large pots. Cooked'em up while I took to all the scrubbing: jars, utensils, applesaucer, bowls, bands. Got out my lids, still have an unopened pack, sweet. Eyeballed the situation and estimated 8 jelly jars. Then just as the house is starting to fill with that sweet berry perfume and the windows are just starting to get a little misty, son of a fucking bitch, I see I have only one box of pectin.

There goes my sweet sweet plan of driving nowhere, in anticipation of a long-ass day full of work and work and fun and lots of driving the next day (I had Mountain Stage in motown tix for the Punch Bros and Leftover Salmon, among other things planned!!). But hold up. Just a sec, maybe because these babies have been in my frostfree freezer all winter they have lost some of their water and kept their pectin. Just maybe I can cook this stuff down a bit and see if it gets some thickness from its own stuff.

And that is exactly how it went down. I cooked it down to mush, then put it through the applesaucer (this contraption probably has a real name, but I don't know it. the aluminum cone-shaped sieve thing on 3 legs with a big wooden pestle, I use it most to make applesauce) which removed about 80% of the seeds, leaving just the littler ones, then back into the pot to simmer some more. Mmmm. It's gonna work.

I ended up with 9 jelly jars and one pint of very intensely blackberry jam. Hell. To. The. Yes. But I also ended up with a kitchen that looked like a fucking purple bomb went off in it, and a nice pile of blackberry seeds in pulp. The seedpile was the consistency of meatloaf, it could form a cake on its own. Gorgeous dark reddish purple. I couldn't just compost it. What to do with it?

Pour a fifth of organic vodka in there, that's what. Yeah, that's how it went down, and now there's a gallon glass jar about 1/3 full of a lumpy seedy purple mess that smells like it could get you high. And it well may. I'm going to give it a daily shakin, eventually strain out the seeds, and perhaps add a little sugar. Hit me up for a shot in about a month.

Till then, stay thirsty, my friends.

permalink posted by cat 8:18 PM

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make room for the bounty