This is a foolproof jam that we like to make on our foraging workshops when we can get a hold of wild damsons. It is also my favourite jam for its intense colour and unique flavours. It is perfect for beginners because it will set without fail.
The stones are the difficult part. I stew the fruit first, and then with clean hands rummage through the fruit to find and remove the stones. Any left behind stones will rise to the surface and can be scooped out at the jam-making stage. Always put a note on the label, WATCH OUT FOR STONES, as you can never be sure to remove them all.
Other ideas for damsons include our damson membrillo and our Damson and Frangipane Tart. And there's lots more around the web: Hugh's Cheesecake with Damson Sauce, Xanthe's Damson Calfoutis, and Gloria's Perfect Damson Cheese, just to name a few.
What are your favourite Damson recipes?
- 1kg ripe Damsons
- 500g white sugar
- 500mls water
- juice of 1 lemon
- Wash fruit and remove any stalks or moulded fruits.
Place fruit in a large saucepan and add the water. Bring to the boil and simmer until fruit is cooked (about10 minutes). Allow to cool.
- With clean hands get as many of the stones out as you can.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir in until all sugar is dissolved.
- Return saucepan to a LOW heat and continue stirring until the mixture appears thinner and hotter. Turn up heat, still stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, and bring to the boil. Check heat so the fruit mixture boils steadily but doesn’t boil over.
- Skim any scum and floating stones.
- Setting point will be reached in 30-45 minutes depending on the heat and the size of the saucepan. Be patient. Test for setting by placing a half-teaspoon of the jam on a white plate that has been chilled in the fridge. After a minute to cool, when you push a finger through the dollop of jam, it will wrinkle in front of your sliding finger. Remove saucepan from heat immediately.
- Allow 10 minutes to settle. Ladle into pre-heated jars (I pop mine in the oven for 10 minutes, which sterilizes them as well!). Put lids or wax and cellophane covers on immediately.
- Label jam, including the stone warning…please!
Cool and enjoy.
Recipe from our foraging expert, Christopher Robbins.