I have no idea how long my Damsons have been steeping in the bottle of Gin that I poured over them but I know it has to be well over eight months .... and boy oh boy can you taste it.
It is gorgeous!!
On pouring through a sieve and then through some muslin it filled four of my bottles right to the top with just enough left over to give me a nice little chefs perk :-)
Wash and prick your Damsons (a fiddly job which you don't have to do if you freeze the Damsons for a while first and then thaw them to use for the recipe).
Put the fruit in a large container and add the sugar and gin. Cover with a lid and shake once a day for at least two weeks or until all the sugar has dissolved. Taste after 4 - 6 weeks and add some more sugar if required. Leave for as long as possible. The longer you leave it the stronger it gets.
You can use any kind of sugar and any kind of Gin, I always use the supermarkets cheapest basic or own brand label. This is also delicious using Brandy or Vodka .... I know .... hic ;-)
Then in my usual 'waste not, want not' fashion I tipped all the Damsons into a pan covered with a couple of pints of water and brought it to the boil. I simmered it for about half an hour and then after a fruitless search for my Jelly Bag Stand rigged up this. Pouring the water and fruit through the bag and leaving it all to drain overnight.
Measuring out the liquid I had one pint of luscious Damson juice so I added one pound of my preserving sugar to the liquid I simmered it slowly until all the sugar had dissolved and then brought it all to the boil.
For each pint of liquid add one pound of sugar, or in metric for each 500mls of liquid add 500grams of sugar.
It was kept at a rolling boil for about 10 minutes and then tested on a cold plate for a set.
I did try using my Jam Thermometer .,... but it would seem the mercury has left home!! Another breakage during the move I think. :-(
Then I bottled it all into hot sterilised jars, and left it to cool. It didn't set!! So the next morning I tipped it all back into a pan realising that I had forgotten to add the lemon juice, rectified this by adding two tablespoons from a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge and then boiled it all again for another ten or so minutes and then re potted it.
This time it has a better set although to my mind not quite firm enough. But a jelly is usually a bit softer than a jam so it's not too bad.
We had it on toast for breakfast yesterday and it was declared a complete success flavour wise for Lovely Hubby.
Could be the gin disturbing the set. Another time, try adding one cooking apple (or its juice) that might help. Do give vodka a go as well, v. nice!ReplyDelete
No, I think it was because this year I made Jelly rather than Jam. The jam obviously contains more of the fruit pulp and skins and the odd stone (which is why LH asked for Jelly this year). Adding more lemon and as you say perhaps an apple, would have helped. Yep, I've tried other alcohols too, Gin is the nicest though up to now.Delete
I use Aldi ginReplyDelete
And I take the remaining pulp after everything else has been ginned and jellied, remove the stones [pop on a pair of plastic gloves and squish them out with fingers] and stir in a small amount of icing sugar. This tastes divine spooned over some good vanilla ice cream [or basics soft scoop if budget is tight]
I love your Heath Robinson Jelly Strainer!! xx
I would have normally done that Angela but I was lazy and threw the pulp and stones to the chickens instead...... they loved it :-)Delete
At least nothing was wasted.
This reminds me that I have plum vodka and plum gin that has been steeping for, oh, about three years now I think. I started it and then was in a bad depression so just left it and still haven't gotten around to doing anything with it. With a a vague "sure the alcohol will be keeping it sterile" thought in the back of my head. Really must sort that out. Great idea about using the leftover pulp to make jam/jelly, must remember that. No worries about too runny jam - if it's really not suitable for using on toast, I make this jam tart from smittenkichen (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/easy-jam-tart/). Great way to use up a jar of jam if you don't have other people around to help you finish it.ReplyDelete
Gosh that will have turned into a liqueur by now ..... get bottling :-)Delete
I just have one glass of sloe gin left in a bottle and then that is all of last season's fruit liqueurs finished until this years session. I'm going to try some apricot brandy this year as well as the usual suspects :)ReplyDelete
Watch out for some reduced priced fruits in the supermarket too, then you could have some on the go even sooner.Delete
Ooo must try that with my strawberry/raspberry vodkas next time.ReplyDelete
In the past I just blitzed the fruit and froze it, making an adult sorbet *hic*
Now I might try that, it sounds lovely.Delete
Just wondering how you serve the gin (with soda?) And, have you tried other fruits, such as peach or nectarine? Thanks, Sandy.ReplyDelete
We drink it sipped neat ... for a blow your socks off warming tipple or with icy cold diet lemonade and a slice of lemon, either way it's gorgeous.Delete
And I also use alcohol to bottle fruit see here -
Most fruits and most alcohols work well together.
I make sloe gin, raspberry vodka, blackberry gin etc etc, it is very strong, we drink it in shot glasses 1 or maybe 2 are enough,xReplyDelete
I didn't know if it didn't set you could bang it back in and give it another go. I love the bodge it and scarper ways round things so thanks for sharing I'm sure I will find this one of the most useful tips I get this year xReplyDelete
Oh yes ... over and over if necessary. You do find that because of evaporation though you get less and less each time ... although the taste intensifies nicely :-)Delete
omg, tipsy jam..lolReplyDelete
Oh yummy, sounds delicious.ReplyDelete
I couldn't wait that long to open the buggersReplyDelete
Ah.... once it's bottled it doesn't last long.Delete
The containers of steeping Damsons simply got forgotten about at the back of the cupboard after our move ..... it was worth it though it's the most liqueur like Damson Gin we have ever had :-)
What a great idea to make jelly as well.ReplyDelete
I always make Sloe Gin too and try and have plenty of sloes put in the freezer from the good years (this should be one) to make up for the bad ones. It is lovely at Christmas, though Raspberry Ratafia takes some beating . . .ReplyDelete