Jam Session: Damson Plums

damson jam1

Damsons are a much-loved preserving variety of plum, and with good reason. They’re intensely beautiful with their indigo skins and pale bloom, and their astringency means that the jam they make is divine.

I was at Allsun Farm this week hosting our autumn Organic Market Garden Masterclass, and the damson tree by the back door was ready to drop. Time for a jam session, alongside the weekend’s action of growing new growers. 

Damsons on the tree at Allsun Farm

Damsons on the tree at Allsun Farm

The damson de-seeding machine

The damson de-seeding machine

Slow but steady de-seeding party. Good company and a glass of red helps...

Slow but steady de-seeding party. Good company and a glass of red helps…

only 7kg to go!

only 7kg to go!

Joyce's damson jam recipe of choice

Joyce’s damson jam recipe of choice

Joyce Wilkie stirring 40 liters of jam at midnight after teaching a class of future growers in the full sun for two days. What a woman.

Joyce Wilkie stirring 40 liters of jam, at midnight, after teaching a class of future growers in the full sun for two days. What a woman.

Keep stirring and don't look back.

Keep stirring and don’t look back.

Damson Jam! A year's supply and enough for everyone. And their friends.

Damson Jam! A year’s supply and enough for everyone. And their friends.

Missing from these photos is the excellent Olivier Sofo who not only catered for 30+ people for 3 days but also simultaneously presided over the taks of making damson jam (and a big batch of green tomato relish besides). With all ingredients coming off Allsun Farm.

Being a part of this extended family of growers, teachers, cook and makers is the best bit of this journey called Milkwood, for me.

Generations of knowledge and know-how and skills and dreams and new ideas, all flowing through kitchens and classrooms and farms and cities. All part of a vast and righteous network of people whose goals in life are all about cultivating abundance, skills, community and futures.

That’s what’s in this jar, aside from the plums and the sugar and the hours of stirring. It’s simplicity, happiness, and hope. And it’s made for sharing.

>> More posts about food + preserving

damson jam1

14 Comments

  1. Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    What cookbook is she using? I’m always on the lookout for gems! :)

  2. Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

  3. Riss
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    Aha! I see you had a rather funky “olive pipping machine” to get the stones out! Saves a lot of grief – we have a small hand-held olive pipper that we use (but it breaks after about 10kg). The “stones to the surface” method is second best, I think, although it does work.

  4. Posted March 13, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nothing like a late night preserving session to make you wonder if it’s all worth it! It’s only mid winter that you come around I reckon. People often say “oh you should value add your produce” I prefer to go to bed. The day is long enough as is. Olivier, Joyce and Kirsten machines all.

  5. Narelle
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Davidsonia jerseyana, which is classed as endangered is available at Sydney Wildflower Nursery Heathcote in tubestock. They even mailorder. I want one so I can make beautiful jam like that!

  6. Posted March 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Do you grow your own sugar at the farm? I just wonder because the quote above “…making damson jam (and a big batch of green tomato relish besides). With all ingredients coming off Allsun Farm.” It would be pretty cool to grow sugar cane!

  7. Posted March 14, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    I just found a damson tree growing in our local district as we were walking the dogs. The only fruit tree that the possums had backed away from and that was covered from top to bottom with those gorgeous blue blushed bloomy fruits and I got Steve to pinch some for me and they are fermenting in the shed as I type this comment ready to be grown and planted out on Serendipity Farm. I know a wise food forest choice when I see one! I have sloes to grow as well and will be using both for fruit and habitat on the peripheral zones of Serendipity Farm here in Northern Tas. Love the recipe and will gift it to future residents of Serendipity Farm along with the property when we leave (son and partner ;) ) along with the gift of something to eat every day of the year :)

  8. Carly Hanrahan
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Looks like awesome fun. It’s always better with friends and some red :)

  9. jillybnz
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Those plums are the most beautiful colour I have ever seen!

  10. David
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Have you tried to preserve these in your American Canner?

    My wife, Colleen, saw this and just said… YUMMO… We don’t see these here in Manchester, UK. We miss Aussie fruits. Been here 16.5 years now. See what happens over the next few years ;)

    • Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      what are ‘these’?

      • David
        Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Damson Plums are the “these” I was referring to. I wondered if you had brought some back to Milkwood to preserve in your new American Pressure Cooker? Is Mudgee still in the Hunter Valley? It lists it as being in the Hunter when we search for rural land for sale. Mudgee and Windeyer..? Off topic… Sorry.

    • Crazylandgirl
      Posted August 2, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink | Reply

      David – check out ‘Abundance’ Manchester! An army of volunteers on the forage for fruit in the autumn that’s just dropping and going to waste, particularly from people’s back gardens, allotments etc. They then preserve or give away. If you’re particularly keen on damsons they’ll help you find some! Also just as delicious and FREE are blackberries which are just coming into season. They make an amazing jam.

    • Maelduin
      Posted August 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You certainly do see these in the UK! Here’s a nice tree for you from the Thomson & Morgan catalogue:

      http://united-kingdomsc.co.uk/shops/gardenseeds/product/23/t14273/Damson-Plum-merryweather-1-Feathered-Maiden-By-Thomson-And-Morgan.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,191 other followers