Damson Jam

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I’ve read about Damsons, I’ve pondered Damsons, I’ve heard about Damsons and recently saw someone make a Damson tart on TV. But up until a week ago I had never clapped eyes on a Damson.

I walked into my favourite local shop Taste Nature to buy delicious things and there they were - sitting next to the Fairtrade bananas, like little purple-blue misty looking plums. Without any hesitation I grabbed a little paper bag and tossed some in it.

Then I got home and thought to myself ..hmmm.. now that I have these, what on earth can I make with them? I ran through the possibilities in my head, inspired mostly by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, who we lovingly call Huge Fernleaf Swimming-pool in our house. Sorry Huge - I mean Hugh.

For those of you that have not heard of Hugh - he’s awesome. Hugh makes delicious and rustic things with Damsons, things like Damson Gin, Damson sauce, Damson vodka, Damson Cobbler, Damson Cheese, sorbet, icecreams and on and on the list goes.

Since in my hurry I had only grabbed about 300 grams of Damsons I didn’t think a batch of gin was an option or any of the other delicious sounding concoctions. So I went with making myself a small jar of jam. Plus I only had one jar.. I was really not that organised. That’s what happens when you impulse buy!

Delicious Damson Jam

  • equal weights of sugar and Damsons
  • enough water to stop damsons sticking to the pan

Place the Damsons in the pan with the water - there should just be enough to stop them sticking - cook gently until they split and soften a little squish them against the side of the saucepan to help the stones loosen from the flesh. This really only takes 3-4 minutes if that!

Add in the sugar and cook for 10 minutes.

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Test to see if a small amount cooled on a saucer forms a skin when you drag a teaspoon through it.

Remove from heat and skim stones and any foam that has formed. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.

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The jam was very flavoursome but also more tart than I would say was typical for most jams. I am sure this depends on the Damsons you have. Many of you may wish to add slightly more sugar than I have stated if you like a typically sweet jam. Personally I liked it like this.

We had our Damson Jam with scones and pikelets and I have to say it was a refreshing change from the very sweet jams I would normally have.

Thanks Hugh for inspiring me to try out the Damsons. If you are lucky enough to be able to find these definitely give this wonderful jam a try.