Damson jam recipe

(1397 ratings)

This sweet damson jam recipe is simple to make & full of juicy flavour – perfect spread on warm bread or as a special Christmas food gift

Damson jam recipe
(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)
  • healthy
Preparation Time15 mins plus cooling time
Cooking Time1 hours
Total Time1 hours 15 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories45 Kcal2%
Sugar10.9 g12%
Fat0.01 g0%
Saturated Fat0.01 g0%
Protein0.08 g0%
Carbohydrates11.3 g4%

Damson jam is sweet with the perfect amount of tartness - perfect spread on toast at breakfast time, or on freshly baked scones for tea. 

Damsons are small wild plums that are too bitter to eat as you find them, but make one of the best British jams. It's tricky to get their stones out before you cook them so simply cook them whole and you should find the stones float to the surface of the pan as you simmer them. If you're lucky enough to have a damson tree in your garden, this is a great way to use up a good harvest. Otherwise you can go foraging for them in hedgerows and at the edge of woodland - food for free (see below for more info). Making jam is easy and so satisfying and it lasts for weeks, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour right into the winter. We've even made a video to show you just how simple it is.


  • 1 kg damsons
  • 300ml water
  • 1.3 kg jam sugar
  • 4x 450ml jars, sterilised




  1. Wash and wipe the damsons and remove the stalks. Place them in a large wide pan with the 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 mins until the jam sets when tested.
  4. Allow to cool for 10 mins then remove the scum with a slotted spoon. Pour into warmed sterilised jars, fill right to the top then cover immediately with waxed discs and cellophane tops or lids.
  5. To test for setting point ideally use a sugar thermometer, and boil until the jam reaches 105C. Or place a saucer in the fridge. When the jam has boiled for 5 mins place a teaspoon of jam on the saucer and return to the fridge. After a couple of min, run your finger through the jam, it should wrinkle and feel thicker. If runny, continue boiling until 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.

Watch how to make damson jam

Top tip for making damson jam

To sterilise your jars, wash them well in hot soapy water, then place in a medium oven for 10 minutes (add metal screw top lids too) heat for 10 minutes. It is best to add the jam to hot jam jars if possible. If you need more advice and tips when it comes to sterilising jars, our how to sterilise jars and bottles guide will help.

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.

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Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at Goodto.com and has over 10 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to kitchen appliances, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends some of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family including her two lucky children.