On a recent visit to my boyfriend’s parents what was going to be a lovely relaxed weekend ended up as a full on fruit foraging event. Whilst enjoying a barbecue in the garden I wandered down to the bottom of the garden and found a tree absolutely bursting with damsons, a relation to plums. My first thought was to make damson vodka but a second discovery of sloe berries made me to decide to turn the damsons into a simple but delicious jam, but I’ll be back for the sloes – they will definitely end up as vodka!
To make the jam first make sure you have ready enough sterilised jam jars ready to be filled with the delicious jam. Secondly, wash and dry the fruit, removing any stems.
Place the fruit in a large pan with the water and place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once the fruit has softened and is a little mushy remove from the heat and pick out all the stones. Yes this step is tedious and takes a bit of time but you really don’t want those stones to be in the final jam and it’s really worth the effort.
Place the pan back over medium/high heat and add the sugar, stirring to combine. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 104⁰C/219⁰F, the temperature at which jam will set on cooling. Remove the jam from the heat and let sit for a minute or so, any foam that is on the surface of jam needs to be skimmed of with a spoon and discarded.
Pour the jam, whilst hot, into your prepared jars and seal immediately. The heat in the jam will form a vacuum so the jam will last a longer time. Once made the jam can be stored potentially for years but once opened needs to be refrigerated and used much faster as it will spoil like most foods. This jam would be the perfect topping to a delicious homemade scone.