With fruit continuing to ripen earlier than the last few years, this week is becoming my ‘Processing Damsons’ week.
My other half loves Victoria plums and is very happy picking huge quantities of them but he prefers to eat them as they are. So, last Sunday, we went to our local pick your own fruit farm and picked a few pounds to keep him happy. Some were ripe, but most needed an extra week.
We also found a few Damson trees with lots of ripe fruit, so picked about 30 pounds!
This week, I am making loads of Damson chutney, Damson cheese and various other Damson recipes to use these small delicious plums. These should be available to buy in the run up to Christmas as well as at the Chiddingstone Castle Country Fair on Sunday 9 September, along with other preserves that I have been making.
I’d better get back to my preserving pan!
September has been a busy month in the kitchen which has meant not enough time to write about what I have been making! I went fruit picking at the end of August, not sure whether the damsons would be ripe yet. They were – and I ended up picking quite a few. I love the dark purple skin with the dusky bloom – quite unlike other plums. They are quite tart raw, but when cooked with the other chutney ingredients, they produce a deep, concentrated flavour.
Since then, I have made three batches of Spiced Damson Chutney which is a firm family favourite – made with allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. The chutney goes well with cheese or cold meats and can also be used as a sauce for duck.
In September, I always go damson picking. Unfortunately, I don’t have a big garden but there are fruit farms nearby where you can pick as many as you want. I started making this damson chutney a couple of years ago and it is very popular. It is spicy and goes excellently with cold meats and cheeses. Try it with a Wensleydale cheese – delicious! I have supplied it to South Downs Cellars for inclusion in some of their Christmas hampers.
It contains damsons, apples, onions and raisins as well as the vinegar, sugar and spices. It keeps well in the fridge after opening.