First and foremost, apologies for this rather delayed post – I had promised to blog this recipe a week ago, but an impromptu trip to visit my girlfriend, Katherine, seemed rather more important. As a result this recipe comes perhaps a little late in the year, summer has now ended and autumn has begun, which means damsons are becoming increasingly difficult to find. However, this is an exceedingly delicious jelly and would work just as well with plums, though they might make it a little sweeter.
Damsons are probably the perfect fruit to feature on this blog as the British climate means they grow in abundance each year. However, despite the relative profusion of this small plum people tend not to pick them, perhaps because they are less versatile than the average plum. As such, damsons are particularly easy to find outdoors, but are also incredibly cheap to buy.
Despite the imminent lack of cheap summer fruits due to the change in season, I’m rather looking forward to autumn and winter as most of my favourite recipes are generally eaten at this time of year. Surely there is nothing quite as good as a rich and slowly cooked meal on increasingly dark and cold days? Meanwhile, please enjoy this last taste of summer, the perfect way of using up those final damsons – particularly when served with my delicious Traditional Scones.
Makes 6-7 standard jam jars
• 1.8kg damsons
• 300ml water
• Juice of 2 lemons
• Preserving sugar, roughly 1.7kg
1. Using a heavy based pan cook the damsons, together with 300ml water and the lemon juice for roughly 40 minutes, or until all of the fruit has softened.
2. Pass this through a sieve to remove any stones and any remaining bits of fruit, using a large bowl to catch the juice. Leave this in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
3. Transfer the juice back into the pan using a measuring jug, adding 1g of preserving sugar for every 1ml of juice. Stir this over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and after 20 minutes check if a little of the jelly sets on a cold plate. If it doesn’t, return to the heat, testing every 5 minutes. When done, transfer the jelly into jam jars heated to 100C in the oven, cool before sealing.
Cost: Considering the damsons used in this batch of jelly were free the total cost was no more than £2, an incredibly good deal. Having to buy damsons may double the price, but spending £4 on this quantity of jelly really wouldn’t be a catastrophic mistake.