five ways with… a ton of damsons
Not literally a ton of damsons… 1% of a ton in fact. But it’s a ton of work picking, stoning and preserving 10 kilos of damsons. Don’t let that put you off if you spot a tree though, they’re well worth the effort. I’ll post full recipe details shortly but in the meantime here’s my Times on-line style ‘5 ways with …‘ spotlight on damsons. Drum roll please, in order of success and recommendation here are my tried and tested
5 ways with … damsons
(quantities here are the amounts I used not the amounts you need to have!)
dambeena 4kg of damsons boiled and strained to make 3.5 litres of Pam Corbin’s dambeena cordial. Unlike other cordials or jellies the leftover fruit pulp can be saved to make a delicious pie filling, a hot sauce to pour over ice-cream or mixed with double cream. 4kg of fruit pulp after straining and removing the stones produced 4 jam jars of puree.
damson jam 1.1kg made about 6 jars of jam. I was thrilled to bits with how tasty my first ever jam making attempt turned out and it was given a big thumbs up by our visitors last week. Hints of citrus and cinnamon intesified the flavour of the damsons beautifully. (click here for recipe)
damson muffins I found this recipe in a copy of Waitrose Food magazine from September 2007 (thanks for letting me pinch it Lei). It uses oil and yoghurt instead of butter and the damsons cook beautifully added raw to the sugared cake mix. I had a wonderful assistant for this batch of baking but you’ll have to wait to find out who… (update: damson muffins recipe here)
damson chutney 1.35kg of damsons made into a dozen 110ml jars of Delia’s spiced damson chutney. It cooks down to a very soft jam like consistency and is delicately spiced with cloves, all spice and ginger. (click here for recipe)
freezing damsons to delay decision making about other recipes to try! 3kg, about 10 litres, de-stoned while watching a film with George (be warned it’ll take about 40 minutes per kilo and requires a big dose of patience and a not easily irritated husband!). I’ve still got purple stained fingers and a sore thumb so I’d recommend wearing latex gloves for this.
bottling damsons 1.2kg bottled in syrup. I used kilner jars and wasn’t convinced that the seals were airtight because drops of liquid kept seaping out of the side and puddling on the worktop for about a week after. Initially I I thought it was fermenting (suspicious looking bubbles at the top of the jar) but it seems to have dried off now and the bubbles have gone. If I bottled fruit again I’d use jam jars and I can’t really vouch for the success of this method yet. At least there shouldn’t be any bacteria in the jar as I topped them off with spoonful of cherry brandy.
If you thought you’d spotted a deliberate mistake there with 6 options I don’t think ‘freezing‘ really qualifies as a recipe! I’m not really advocating bottling either so I actually need to offer you one more don’t I? How about an alternative use for damson jam and a swirly dance with some cream to make Steve Parle’s perfect damson ripple ice-cream. Summer sunshine and melting ice creams may be long forgotten but don’t you just want to lean in and give this a lick! Steve Parle is a former River Cafe cook and writes food posts for the Observer Organic Allotment blog. I’ve not made Steve’s ice-cream yet so this is his blog photo not mine.