With hindsight, I can see that purchasing 6qrts of Damsons at the farmer’s market was rash. Possibly even hasty. Definitely not thought out in a calculated fashion. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself; but really how was I to know?
I have, for some time, had a hankering to use Damsons. There is something so old fashioned about them, so Edwardian Country House that I couldn’t resist. There they were, a whole basket at them, glistening in the sunshine and they were, you know, looking at me. Their purple loveliness would tempt even the staunchest of souls; so I didn’t stand a chance.
So there I was Monday morning, Huwyl safely off to Kindergarten and Neirin down for a morning nap. Time, I thought to myself innocently enough, to make some jam. I turned to my trusty Reader’s Digest book Food From Your Garden. It is a mighty tome from the 70’s (the time all good things were born), purchased at a flea market many moons past and is something akin to the Bible in our house. Lo and behold a recipe for Damson jam. What could be simpler for a seasoned jam maker such as myself?
The recipe called for 6lb of Damson (which I had) to be cooked until soft. Then it instructed to remove the stones. Oh ho, I thought to myself once more, that sounds a bit complicated. But I have learned, over the years, that when it comes to homecraft it is often better to have a go and the solutions become obvious. So I duly cooked to fruit and waited for some miraculous moment of revalation. That never came. In fact I had to stand over the pan for over 40 minutes with a slotted spoon fishing out those little devils. They would swim temptingly to the surface only to skip away again as I approached. As I poked through a scoop of pulp I would hear the tell tale plop of another stone returning to the purple soup in the pan. Like white ghosts they would materialise then disappear again without a trace. I’m pretty sure that I got most of them, but I was not the same woman at the end of this battle as I was at the beginning. There were casualties.
But ultimately the Damsons went from this,
A rich jewel of a jam that is not quite Raspberry and not quite Plum. Shining proud and undiminished in the morning sunshine. And my fascination with the Damson? Her elusiveness only draws me into her web all the more. I may have tamed Mistress Damson but I have not beaten her.