This Damson Jam Recipe is easy to make as damsons have loads of pectin and enough acid for a good set.
Ingredients for Damson Jam:
- 4 lbs (1.8 kg) damsons
- ¼ pint (145 ml) water
- 4 lbs (1.8 kg) sugar
Method for Damson Jam:
- Wash and wipe the damsons. Pick over to remove stalks.
- Put into a pan with the water and simmer gently until the fruit is soft, occasionally pressing the damsons against the sides of the pan to break open and release the stones.
- Remove the stones.
- Test for pectin.
- Add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the jam sets when tested.
- Remove the remainder of the stones as they rise to the surface.
- Remove the scum.
- Pot and seal while still hot.
Makes around 6lbs (2.7 kgs) of jam.
General Information on Jam Making
How to Make Jam, Jellies & Marmalade
These articles cover the basic methods and rules for making jams, jellies and marmalades. Once you have mastered these, it is far easier to adapt and alter recipes for your own tastes. The first people to record some of their methods were the Romans...
If the plums are very small grape sized they are mirabelles or cherry plums. I find them a bit sweet for jam. You could stew and freeze them. On stone fruit in a microwave the problem is they will explode if you don’t destone them first. You could try pricking them with a fork but I think its easier to stew them gently in a saucepan. On pectin just use apple cores and peelings you could stew and put in the fridge but no real need. Boil with the jam in a muslin bag (or clean piece of cloth). Less flavour adding than citrus pips.
Just made my first batch of damson jam. Looks and tastes lovely but has retained some astringency from the fruit. Posit I didn’t use sloes. Is this normal and is it ok to eat?
@Peter: They are probably wild plums, usually yellow but sometimes some fruit turns red as it ripens, I make jam with these each year, not as sweet as the larger plums but very nice. Usually have a small round stone.
@Christine Cook: Hi like to hear of good jam making. I add pectin in my jam does not take too long to simmer. Damsons make beautiful jam but I could not get any this year from locals, a bad year apparently. Do you know where I can get some fresh or frozen for our jam pots thanks.
@Ray: Hi Ray I think the wild plums are bullace wish I could get some myself makes loveley jam
@angie: Just wash them and put them in bags in the freezer, they will be ok for months.
@Iain: yes and damson gin I could not get any this year at all look on the web site there are many recipes to choose from do it now in time for Christmas day drinks cheers.
@Jean Pleming: Ive never made bullace jam but if I had any bullace I would make bullace gin. Could you tell me where I could get some from please
Just made 8lb of damson jam using the above recipe. No need for added pectin, it set very easily. “Remove the Stones” was more tedious than I imagined so after I removed the majority of the stones I proceeded to add the sugar and cook the jam, the rest of the stones conveniently floated to the top and it was easy to scoop them out. I added 6 slightly bruised cardamom pods during to cooking to give the jam a “something extra” taste, a tip from another recipe. I haven’t tasted it yet so watch this space!!
I love recipes from the allotment-garden site and use many of them. I found a large bag of damsons on my doorstep yesterday so looked here for a recipe as they are more down to earth than cookery books. Just made my jam and about to pot and seal it. The colour is lovely and I added slightly less sugar so the flavour of the fruit is not hidden in sweetness. I agree about the stones and did exactly the same as Graham! Another year I’ll remove them after I add the sugar as I found some I’d missed when they popped to the top. Nothing better than simple – but the cardamom sounds interesting and might get a trial if the anonymous donor of the damsons has more surplus.
Brought some fabulous damsons from Batemans yesterday and chose this recipe – excellent result especially as I have not made same for years. Good set without jam making sugar.
Very lucky to have a client with very old damson trees on her farm and last year made damson gin and jam from this site….Both absolutely gorgeous. Intend making double the amount of both this year
Thanks for the cardamom tip Graham, I love their flavour so I’ll try that. This will be my first try at damson jam since my mum’s (donkey’s years ago)
For several years I have used a 1/4 inch sieve to catch all the damson stones. Boil up the plums until the stones are free, then pass the pulp through the sieve. No problem anymore with fishing out floaters or spending hours coring the raw plums. You can get such sieves from garden centres, or online.
I like to add blackberries to the damsons for a delicious jam.
Made this jam last evening put same weight of sugar as damsons tastes lovely but not as ”set” as I thought it would be (although the one I put in the fridge has set) is this normal and will the jam keep? I am a novice at jam making so any hints would be most welcome. Thanks
If you can’t get damsons, try using Sloes, the bushes are weighed down with sloes. I managed to pick 11 lbs last Sunday locally in Staffordshire. I picked them for making sloe Gin, I had 5 lbs left over and have made jam with the remainder, using the recipe from above. We have used Sloes for jam in the past and they make very nice jam. The sloes are now going soft on the bushes, so you have to be selective when picking them.
Fantastic recipe. New to allotment and brand new to jam making. Set well and tasted even better. Thank you
Had a glut of damsons this year from our tree. The chutney worked out fab but the jam and jelly refuses to set! We used jam sugar, added Certo, still a very soft loose set. Any ideas please? Otherwise we will have to have lots of drizzling on cakes and ice-cream!
Ok, so I’m answering my own comment here! We stone the fruit first and put the stones in a cotton bag into the pan and then cook the fruit with the sugar taking bag out for rolling boil. Saves sorting stones later. Discovered why it didn’t set – forgot to put bagged stones in cooking time! Numpty!
What is the difference between sloes and Damsons?
Damsons are small oval plums usually about 1.5 inches long. Sloes are fruit of blackthorn tree I think so tree has thorns. They have a bluish smokey hue and are smaller than damsens, round and about the size of a big thumbnail. They’re usually harder and much more sour than damsens or plums.
I was given 5lb of frozen Damsons so thawed and found they are soft so helped break down easy when I used a potato masher. I scoop as many stones as I can out but don’t stress if stones left but add a label that there will be stones in the jam.
Use a cherry stoner, had this for years, just the job