Damsons, those almost forgotten powdery blue fruits can be used in all sorts of ways. The name damson comes from the latin prunum damascenum, "plum of Damascus", where they were first grown. The Romans brought them to England and then the English took them to America. The trees burst with small white blossom in Spring and deliver their bounty mid to late Summer. The flesh is golden enveloped in a dusky indigo skin, that looks almost dusty. They are a little tart straight off the tree but that makes for wonderful jellies, jams, fruit pastes; and even wine or gin! So they are a very versatile little fruit and certainly shouldn't be over looked.
So what to make? This time round a little fruit paste, just like damsons it's versatile, whether with blue cheese and a glass of red, on the side with some ham off the bone, alongside some bangers and mash, or a glaze for duck or perhaps even venison. Even on the sweeter side of things swirled through some vanilla ice cream....
Damson Fruit Paste
Makes 1kg (2.2lb)
2kg (4.5lb) damsons
10cm (4inch) fresh ginger
Good pinch chilli flakes
1.2kg (2.6lb) white granulated sugar
Place the damsons and 1 litre (1.75 pints) water in a large preserving or heavy based saucepan. Roughly chop the ginger and with a pestle and mortar give it a good bashing. Add the ginger to the pot along with a good pinch of chilli flakes. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.
Pop a couple of side plates in to the fridge. Increase the heat to medium and allow the puree to cook for 30 minutes or until the puree is reduced and thick. Towards the end of cooking keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn. Once it looks good and thick test if the paste has reached setting point and is cooked. Just scoop out a teaspoonful and place it on a cold plate and let it cool for a moment. If it is ready it will stay in its little mound rather than spreading all over the plate.
When ready pour in to hot sterilized jars*, seal and label.
*Preheat your oven to 150C/300F and place the jars in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn off the oven and leave the jars to keep warm until you are ready to bottle the fruit paste.
Fruity, tart, a little sweet but not too sweet and that wonderful magenta hue. With a salty, creamy kikorangi a match made in heaven.
If you like this you might like this A Lovely Lunch Jellies and Jams.
One Year Ago Sriracha Chicken and Green Rice