Friday, 3 September 2010

Seasonal Recipe: Damson Jam


Over the past week or so I've been the lucky recipient of the fruits of friends' gluts, namely a carrier bag full of windfall apples and a similar amount of damsons once I'd shaken them out of K's tree. This in turn has led to a frantic amount of preserve making activity and we now have a year's worth of jars of various sweetmeats stashed away in the kitchen cupboard :)

These gifts arrived in the nick of time as we were about to enter a 'jam deficit'. We often have soup and bread for lunch and NAH likes to add jam to this usual fayre. I made loads last year which we've just finished and unfortunately various circumstances led to the store cupboard not being restocked over the summer*.

I've been merrily making apple jelly and cheese, plus damson jam and cheese. The damson jam recipe I found on the Cook it Simply website is so easy, I have no hesitation in recommending it to you [my notes are in square brackets]:

Ingredients
1.25 kg damsons
500ml water
1.5 kg sugar

Method
  1. Remove the stalks, wash the damsons, and put into preserving pan [or any very large pan you have to hand] with the water
  2. Cook slowly until the damsons are well broken down [this releases all the juices and ensures the fruit skins are softened. Your kitchen will also be filled with a strong red-wine like aroma :)]
  3. Add the sugar, stir over a low heat until dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil rapidly
  4. Remove all the stones as they rise to the surface (a stone basket clipped to the side of the pan is useful for holding the stones, and allows any liquid to drip back into the pan) [I used a slotted spoon instead and put the stones into a small bowl. I then strained them through a sieve to get the extra juice and pulp back into the pan]
  5. Continue boiling rapidly until setting point is reached [see here for more info on how to do this]. (Test for set after about 10 minutes of rapid boiling)
  6. Remove from the heat, skim, pot [into warmed jars], cover and label

Makes about 6 jars - one of the better yields of jam in my experience.

* = a combination of missing the gooseberry harvest whilst away on holiday, so the birds had a feast of them; the rhubarb and ginger turning out a bit stringy this time; the hedgerow plums being far too small and out of reach to do anything with them; and a lack of raspberry surplus thus far owing to the recent drought :(

9 comments:

  1. Such a fruitful time of year for making preserves! So simple when you get fruit that is packed full of pectin!

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  2. the damsons look lovely! american canning recipes look a lot more complicated. american cooks seem to believe that if one doesn't use a water bath or pressure canner, all jarred goods must be refrigerated & used within a few months.

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  3. Funnily enough I had just finished cooking the damsons before making jam when I read this! It's the first time I have made damson jam, and it is absolutely delicious - it has a lovely tang to add depth to the sweetness, and the colour is fantastic. If you want any more, I may be able to get some for you from a neighbour's tree...let me know! (plus I've just made my first damson gin - but don't try to make it in a bottle coz they won't fit!)

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  4. Ooh cool looks good. I also have a carrier bag full of Damsons in my freezer. Thinking about making Damson Cheese.

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  5. Would have liked to see the finished product too.

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  6. Matron - I think this is the easiest jam I've made so far. Just made Pear and Lemon which took ages because of the lack of pectin. Delicious though/

    Petoskystone they're missing out on so much if they do. Jam usually keeps for at least a year if stored in a cool, dark place

    Lu - looking forward to trying your gin :)

    Gill - I've made some Damson cheese too :)

    Petoskystone and radha - all will be revealed in a later post...

    And radha - welcome!

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  7. This was my first jam making attempt. Thanks for such a simple recipe. My 4 jars of gleaming, sticky jam look fabulous. I foraged the damsons from a local lane's hedgerow, whilst on horseback, no mean feat. Lots of "STAND STILL" echoing around the lane! The effort was worth the jam though. Horse will get extra carrots as reward for her contribution.

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  8. Green Rabbit - good to hear from you! It's great when someone takes the trouble to say the recipe's worked for them. Easy recipes are my speciality ;)

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