Damson jam recipe

(1402 ratings)

Damson jam is a delicious sweet accompaniment to scones but can also be enjoyed with yogurt and granola for breakfast.

damson jam
(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • healthy
Preparation Time15 mins plus cooling time
Cooking Time1 hours
Total Time1 hours 15 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories1395 Kcal70%
Sugar346.5 g385%
Protein1.2 g2%
Carbohydrates346.5 g133%

Our damson jam is easy to make with just two ingredients and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. 

Damsons are small wild plums which are bitter if eaten raw but they are perfect for making jam. If you can’t find damsons in the supermarket, try foraging for them in your local hedgerows or at the edge of woodland. You’ll notice them appear around September and October. 

This recipe makes enough for four jars and each jar has at least 10 portions. A 45g portion is approximately 140 cals. 


  • 1 kg damsons
  • 1.3 kg jam sugar




  1. Wash and wipe the damsons and remove the stalks. Place them in a large wide pan with 300ml water and simmer gently until the fruit is soft. Press the damsons against the sides of the pan as they cook to help the fruit release their stones. Use a slotted spoon to remove the stones from the pan.
  2. Simmer the jam until the mixture has reduced by about half.
  3. Add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Then bring the jam to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the jam sets when tested. See our tips below for how to check.
  4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove the scum with a slotted spoon. Divide the jam between four 450ml jars which have been sterilised and are still warm. Fill right to the top then cover immediately with waxed discs and cellophane tops or lids.

Watch how to make damson jam

Top tips for making damson jam

If possible, sterilise your jars while you are making the damson jam so that they are still warm when you come to fill them up. This prevents the likelihood of the jar breaking when the hot jam is poured in. If the jars have cooled, you can always put them in a water bath for a few mins and then fill them. 

Learn how to sterilise jars and bottles with our easy guide and continue reading below for more helpful tips. 

Where can I find damsons?

Damsons are not often sold in supermarkets, but you can often find them in local greengrocers or at farmers markets during the season, which is from mid-August to late October, depending on the year. Alternatively, you can find them growing wild.

Can I pick wild damsons?

Yes, you can find and forage wild damsons quite commonly in the UK, usually in hedgerows or on the edge of mixed woodland. The fruits are dark purple with a light white bloom, and about 15-30mm long. They look similar to wild sloes but they are larger, and the bushes are less thorny. If you are on someone's land, you must ask permission before picking any fruit.

Remember to forage responsibly and only take what you need so that others can benefit from the wild fruit too. 

How do you get stones out of damsons for jam?

It’s a little fiddly to get the stones out before cooking but you should find they float to the top while the mixture is simmering.

When is jam ready?

To test if your jam is at setting point, ideally you should use a sugar thermometer. Boil until the jam reaches 105C. Or place a saucer in the fridge. When the jam has boiled for 5 minutes, place a teaspoon of jam on the saucer and return to the fridge. After a couple of minutes, run your finger through the jam, it should wrinkle and feel thicker.

If runny, continue boiling until the setting point is reached. Be careful not to continue cooking the jam while you are testing as you can easily overcook it, so turn the heat right down.

The most accurate way to tell if jam is at setting point is by using a sugar thermometer like this one from Tala. You can all use a digital thermometer if you already have one for checking if meat is cooked. 

Tala Jam Thermometer - View at Amazon 

Tala Jam Thermometer - View at Amazon 

This thermometer has a scale of 40C all the way up to 200C so you can accurately measure the temperature of your jam, caramel or toffee. It’s simple to use and clean and has a strong handle so it’s easy to take in and out of the pan. 

For more fruity creations, check out our strawberry jam. You might also like our plum chutney which works brilliantly on a cheeseboard or these stewed apples are the perfect foundations to a simple homemade dessert.