Thursday, 30 July 2015

On the Agenda Today


Well the Damson Gin is strained and into it's bottles ready for storing in the cupboard.  Now that just leaves me with the well soaked Damsons.  I can't actually remember when I put these to soak, it doesn't really matter how long you leave them steeping in the Gin as the alcohol preserves them, and actually the longer they are there the better the gin and the jam.  

Now it's time for the next step ..... taking the stones out of the damsons.  It's worth doing this as although they will float out in the boiling process it's a sticky and fiddly job to fish them out then and there are always some that get missed, and you get a much better jam to eat if you don't have to fish stones out of your mouth with every bite of your toast.  The easiest way to do it is to line up an empty dish, or the pan you will do the next stage in (I forgot to do this this time), the bowl full of damsons and your little compost bin.


And with the radio on so you can sing along and bop when the right tune comes on, you can start the process of pick up damson, squeeze out stone and put the right thing in the right container.  When you get to the halfway stage as I was in this photo, you can start to breathe a sigh of relief ... it's not the most riveting job in the world!!


But once you get to this stage ... it's all worth it :-)


Then you simply pour on enough water to just about cover them, bring it to the boil and then simmer for twenty or so minutes.


Once slightly cooled I usually give them a bit of a mash with my potato masher and  then ladle them into the straining bag.  I left this overnight and by this morning my jug was full of lovely damson juice.


As I sit here at the computer typing this my jars and lids are washed and draining ready to go into the bottom oven of the Aga for ten minutes or so to sterilise them ....


.... and the jam pan and bags of sugar are on top of the Aga getting nicely warmed up .... and as it was so wet here this morning when I walked the dogs round the paddock before seeing to the chickens, my jacket is drying too.

So one more cup of coffee, a whizz around blog world to see what you lovely lot are up to and then it will be time to make the jam.  I can't think of a better way to spend a wet, cold and dismal day than in the kitchen making a batch of jam.

Sue xx

20 comments:

  1. Best of luck with it...My morning toast could use some!

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  2. Could you also make unstrained damson jam or are the skins tough?

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    1. Of course you can. As the Damsons have been soaking in the gin and whiskey for over a year they are far from tough. I'll show exactly what I'm doing with all the pulp etc on another blog post. :-)

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    2. I was thinking exactly the same thing, What do you plan to do with the pulp? I'll watch out for that blog post.

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  3. I'm sure I can smell it from here!
    Jane x

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  4. I've been jam making too. My neighbour has a damson tree but I can't see any fruit at the moment.

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    1. It's too early in the year yet, they'll be out soon though. I find that Damson trees will have tons of fruit one year, even two years in a row sometimes and then they almost go dormant for a year or so and then get back to full capacity the following year. It's very dependent on the weather at the time the blossom sets too.

      My Damsons were from the final crop I picked when we lived in Oxford, which was over three years ago. First they were in the freezer and then they were steeping in the alcohol for over a year.

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  5. I am not at all familiar with a damson, so don't know how to perceive the outcome of the jam, etc. But I'm sure it's delicious. If you add sugar to the fruit and make the jam, it can't be bad! ;-)

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    1. They are like tiny dark plums, similar to Sloes.

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  6. Looks scrummy. I haven't made jam for years. I must give it a go again x

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  7. I love jam on toast or scones but am too nervous of spoiling it to make my own as I would have to buy the fruit....no fruit trees you see (or bushes ;-)
    Perhaps I ought to try....

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  8. OMG that's sounds so delicious. I noticed Mum's damson tree was full of fruit so I need to try ang go back down there when they are ripe! Damson jam is delicious, but mum didn't used to stone the fruit so I remember having to fish stones out of my mouth with every bite of toast! What you needed was a companion to chat to and help stone the fruit! :)

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  9. I must have done something right in my jam making session the other day. I had to open a jar and lo and behold it wasn't runny and was delicious. I may do more. You are inspiring me.
    xx

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  10. Lovely jam! I'm here visiting from Rhonda's Down-To-Earth. I look forward to reading your blog! :)

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  11. Lovely stuff! I have just made 6 very large jars of Raspberry Jam. Yummy.

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  12. Hello, I am visiting from Rhonda's Down to Earth and looking forward to following your blog. I have enjoyed reading all about your damson day in the kitchen today.

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  13. After seeing this post, I now have Aga envy! It just seems to make a home - a home! Sterilising jars in a warm oven, warming ingredients on the top, drying clothing and storing tea towels on the front rail - such a fine centrepiece in any kitchen. Damson jam is my favourite, along with the very scarce Kea Plum jam from a tiny orchard in Cornwall, which has a very similar sharp taste. Oooohhh my mouth is watering now . . . . .

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    1. Yes, an Aga is most definitely NOT just a cooker. With her switched on the house is warm, the dogs have something to cuddle up to when they come in wet and as you said it does all of the things you mention. I love it ;-)

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  14. Looks like the jam will be delicious. I've been hoarding empty jam jars and invested in a jam pan recently, when Aldi had one on special buy. Think our plum tree is getting nervous because I keep checking to see if anything has grown!

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    1. If you get it nervous enough it will be all of a quiver ..... and that will make the harvesting so much easier ;-)

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