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Sterilise the jars and any other equipment before you start. Put a couple of small plates in the freezer, as you’ll need these later for testing whether the jam is ready (or use a sugar thermometer).
Put the damsons into a jam pan or a large, wide, heavy-based pan. Leave the stones in (see tip below). Add 300ml of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the fruit is soft.
Tip in the sugar and stir over a very low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat, bring to a rolling boil, then rapidly boil for 15-25 minutes or until the jam reaches 105C (setting point) – avoiding stirring until it has. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the jam by spooning a little onto a cold saucer. Wait a few seconds, then push the jam with your fingertip. If it wrinkles, the jam is ready. If not, cook for a few minutes more and test again with another cold saucer.
Remove from the heat, skim off any scum, then stir the butter into the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for 15 minutes so the fruit can settle – if you decant the jam too soon, all the fruit will sink to the bottom. Pour into sterilised jars, label and seal.
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