We’re moving in just a couple of weeks. I sit here, Wednesday night, amongst a pile of papers and things, in a house full of even more things, and packers are coming on Monday.

Any sane person would fall to organizing things: household goods shipment items over here, long-term storage stuff over there, stuff going to Goodwill in the basement, stuff going to the landfill in the garage.

So of course, I spent the evening making black raspberry jam.

You see, moving out of a house is actually when you get everything done that you’ve been putting off for years. New roof? Check. Install ceiling fan/light fixtures in every bedroom? Check. Clean out basement detritus? Check. Clean out the freezer, including those five quart-sized bags of black raspberries that you picked from Larriland Farm two summers ago?

frozen bags of black raspberries

Last time I made raspberry jam it had seeds in it, and they were crunchy and got stuck in one’s teeth and ruined everything with their mere presence, so I went to great lengths to de-seed the raspberries this time around. I cooked them a bit so that they were soft (did I mention they’d been in the freezer for two years?), then jammed (ha) them through a strainer with the back of a spoon, occasionally scraping the pulp off the bottom side.

the spoon and strainer setup

Then, not wanting to waste any of the black raspberry goodness, I wrapped all of the spooned-out pulp in a wad of cheesecloth, wrapped it up, and started squeezing.

cheesecloth and black raspberry pulp

Man was that a weird feeling. The raspberries were still warm, practically body heat, and the juice that flowed out was dark red and viscous, running stickily over my fingers. I really felt like I was squeezing out someone’s heart, extracting the blood.

I bet Hannibal canned his leftovers.

I’m sure this is the kind of thought that occurs to anyone making jam late at night.

Anyway. After that, the jam went back in the pot with some sugar, pectin, and lemon juice for the final boil. It was awfully pretty, watching the red swirl in the pot.

raspberry swirrrrrl

After a lot of boiling, and stirring, and near-misses (this stuff boils up really high and you don’t want spillover, it’s like napalm on your countertops), it was time to funnel it into the sanitized jars (thank goodness for the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher).

sticky funnel and jars

And, into the water bath they went. More boiling followed.

jam jars in the bath

I love these jar tongs. I’m so over the no-unitasker-allowed-in-the-kitchen thing. Look, you can even see that the lid’s sucked down. Successful seal accomplished!

jar of jam emerges

At the end of the night I hadn’t gotten any more packing or organizing or decluttering done. But I had turned stuff the movers wouldn’t take (hand-picked frozen black raspberries) into stuff that they would (sealed, shelf-stable jars of jam), so hey, it’s progress. I’m counting it as a win.

end of jamming night: 9 full jam jars

Though, there’s always more work to do.

actually, jamming night ends with washing dishes.