Wednesday, 4 September 2013

More scrumping...

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Probably, less than 80 feet away from our front door, is a 'fruit' lane. It has haws, hips, elderberries and a few damsons. If you like to decorate your room with wild hops (the smell of them drying is wonderful), it has some of those as well!

We have been keeping an eye on a few damsons, and decided to pick them as the odd one or two were falling off. We managed to get just under 2lb with only one nettle sting each this time!
They needed a good sort through as quite a few had little holes in them (plum sawfly we presume) and occasionally, a little maggot crawled out. We were left with just enough (plus 4 mirabelle plums) to make some damson and orange jam. You will need:

The zest and juice of two oranges. Make the juice up to 240ml with water.
1lb 10oz of damsons
1lb 8oz sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
20 shakes of a bottle of lemon juice concentrate or 1/2 a lemon

Put the damsons, cinnamon, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice made up with water, into a preserving pan or other large thick bottomed saucepan.

Bring to a simmer and simmer until the damsons are cooked and the stones are working loose, maybe 20 to 30 minutes.
I then tip it all into a nylon sieve and push it hard to extract the pulp and juice, which is put back into the pan. Then tip the gunk in the sieve onto a large plate and sort through it to remove the stones but keep any bits of damson and skin, which go back into the pan.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then boil rapidly until set. I found no longer than 10 minutes but it may vary.
Pour into hot, sterilised jars and put caps on straight away. This amount makes about 2lb but I put mine into 4 old pate jars.
The smell of this cooking is divine and the orange and cinnamon give it something extra which you can't really identify but know something else is in it. It has a slightly tart edge to it but we don't like jam that is too sickly sweet.

14 comments:

  1. It is so nice to go foraging, what a good harvest of damsons :)
    The jam looks delicious, I have never tasted plum jam with orange. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    1. You are welcome. It might work with other plums but with damsons is delicious.

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  2. I'm always a bit wary of picking berries from the hedgerow. I think it stems from childhood when mum told us not to eat any berries we found. Of course I'm an avid blackberrier and always gather them for pies, tarts and jam but stop short when it comes to anything else. Silly I know but you have proved to me that they are okay to pick. We saw some the other day when out for a walk and John thought they looked like blueberries. We had our young grandson with us so didn't pick them (just like my mum). Anyway your jam looks lovely and I like the sound of cinnamon to flavour it.
    Patricia x

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    1. There are many nice berries to pick, but like mushrooms, you do have to be careful. They might have been bilberries but there is a plant, often in gardens or strays, that looks like a blueberry but isn't, so please be careful. Sloes, brambles, elderberry, bullace (like a damson but golden green and a little softer), yellow, red plumbs, rosehips etc.

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  3. My daughter in law has a fruit isle down the lane at the back of their cottage, she keeps a close eye on whats growing and knows exactly when the times right for picking, and makes the m,ost of everything.

    I like the sound of the cinnamon in jam, I will try that in my next lot, thank you.

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    1. Hope you try it. Don't know what it will be like with 'normal' plums!

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  4. Looks lovely, Dc, I must get out and pick some blackberries - I always leave it too late!

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    1. It isn't too late Lynne. I think if we get the promised rain and cooler weather, the berries will be juicier for it. I'm not going to pick again, for a week or two.

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  5. Your jam looks delicious. I'm hoping to get to the allotment this weekend to check out the wild blackberries that grow down there. There's usually only me that picks them. Mixed with the apples from our trees at the plot they'll make lovely crumbles.

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  6. Thank you! I have a nice bramble recipe I haven't tried for a while so if I get some good ones in the next few weeks, shall give it a try. Can't beat a crumble, we like them more than pies.

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  7. My damsons and plums still aren't ripe - I wish they'd get a move on there is so much I want to do with them.

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    1. My few plums ripened ages ago but the damsons probably needed another week but still worked.

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  8. Damson jam is delicious!

    We are making damson gin with our fruit.

    Sft x

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    1. Have you tried damson vodka, we prefer vodka based liqueurs now, to gin.

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