15 Sep 2016

Picking Damsons | Foraging

Whilst on a track we have walked umpteen times, I was shocked to discover that about six or so trees that lined the path were chock full of damson plums.  I realised I'd never been here at this time of year, so was very pleased to have coincidentally timed our hike so that the damsons were ripe and ready for picking.

The following day Kyle, Doug and I returned, equipped with bags to pick the bountiful crop.
Damsons unlike sloes, are quite nice eaten raw, although definitely on the tart side.  However they're best used in preserves like jams, chutneys, jellies and of course, soaked in copious amounts of gin and sugar.

Again, unlike sloes, damsons are far easier and decidedly quicker to pick due to the trees not trying to impale you every time you get near.
The next day we set to work removing the stalks, cleaning and pricking the damsons to be turned into a delicious damson liqueur.  The recipe we followed was this, although we definitely gestimated some of the weights as we were using larger preserving jars (we got a bit confused changing the quantities...it was late and we were tired, ahem).

We discovered that we had somehow managed to pick 8kg of fruit, which would equate to rather a lot of gin (and considering we are still get to make this year's batch of sloe gin...), so I chose to freeze the remaining lot to make into preserves at a later date.

The benefit of freezing damsons is that the cold temperature helps break down the skins, meaning you don't have to painstakingly prick every fruit (probably worth doing if you're making a lot of gin) and also they continue to ripen after picking, so you will get rather a few mouldy ones the longer you leave them, even in the fridge.

I'm so excited to try the gin in a few months time; hopefully it'll be ready for Christmas, as some bottles will make for lovely gifts and it always gives me great joy to be able to give homemade presents.  As we've got older, as a family we tend to give less, but what we do give is more thoughtful.  They're always greatly received because of the time and effort put into them, which is why I was so happy to stumble upon these wonderful wild fruits.

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5 comments

  1. This is so cool! I've never heart of damsons - probably because they arent tropical fruits? But they sure look like blueberries. Love how you can just go out and pick fruits, wish i had that where I live, but alas, the city life does not allow for that heh.

    xx
    Blog-Running White Horses || YouTube

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    1. They're very similar to normal plums, just sourer! It is a blessing, I was never able to before moving here. It is so satisfying x

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  2. Great photography as always! So yummy looking fruits, I guess damson plum jam tastes delicious!

    Kate x | http://katealifestyle.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you. It is rather scrummy. Looking forward to making a big batch x

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  3. Beautiful photos! We have a damson tree in our garden (which appeared one year as if by magic) and when it fruits each year I'm always so excited! The fruit is so versatile, and I do love the preserves and coulis we make with it. I love the idea of freezing the fruit - what a great way of getting the full use out of the crop! x

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

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