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Damson Jam

Asked by suzywoo. Answered on 30th August 2011

Full question

I have alot of damson pulp left from making damson wine. I have had a go at turning it into jam, but am not sure how much sugar and water to use. The batch I tried has not really set and has lost a lot of flavour, or it may be just too sweet. Any help would be great. Many thanks

Our answer

Unfortunately the wine making process will have stripped your damsons of their pectin (one of the substances needed to make the jam set) and also of most of their flavour. When the damsons are simmered in water and then strained for wine, the flavour of the damsons and their pectin will strain out with the liquid. You could get the damson pulp to set if you used jam sugar (sugar with added prctin) but it hardly seems worth it if the flavour has diminished.

You could use the pulp to make a crumble but we would suggest that you boost the flavour by adding some plums or blackberries. Also please make sure that the pulp has not fermented before using it.

Damson jam is delicious and generally you can use equal quantities of damsons and sugar - damsons are high in pectin so you can use normal sugar for the jam if fresh damsons are used. However damson skins are very tough so you need to simmer the damsons for 20-30 minutes to soften the skins before you add the sugar and boil the jam. You may need to add a little water to the damsons to help them simmer. After the damsons have simmered you can scoop out the stones (pits) before adding the sugar as it is quite fiddly trying to remove the stones from raw damsons. Weigh the pulp after the stones have been removed and use this as a guide to the quantity of sugar needed.

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