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Prep 0 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
The damson trees near me have had a fabulous crop this year. Far more than I could deal with, although I did make two batches of Damson jam. This allowed me to experiment a bit and the ingredient quantities that gave me the best version are shown below. Damsons don't like to be parted from their stones and most recipes will have you fishing the stones out when the jam is cooked. I tried it once, which was enough! I now find the best method is to cut the stones off the fruit with a very sharp knife; a bit tedious, but not too bad if you can sit outside and chat with good company at the same time! Stoning time is NOT included in the cooking time. Damsons are mainly grown in Britain and so some readers may not be familiar with damsons. Common theory is that the Crusaders brought Damson trees to England from Damascus. Damsons are a member of the plum family so if you can't find damsons, you can substitute plums; in that case the resulting jam will be a bit sweeter. NOTE: Damsons have a LOT of pectin in them so don't over cook (my first attempt a few years ago was fondly known as 'slicing jam'. It still tasted good though, and didn't put me off jam making)! My top tips for testing for a set are: a) place a couple of saucers in the freezer in readiness for the test, and b) when you've put a spoonful of hot jam on a saucer, go off and make and drink a cup of tea (or have a beer) before doing the wrinkle test :-)
- Place the damsons and water in a preserving pan; bring to the boil then simmer gently for at least 30 minutes until the fruit is really soft and the contents of the pan are well reduced (the exact time will depend on how gently you simmer the fruit - I like to do this step very slowly).
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the sugar, stirring until dissolved, then add the knob of butter; bring to the boil then boil rapidly for 6 minutes.
- Test for a set by placing a teaspoon of jam onto a very cold saucer, leaving to cool then pushing the jam with your finger to see if it wrinkles up: even if the wrinkle is only on the surface and faint, the jam really should be done (and don't forget it will set more in the jar); if the setting point hasn't been reached boil for one more minute (only) then test again using another saucer.
- While the jam is still warm, pot it into sterilised jars.
You must be a "Down Homer" because westerners haven't heard of damson plums so I planted my own tree & it was covered with fruit so I tried your recipe & it was most excellent just like my Nan's and easy cause Hubby pitted the plums. Thanks for sharing. Katie G.