I have spent quite a few hours of the last few days wandering around my garden and the fields, as one would expect. In doing so I have managed to collect a whopping amount of damsons, blackberries, and a large quantity of smallish (so far) cooking apples.
Damsons damsons everywhere 🙂
So yesterday I had a bit of a baking day.And I am going to share with you the recipes for the treats I made!
First up: Damson Jam. I quite like this jam, it has a nice tartness to it which I think compliments afternoon tea- scones, clotted cream and jam- really nicely. I highly recommend it.
If you get some nice jars this jam makes quite a nice gift for someone. Top the jam with some checked wax paper and string for a traditional spin on a thoughtful home-made gift!
You will need
- 2.5lb damsons (I had 7lb but only had 2.5 lb of sugar at 9pm last night!)
- 2.5lb sugar (I used jam sugar as my fruit was not all very ripe. You may not need it. Jam sugar contains pectin, which helps the jam set)
- about 100mls or so of water
- 3 tbsp of lemon juice
- 2-3 Jam jars, well washed and dried. We will sterilise these before the jam goes in.
- Preheat oven to about 120*C. We will put the jars in here to sterilise them.
- Wash your fruit well and pick off any stems. Cos mine were like this 1st.
- Pop your fruit, water and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan (if you have one for jam all the better) and set over highish heat until it all begins to stew and boil.
- The skins will start to come off, the fruit will start to disintegrate. Stir it around and squish up the fruit as it stews.
- Getting to a great colour here.
- As stones come out of the fruit, you can pick them off with a spoon, preserving as much of the liquid as you can. This is tedious work, but has to be done!
- When most of your stones seem to have been picked out, and the fruit is all pretty uniform and gloopy, you may add your sugar.
- Stir until dissolved. Taste and make sure you don’t need any more- again, this depends on the fruit and how ripe it is. The riper fruit will not need any extra.
- Pop a sugar thermometer (my saviour) into the pan.
- I want a room this colour. It is brilliant.
- Pop your jars and lids (separately) into the oven after about 5 minutes. You want to keep them in there for about 5 minutes to sterilise them and reduce the chances of your jam going bad early.
- Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on the temperature. You want it to get to 220*F – or to where your thermometer says Jam (again, thermometer love)
- If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test your jam by dropping a spoonful on a chilled plate, leaving it for a few seconds, and pushing it with your finger. If it wrinkles up, it’s ready to go!
- Be sure to keep an eye out for missed stones and skim them off as they float to the surface.
- Remove jars from oven.
- Skim the jam. Remove all this shtuff:
- Carefully pour the jam into the jars. It’s useful to trickle it down the side to avoid big splashes of hot jam, and it also prevents air pockets forming.
- Fill right up to the rim of the jar. Pop the lid on.
You are done! Some people pop the jars of jam in the oven for a few minutes to sterilise even more, but yesterday I was lazy, so I didn’t… Yup. Brutally honest.
Enjoy your jam on some lovely scones or as a traditional jam sandwich. School day memories, children hyped up on jam and white bread 🙂 Loverly!
I’ve had the same experiences with picking fruit recently. We’ve had such a bumper crop because of the cold, cold winter. Silver lining and all that 🙂
I’ve picked loads of cooking and eating apples, black cherries (in which I made black cherry conserve, recipe is on my blog) sloe gin (so excited to try this at Christmas) and blackberries, raspberries and today I found some crabapples and rosehips! Can’t wait to make some rosehip syrup- don’t suppose you know a good recipe do you?
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