Monday, August 29, 2005
Oh, Jen, is that the best you can do after four days off? Yet another Big Picture of Fruit? Fear not, dear friends, for I have much more than this. I have words, and plenty of 'em, thanks to the weekend I spent in the company of three truly superlative women. I am trying to get them all down on paper, so to speak, but in the event that my forehead falls onto the keyboard before the words finish making themselves known, we can at least celebrate the fact that it's the season for my favorite little sour purple rose-scented fruit, the source of my favorite little tart purple rose-scented jam. Behold, the damsons have arrived.
Hi, Alisa! Thanks for stopping by. There will eventually be a recipe for damson jam, as soon as I get my act together.
In the photo above, the damsons do look like Italian prune plums. They differ, though, in three ways: 1. Damsons are very small, about half the size of Italian prune plums. 2. Damsons are a clingstone fruit, while most prune plums are freestone. 3. Damsons are so sour as to be inedible when raw. Like quinces, damsons need to be cooked and sweetened, and they give off the most beautiful perfume as they cook.
Your dad is right about underripe damsons making better jam. They contain more pectin than overripe ones. With some “regular” plum jam recipes, the cook is advised to use a mix of ripe and underripe fruit, underripe for pectin, ripe for flavor. I don’t sweat it too much. I just buy whatever is available. (I get my damsons from a stand at my local farmer’s market.)
Here’s hoping you find a source soon!
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