Is there anything nicer than homemade jam on hot buttered crumpets or scones? Damson jam to be more precise, with its lovely sweet but tart flavour? As I had so many damsons left over after making damson gin and vodka earlier this Autumn, I thought I’d use them up in some jam. Like fruit spirits, homemade jam is very easy to make. And it makes a lovely Christmas gift too, provided you can bring yourself to give any away, of course… Here’s my recipe for easy damson jam.
Easy damson jam
- 1kg of stoned damsons (add a few stoned, chopped plums if you don’t have enough)
- 1kg of golden granulated sugar
- 170ml water
- A knob of butter
- A plate in the fridge
- 5 x sterilised jam jars* and waxed discs
How to make your jam
1. Wash your fruit and throw away any mouldy ones. Bruised ones are fine to cook though. BUT … you will need to take the stones out of the damsons for two reasons. Firstly, because this recipe needs stoned fruit otherwise the sugar quantity is wrong. Secondly, because no-one wants to crack their teeth while enjoying their toast or crumpets.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a quick way to do this other than by hand. Using a cherry stoner didn’t work, so it’s a slice and fish out job, which will take some time. Be warned, this job will dye your cuticles and nails a rather unattractive shade of brown too. So, if anyone has a quicker and easier de-stoning method, I’d love to know for next year, please!
2. Put the stoned fruit into a preserving pan* or a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add your water, and bring to the boil. Keep stirring gently so the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (My fruits looked rather like a chilli con carne at this stage but changed magically to a recognisable jam as they cooked).
3. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-18 minutes, stirring gently all the time. You want the fruit to be soft before you add the sugar.
4. Tip in all the sugar and continue stirring over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. You’ll know when this has happened because the spoon will stop sounding gritty on the bottom of the pan. And there’ll be no more granules on the back of the spoon.
5. Once the sugar has dissolved, raise the heat to a full rolling boil and continue boiling for 10-12 minutes. Tip: keep stirring gently all the time. Jam recipes always say not to stir and I’ve thrown away three pans and a lot of fruit because my jam always burned. So now I always stir and I’ve never had any problems with fruit burning or jam not setting.
6. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Drop a little jam on your refrigerated plate and wait 30 seconds. Then try and push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles slightly, it’s ready. If it slides across the plate it’s still too soft so put it back on the heat for a couple more minutes, stirring gently all the time. Don’t forget to put your plate back in the fridge. Test again in a couple more minutes, making sure you turn the heat off while you test.
7. Once your jam is ready, stir in a knob of butter to help dissolve any scum before you ladle it into sterilised jars. Tip: use a collapsible jam funnel*, it makes life sooooooo easy! Before it cools, pop a waxed disc on top of the jam, seal and label your jar. Then all that’s left to do is eat and enjoy! This recipe also works brilliantly with plums too, luckily, as our Victoria plum tree is always a prolific cropper 🙂
What’s your favourite flavour of jam? Have you ever tried making your own homemade jam? Did you realise how easy it is to make and how much fun it is too?
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