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Surprise damsons

Posted by on Friday 19 August 2011 in homebrewing | 11 comments

Our fab friends Vic and John B texted the other day to ask if we’d like some damsons – they’d used as many as they could but had some spare that needed eating/processing ASAP. “Some” turned out to be about 5kg (11lbs)! Thanks so much Vic & John B! :)

Last year, we thought our mysterious plums might be damsons – they’re about the right size – but the colour is very, very different. Ours are a very deep pink when ripe but these are such a rich indigo-blue, it’s almost unreal. I feel by the process of elimination, we’ll work out what our plums are eventually :)

We gave a few handfuls some to Strowger & Urbanwide for eating and my John turned the rest into wine last night. He did a lot of exclaiming about the amount of sugar needed for the wine – it’s a good job I don’t have any immediate jamming requirements as he’s used up practically every grain of sugar in the house.

Have you grown/foraged damsons this year? What did you do with them? Any favourite recipes?


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  1. Maria

    not this year, but I have bought damsons from the farm shop in previous years to make damson gin. very tasty! We still have loads leftover from last year, so not sure what I will do with any damsons that come my way this year.

    If you jam them, have you any tips for easy pitting/de-stoning, or is there no way around it?

    • louisa

      When I’ve been making jam etc, I’ve tried both pitting them with a knife first and letting them destone themselves while cooking (and then fishing out the floating stones) – and I think I prefer the former as I can be more systematic about it. I don’t think I do it in a particularly special way though.

      I don’t like gin but John does – we’ll have to try that if we get any more :)

  2. Attila

    We have damsons or maybe plums in a tree in our garden that probably grew from a tree in our neighbours garden. We made jam from ours last year (a huge crop) and next door just left theirs. So this year, noticing that our crop was much smaller, I smiled sweetly at the neighbours – they are brilliant anyway – and had their crop too. They were really pleased at the jam they got back and as a bonus, have been giving us those pretty bonne maman jars and lids as they use them!
    Next year, I think I’ll go for damson chutney.

  3. Mo

    We’ve had no Damsons this year and we won’t be foraging any because we have a glut of plums. So far we have tried the Plum Ketchup recipe you posted (lovely) and made Jam and Wine.

  4. PipneyJane

    Louisa, noted your comment re not liking gin. Damson gin won’t taste anything like the stuff you get in your G&T. In fact, like sloe gin, it’s an easy way to use up that random bottle of gin lurking at the back of the drinks cabinet. (Gin is just flavoured vodka, after all.) Most gin-haters to whom I’ve given sloe gin love it.

    For a recipe, try http://www.sloe.biz .

  5. PipneyJane

    PS: Have you looked at the Cottage Smallholder’s Damson Vodka recipe?

  6. louisa

    Attila: double bonus, ace :) Lucky you :)

    Mo: glad you liked the ketchup. We tried it for the first time the other day and it was lovely with stuff but a little strong on its own — but I’m not exactly going to be chugging it down solo anyway so no biggy :)

    PipneyJane: I don’t drink any alcohol at all so I think damson gin would have to be completely unlike normal gin to interest me ;)

  7. PipneyJane

    Sorry, I didn’t remember you don’t drink alcohol.

  8. Jono / Real Men Sow

    I have a tree nearby to where I grew up which is a funny old thing. Its by a sub station, but looks like a cultivated damson that’s escaped. The fruit are much bigger than the wild variety, which makes for great jam as its not all skin once they’re stoned.

    Damson jam is my favourite jam is it is that bit tarter than other fruit.

  9. Su

    I had never even seen a damson until yesterday! Cycling to work I found a tree covered in them, unfortunatley, like every other fruit tree I’ve ever found it’s at the side of a main road! I’m rubbish at this foraging lark!

    • louisa

      I hadn’t seen one until we got given that batch – then last weekend, I saw two damsons trees & a greengage tree (another thing I hadn’t seen) while on a walk. Insert a bus cliche here… :)

      We see a lot of side-of-main-road fruit trees too – I think we both need to go on more rural wanders/rides :)

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