We love damson jam spread on freshly-baked scones or tea loaf.
Damson jam makes a wonderful food gift. Damsons are tiny sour plums that are too bitter to eat but make delicious jam. It is hard to remove their stones, so cook them whole and the stones will come to the surface as they cook. Damsons are ready to pick from August and at their best in September. If you’re lucky enough to have a fruit-bearing damson tree in your garden, jam is a great way to make the most of your harvest.
- 1 kg damsons
- 300ml water
- 1.3 kg jam sugar
- 4x 450ml jars, sterilised
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.
Simmer the jam until the mixture has reduced by about half.
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.
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.
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.
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.