A Last Taste of Summer – Damson Jelly

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. So, what are you waiting for? Get making your very own Damson Jelly.

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.

Damson Jelly

Makes 6-7 standard jam jars


• 1.8kg damsons

• 300ml water

• Juice of 2 lemons

• 1.7kg jam sugar


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.

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32 comments on “A Last Taste of Summer – Damson Jelly

  1. chicaandaluza
    September 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Oh I ,iss damsons – we can´t get them in Andalucia. The jelly looks beautiful!

  2. Sara
    September 9, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I don’t know what the “American” name is for these, if we even have them at all. I had thought damsons were the “italian prune plum” but I see from your pictures that they are not. I do remember seeing damson jams all over shop walls when we lived in the UK!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Don’t ask me! I’m ignorant of everything American! It really is everywhere here though!

  3. ceciliag
    September 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I will try this with our plums next year, we do not have damsons and as you suggested I guess the next best thing is a little plum.. thank you,, hope you enjoyed your trip, you definitely had your priorities right anyway!!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      I really did enjoy my trip, thanks :D. Please do try it… eventually. It’s such an awesome recipe.

  4. lambyknits01
    September 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I’m loving that color! I bet this tastes as good as it looks 🙂

  5. yummystudentchef
    September 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Damson jelly is my favourite flavour jelly ever! It’s delicious!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      I love it! You get a sweetness then a tartness and it tastes fantastic.

  6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    September 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I like how you keep it simple. Looks wonderful!

  7. A Little Yumminess
    September 10, 2011 at 12:16 am

    I have to admit I don’t really know what Damsons are – they seem to resemble plums. My grandfather used to make plum jam. I think I have to try and carry on the tradition

    • frugalfeeding
      September 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Yeh, they are little plums. You should 😀

  8. Joanne
    September 10, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I’ve never had a damson plum. But that big bowl of them looks absolutely beautiful! And that jelly looks SO good!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks so much. It’s really very tasty 😀

  9. Karen
    September 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    A nice jelly to spread on one of your scones.

  10. Just A Smidgen
    September 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    The perfect jam to go with your scones… delicious. I don’t think we have damson’s here in Canada either, but I’m going to google it.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Oh yeh, I’ve no idea about regional fruits… sorry I can’t help 😛

  11. Cara
    September 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I’m always learning something new from this blog–from British slang to foods I never heard of! I’m now interested in plum jam, thanks to you!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks so much, I’m really glad you’re enjoying it 😀

  12. emilysincerely
    September 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks for stopping my by blog. Your Damson jelly comment intrigued me, so here I am… What a lovely looking jelly. So I had to goggle “damsom” and I had to goggle “preserving sugar” too, now I am up to speed! We planted some fruit trees and should have fruit in another 2 years (plum, pear, peach, apple, fig). I look forward to the time I can try out all these neat recipes for jellies and jams. Thank you again for visiting me and mentioning your Damsom Jelly. Sincerely, Emily

    • frugalfeeding
      September 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, also. 😀 I’m a little jealous of all your fruit trees. Hope that all goes smoothly 😀

  13. The Barefoot Indian
    September 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Never heard of damsons, but the picture of them looks like something I’ve seen before. It looks delicious!

  14. katiebarlow
    September 17, 2011 at 6:22 am

    wow, beautiful color. We don’t have damsons in the US, I love learning about new fruits!

  15. kitchenjammin
    September 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    @Sarah and others who commented here, damsons are available in Canada, and they are even called damsons here (unlike the zucchini/courgette debate that confuses me each time. Maybe it’s the British/Canada connection? Try St Lawrence Market in Toronto if you’re in that part of the world. I suspect the season will end pretty soon though. I don’t know about U.S. suppliers.

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