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How To Make Damson Jam Recipe

altDamsons (Prunus domestica subsp. Insititia) are hanging in large pendulous bunches here in Kent, a real Garden of England for the wild food forager, and in this Badger Bushcraft Wild Food Blog we will be using them to produce one of the best and tastiest hedgerow jams.

 

Damson jam has been a firm favourite in our family since I can remember and with a real glut of fruit this season we have decided to exploit this and produce an initial large batch.

damson jam_1

For this damson jam recipe we used:-

  • 3kg Damsons
  • 1.5ltrs Water
  • 2.4kg Sugar
  • A Large Maslin or Jam Pan

We collected 3kg of damsons from the edge of a field that is on a footpath near our base here in the Kentish village of Egerton. Despite the average weight of each damson ranging from 4-6g, this meant we harvested around 600 individual damsons; our target of 3kg was fulfilled in under ten minutes from several trees with branches that were bent low with the weight of this delicious bounty.

damson jam_2

We took the damsons back to our HQ where they were sorted, washed and all storks and leaves removed before placing them in our Maslin jam pan with 1.5ltr of cold water.

damson jam_3

The fruits and water were then brought to the boil and carefully crushed with a potato masher and simmered for a further 20 minutes.

damson jam_4

We found that the potato mashed also served as an excellent rake to remove all of the damson stones, although this was quite time consuming it will prevent many of the stones making it into the final jam.

We then brought the damson liquid to the boil and added 2.4kg of sugar stirring continuously until the sugar had fully dissolved. This is a little less sugar than recommended in some damson jam recipes but we prefer to taste the full flavour of the fruit with slightly reduced sweetness.

damson jam_6

We boiled the liquor for some 35 minutes before it was ready to set, obviously smaller batches might require less. During the boiling process any errant fruit stones should float to the surface and can be removed when skimming the jam.

damson jam_7

Our method of testing for a good set is to place several dishes in the fridge to chill and at regular intervals take a half teaspoon of the liquor and pour it onto the edge of the chilled dish. When the jam is "about right" the liquid will quickly become quite viscous, sticking to the side of the dish and producing a soft skin that will wrinkle when gently touched with another spoon.

When the set is to you liking allow to cool somewhat before carefully potting into sterilized jam jars. Our method of sterilizing jars and lids is to wash the jars in hot water and then place them into a preheated oven at 170°C for about 5 minutes.

damson jam_8

This recipe produced just over 3kg of the most delicious damson jam which we will enjoy and share with both clients and friends in the coming months.

damson jam_9

Have you tried mixing damsons and plums together to make a jam? If not then check out this recipe for Damson and Plum Jam.

Comments

 
#1 rachel hawkes 06-09-2013 19:55
Great recipe, made it with a load of damsons picked with my kids. Really great tip,with the potato masher. Turns out lovely, just about to do the next batch.
 
 
#2 Phil Brown 07-09-2013 06:09
Hi Rachel,

We're so very glad that the recipe was to your liking and that the use of the potato masher made things a little bit easier!

Hope you enjoy your jam and really pleased that your children were involved in the process, you're never too young to start to safely learn about the gifts of Mother Nature's larder!

Best regards,

Phil & Co.
 
 
#3 sharon lloyd 12-09-2013 18:57
Thanks for the recipe but what did I do wrong?? I ended up with burnt runny jam!! I admit I have never ever made decent jam!!
 
 
#4 Phil Brown 15-09-2013 06:27
Hi Sharon,

Not quite sure how you have burnt the jam - we've never managed to do this but, however, we do use a very heavy and thick bottomed jam pan.

The jam could be runny because it was not reduced enough and therefore not ready to set.

Don't lose heart and keep on trying - you'll get there in the end with the most marvellous jam!

Best regards,

Phil Brown
 
 
#5 Tracey 28-09-2013 10:22
Nice recipe but I use the masher to mash and then put the pulp in batches into a sieve and sort with a teaspoon. Rotten job makes me very irritable but gets rid of all of the stones.
 
 
#6 Phil Brown 28-09-2013 10:44
Hi Tracey,

The masher works a charm but it might leave the odd stone in the batch.

Jam and wild food recipes are really rather Cathartic from the process of foraging right through to the end product.

Keep up the good work Tracey!

Best regards,

Phil Brown
Badger Bushcraft Head Instructor
 
 
#7 Farid 02-10-2013 14:12
Thanks for the recipe. Again, great tip on the masher and on the sugar reduction. Made a fantastic sweet and tangy batch of jam!
 
 
#8 Den Lyon 02-10-2013 14:17
Thanks for the recipe, I'm in the middle of a batch right now. Adding black pepper, cinnamon and chili to mine for a bit of a twist.
Cheers,
Den
 
 
#9 Claire 03-10-2013 10:52
Thanks for the great recipe. I'm making something similar now, but with less sugar and should be more of a "compote" than a jam.

I use a cherry/olive stoner to remove all of the stones from the very outset. This saves me a lot of hassle later on!
 
 
#10 Jo 04-10-2013 21:21
Thank you for sharing your recipe & photos. I am just making my first ever batch with damsons foraged with the kids. They were lovely & ripe so the masher worked great and then we fished the stones out with a couple of slotted spoons - dead easy. It smells & looks wonderful so I am hopeful it's going to turn out well!

Thanks
Jo
 
 
#11 Mandy 31-08-2014 14:33
Try baking the damsons in a warm oven for about 10 minutes or so. They will start to split open and the stones can be removed easily with rubber gloves before you start. This avoids the need to get involved with boiling sugar.
 

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