Sunday, 7 September 2014

Damson & Apple Jam

Homemade Damson & Apple Jam on homemade bread
Everyone seems to be going on about how many plums they have this year, so I was hopeful that I might be able to forage some long sought after damsons.  But after a couple of years of asking, no such luck and I had to resort to buy some - 5lbs to be exact.

First I have made some Damson & Apple Jam.  I made this 10 years ago from some foraged damsons and a recipe from Marguerite Patten's 500 Recipe series for Jams, Pickles, & Chutneys priced 2/6 published in 1963. To this day I can still taste the fruity taste of this jam and am thrilled to be able to make it again.

1 1/2lb damsons
1lb cooking apples, peeled & quartered
1/2 pint water
2 1/4lb sugar

The recipe says cook all the fruit together, having stated you need 1.5lb of stoned damsons, and then tells you to remove the stones from the stewed fruit mixture.  I thought it would be easier to stew the damsons with the water first, and remove the stones from this smaller volume.  I would do this again but would be even more OCD and count how many damsons to ensure I get all the stones out, as try as I might some seem to have ended up in the jam!

Once you have stewed and stoned the damsons, add the apple and simmer gently with a lid on until the apple has turned to mush.  Add the sugar and boil rapidly (don't worry about any scum - this can either be stirred away with or without a knob of butter at the end of cooking.

This jam reaches setting point quite quickly in my experience so test the jam after 5 minutes.  If it is not ready test again in 5 minutes.

NB If you've never made jam before take a look at this BBC Good Food guide to making jam.  The key things are knowing how to sterilise the jars and lids properly to prevent the jam going mouldy, and knowing when the boiling hot jam has reached setting point.

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