We have a couple of damson trees in our garden. Last year a late frost damaged the blossom and there was not a damson to be seen. This year the trees have been loaded. We have frozen some ready for making stewed damsons this winter, I have made damson jam and damson vodka and pickled damsons. I was introduced to the idea of pickled damsons by my husband and I must admit that I was appalled at the very thought until I tried them! Now I am a convert, they are absolutely delicious with cold ham, sweet with a sour tang. If you haven’t tried them they are very easy to make and really worth it. Once tried you will be making them again and again. This is a recipe from my mother-in-law from an old pamphlet collecting local people’s favourite recipes.
Sterilise 3 x 1 lb jars by washing them thoroughly, swilling with hot water and then placing in a low oven (100°c) for 20 mins
2 lbs (900g) damsons
½ pint (275ml) malt vinegar
2 lbs (900g) dark brown sugar
1 oz (25g) ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
2 tsp ground cloves or 6 whole cloves
Prick the damsons with a fork or several times with a skewer and put into a large jar or bowl. Tie the spices into a muslin bag and place in a large saucepan with the sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil. Pour this mixture over the damsons and leave for 24 hours. Turn all into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 mins. Carefully spoon into the hot sterilised jars and cover when cold. These are best stored for 6 weeks before tucking in and they last for ages and ages. I have had jars for a year or more and still tasting delicious.