Damsons are a noble stone fruit and due to their high acidity and intense flavor they are ideal for preserving. They cannot be eaten straight from the tree so must be processed in one fashion or another. Great in crumbles or steeped in gin to enjoy on a winter’s day. Here for only a very short time in the early autumn, look out for these deep purple gems in store from Chegworth Valley in our shops, or at local farmers markets.
This is a soft set preserve that is made by cooking the fruit whole and then passing through a sieve to remove stones and skin. The sugar is then added and heated gently to a setting point and removed and potted. This method is sometimes called a butter and not a jam due the soft smooth character and shortened cooking time. Keep in a cool spot and consume with in 6 months.
Wash the damsons and removed stalks. Place in a pan with 100ml of water and cook very gently over a low heat stirring from time to time.
Continue to cooked until the flesh starts fall away from the stones inside the fruit and you have a loose mixture. This will take around 10-15 mins, or longer depending on quality and variety of fruit.
Remove from heat allow to cool slightly and pass through the mouli sieve and remove the stones and skins being careful to collect all the precious puree. You should have about 500g of puree once passed.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and return to a low heat. Gently dissolve the sugar stirring from time to time. Then turn up the and bring to the boil as quickly as possible being careful not to scorch the bottom of the pan, stirring from time to time.
This preserve should set very quickly if you have chosen good quality fruit. It will set at just over boiling point 102–104oC. Don’t over cook it or you will tarnish the flavour.
Test the set on a chilled plate using your finger to create a wrinkle. Pot into sterilised jars whilst hot and seal with a clean lid.
Serve or Preserve
Serve on hot toast or make a special Victoria Sponge using this as the filling. Will keep for for 6 months in a cool dark spot in your kitchen.
400g Unrefined Granulated Sugar
50ml lemon juice
100 ml water
Heavy based wide pan
Flat ended wooden spoon
3 × 250ml jars and lids