I agree with you on most every point. It IS the best jam in the world if it's not over-sweetened, which yours doesn't seem to be. (Though I'm not sure what you mean by 2 litres of plums. Is that whole plums or the puree?) I do batches of 4-5 pounds of fresh plums, cook them in only ~1/2 cup of water (they start exuding their own moisture so quickly, and the more water, the longer it takes to cook the jam down. To this ~8-9 cups of pulp I add only 4-5 cups sugar--the greater amt. if many of the plums are barely ripe and very tart. I heartily agree with your method of removing the pits. It's the easiest way to seed them, and with almost no waste. A food mill is a disaster and trying to seed them raw takes forever and youâ€™ll probably cut your slippery fingers. Put a little bowl close by. Reach into the cooled pulp with one hand and feel for seeds (they're mostly on the bottom), press them w/fingertips--to rub off clinging flesh--one at a time into the fingers of your other hand to drop in bowl. (Youâ€™ll get the hang of it. Kinda fun, actually, and doesn't take but 5-10 minutes.) (If I look at the bowl of removed seeds and think too much pulp is clinging to them, I pour about 1/4 cup boiling water over them, rub them around in it to loosen the flesh, pour it all into a mesh strainer over the pot and press out every delicious drop. ) Maybe the reviewer who thought this a "major headache" should consider that this is all one has to do to to tidy little Damsons: no peeling, coring, straining out fine seeds (with lots of waste) as with blackberries. They are almost never bruised, I've never seen insect signs on a single one. A bird nip or two on the tops of a handful, but the birds apparently don't like them because they stop with a nip. I gave your recipe 4 stars and not 5 because I can't imagine why you would put the pulp through a food mill? The delicate shreds of tender skin give the jam an exquisite texture and the pectin is concentrated in the peel. One more thing: I find the sheeting-from-spoon test to be less reliable than keeping 2-3 small saucers in the freezer and testing by the way the jam mounds & if the "Red Sea" stays "parted" when you run a finger through the mound. Thanks for some good tips. Damson's are getting almost impossible to buy in the NE USA, and I live in fear that every year will be the last I can locate some.
I followed your recipe as written, and ended up with a nice plum sauce, but not a jam. It tastes great, but not what I was going for. Sorry!
I fix my damson jam almost the same ,but with less water, I am blessed to have 2 damson trees which I planted a few years ago.It was long time about 7 years before they had fruit.I have to spray them every year to keep the worms out of them.you have to spray the tree before they bloom and also after the tree blooms. the tree will have plants that come up from the roots of the tree that you can transplan,one year I harvested 20 lbs of fruit and shared with others.I am diabetic so I give most of my jam away as it is hard to find anymore.
Getting rid of the pips is really easy. Get yourself a hand-powered Culinare "blender", toss in a handful or two of Damson plums and shred them by hand. This chops up the flesh into a shredded pulp, rather than a mush, which gives a great texture to the jam. Make yourself a sieve by drilling holes in a plastic bowl. A 9mm drill bit (3/8")worked for me, just small enough to prevent the pips getting through. Stir the pulp around with a wooden spoon, and you're left with the pips in the sieve and a negligible amount of fruit pulp. I processed a 10-liter bucket of fruit in about 30 minutes. If you let the pulp sit overnight, the purple and green or yellow takes on a beautiful red hue. I added sugar, poured some onto baking paper and put it in the hot summer sun to turn into yummy fruit leather. The rest was made into jam.
First you need to know the difference between Damson plums and Santa Rosa plums. True Damson plums are elongated, have a very deep purple skin with the appearance of a slight grey dusting. Polish the skin, and the plum becomes irridescent. The flesh, when at the best ripness is a deep gold. Flavor is very sweet with a touch of honey. Damsons like a freeze in the winter and water in the spring ergo, they are native to the Pacific Northewest. Santa Rosa plums are spherical, with a white to yellow flesh. They are tart and no amount of sugar will overcome this without destroying the plum flavor. Since the skin if the Santa Rosa is not a deep purple, you will never get a rich purple jam from them either. Santa Rosas are native to California. Best to use them in cobblers.
Jam the Damson. 1. Get a kitchen scale. 2.Remove the pits by slicing the plum lenghtwise. (easy) 3.DO NOT try to take skin off as that takes away color and flavor. 4. Prepare 4 pounds of pitted plums. 5.You should have a Cuisinart or similar to easily slice RAW plums.6.Put the 4 pounds of sliced, raw plums in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 20 min. until cooked but NOT a pulp or puree. 7. To make jam use 5 cups of cooked fruit to 6 cups of sugar and 3 Tbs. lemon juice. If you use pectin follow that recipe (I do and make 8 8oz. jars). If you do not use pectin (plums do have a fair amount) combine mixture from step 6 with 5 cups of sugar, stir to disolve sugar and cook rapidly to boiling point, mixture should begin to thicken, and continue to cook, stirring to prevent sticking. When thick, remove from heat and ladel into hot (boiled) jars and seal. Then put in a waterbath canner for 10 minute.
After experimenting for many years with the very frustrating task of pitting damson plums, and I tried everything, I discovered a surprisingly easy method this year that takes the pits out before cooking and avoids any danger of cutting yourself with a knife.
Damson plums have two ends, one where the blossom used to be and one where the stem was. Hold the plum with your thumb and index finger on each end and squeeze. Don't worry about bruising the fruit, it's going to turn to much anyway. The fruit will split and the pit will come out. The flesh goes in one bowl and the pits in another. The pit will retain a small amoumnt of the flesh and you can cook this off if you like, but I don't bother because, frankly, it's too much work for too little gain.
Anyway, using this method, I don't miss any pits and no one breaks a tooth on my jam as can easily happen in the cook first and then try to sift out the pits method.
This recipe worked, especially the cooling the cooked jam and then finding the seeds. I put on gloves and then just squeezed the pulp out and it worked pretty well. Thank you for the recipe
This was the first jam ever made by my DH and me from 3.5 kilograms of Damson plums given to us by our in laws. The recipe was easy to follow even for neophytes like us. We did make one phone call to the in laws to clarify the bottling part. We ended up with seven 500 ml jars of delicious jam which will last us a long time. Thanks for the recipe.
I made this jam today and the major problem I had was getting the 'set'. Removing the pits was also a major headache and I used a sieve plus fingers in the end! Eventually, after boiling hard for 45 mins, I gave up and bottled the jam and its cooled to a semi solid consistency. Hugely labour intensive and, in all honesty, I probably won't do it again but the recipe was easy to follow - just the end result not as good as I would have liked.
Loads of damsons this year, must be because of the very mild winter and spring this year so I figured I'd try to make some jam with them as I'd never made jam before. I followed this recipe and the jam was wonderful. I might have added too much water, but I just boiled the jam until the consistency was right. Getting the stones out is the only difficult step.