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.