Delia Smith Damson Jam Recipe

Delia Smith Damson Jam
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 15 Mins

Delia Smith Damson Jam is a delicious homemade jam, made with fresh damsons, sugar, and lemon juice. It has a rich, deep purple color and a sweet-tart flavor that goes well with toast, scones, cheese, or yogurt. Damson Jam is one of her classic recipes, featured in her book. Delia’s Complete Cookery Course

This recipe makes about 6 jars of jam and can be done in about 2 hours.

In this article, I will show you how to make Delia Smith’s Damson Jam step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.

What is Delia Smith Damson Jam Recipe?

Delia Smith’s Damson Jam Recipe is a homemade preserve made from ripe damsons, sugar, and lemon juice, celebrated for its sweet-tart flavor and deep purple hue. It is a simple, yet delightful way to enjoy the essence of damsons in a versatile jam.

Delia Smith Damson Jam

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe, such as:

  • Simplicity: With only three ingredients, the process is accessible to everyone.
  • Seasonal Enjoyment: It’s a perfect way to utilize the bounty of late summer and autumn.
  • Versatility: This jam can enhance a variety of dishes, from baked goods to savory pairings.
  • Gift Potential: Homemade jam makes for a thoughtful and personal gift.
  • Rewarding: Making your own jam is a fulfilling kitchen adventure, offering homemade goodness that store-bought versions can’t match.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Damson Jam

To make this jam, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1.8 kg (4 lb) damsons
  • 1.8 kg (4 lb) granulated sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Useful Equipment

You will also need some equipment, such as:

  • A large, heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A large plate
  • A small plate
  • A saucer
  • A sharp knife
  • A potato masher
  • A ladle
  • A funnel
  • 6 sterilized jam jars and lids

Instructions to Make Delia Smith Damson Jam Recipe

Here are the step-by-step instructions to make this jam:

Step 1: Wash and dry the damsons

Wash the damsons under cold running water and drain them well. Pat them dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper.

Step 2: Remove the stones from the damsons

Using a sharp knife, cut the damsons in half and remove the stones. Discard the stones or save them for another use, such as making damson gin or vinegar.

Step 3: Place the damsons and lemon juice in a large saucepan

Transfer the damsons to a large, heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan. Add the lemon juice and stir well. The lemon juice will help to extract the pectin from the damsons and also prevent them from browning.

Step 4: Cook the damsons over low heat until soft

Place the saucepan over low heat and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the damsons are soft and pulpy. You can use a potato masher to help break down the damsons.

Step 5: Add the sugar and stir until dissolved

Add the sugar to the saucepan and stir well until dissolved. Make sure there are no lumps of sugar left in the mixture.

Step 6: Increase the heat and boil the jam until the setting point is reached

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the jam reaches the setting point. You can test the setting point by placing a small plate in the freezer for 10 minutes and then dropping a teaspoon of jam onto the plate. Leave it for a minute, then push it with your finger. If the jam wrinkles and doesn’t flow back, it’s ready. If not, boil for a few more minutes and test again.

Step 7: Skim off any scum and ladle the jam into sterilized jars

Once the jam is ready, remove it from the heat and skim off any scum that has formed on the surface. Ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 inch) headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth and seal them with the lids. Turn the jars upside down for 5 minutes, then turn them right side up and let them cool completely.

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Damson Jam?

Delia Smith’s Damson Jam offers a symphony of flavors that can enhance a myriad of dishes. Its rich, sweet-tart profile makes it a versatile addition to any meal, from a simple morning breakfast to an elegant dessert course.

Here’s how you can incorporate this delightful jam into your culinary repertoire:

  • Breakfast Delights: Transform your morning routine with a generous spread of Damson Jam on warm toast, buttery crumpets, freshly-baked muffins, or fluffy scones. Its vibrant flavor will awaken your senses and start your day on a sweet note.
  • Dessert Fillings: Elevate your desserts by using the jam as a luscious filling for cakes, cupcakes, and doughnuts. Its deep, fruity essence adds a layer of sophistication to sweet treats.
  • Creamy Mix-Ins: Swirl the jam into yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream for an instant upgrade to your desserts. The jam’s texture and flavor will add a new dimension to these creamy delights.
  • Savory Pairings: For a tantalizing contrast, pair the jam with an assortment of cheeses, crisp crackers, or rustic bread. The sweet and savory combination is sure to please the palate.
  • Brunch Specials: Make your brunch gatherings unforgettable by topping pancakes, waffles, or crepes with a spoonful of Damson Jam. Its rich flavor makes for a decadent addition to your brunch table.

Expert Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Damson Jam

Achieving the perfect batch of Damson Jam is within reach with these expert tips. Paying attention to the details can make all the difference in creating a jam that’s just right in flavor, texture, and consistency:

  • Selecting Damsons: Opt for ripe, firm damsons that are free from blemishes to ensure the best taste and texture. Freshness is key to capturing the essence of the fruit.
  • Preparation: Thoroughly wash the damsons to remove any debris. When removing the stones, proceed with caution to avoid any mishaps, as they can be sharp.
  • Cooking Vessel: Use a large, heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan. This will distribute heat evenly, preventing the jam from sticking and burning.
  • Stirring: Regular stirring, especially after adding sugar, is crucial to prevent the sugar from crystallizing and the jam from scorching.
  • Cooking Time: Monitor the cooking process closely. Overcooking can result in a jam that’s too thick, making it difficult to spread.
  • Sterilization: Properly sterilize jars and lids to prevent contamination. This step is vital for preserving the jam’s quality and extending its shelf life.
  • Filling Jars: Fill the jars while the jam is hot to create a vacuum seal, which helps keep the jam fresh.

Variations of Delia Smith Damson Jam

Damson Jam is wonderfully adaptable, allowing for creative twists that can cater to any taste preference.

Experimenting with additional ingredients can introduce new flavors and textures to the jam:

  • Spiced Jam: Infuse the jam with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or ginger for a cozy, aromatic touch that’s perfect for colder months.
  • Floral Notes: Incorporate vanilla extract, almond extract, or rose water to imbue the jam with delicate floral notes, adding a layer of complexity.
  • Textural Contrast: Add chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios) for a satisfying crunch, or mix in dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots) for a chewy element.
  • Boozy Flavors: For an adult twist, stir in a splash of liquor (brandy, rum, whisky) after the cooking process. This will introduce a festive, boozy kick to the jam.

How do I Store Delia Smith Damson Jam Leftovers?

If you have any leftover jam, you can store it in the following ways:

  • In the pantry: You can store the unopened jars of jam in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to a year. Make sure the lids are tightly sealed and the jars are not damaged or leaking.
  • In the fridge: You can store the opened jars of jam in the fridge for up to a month. Make sure the lids are tightly sealed and the jam is not contaminated by any other food.
  • In the freezer: You can store the jam in the freezer for up to 6 months. Transfer the jam to freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion. Label the containers with the name and date of the jam, and thaw them in the fridge before using.

How do I Reheat Delia Smith Damson Jam Leftovers?

If you want to reheat the jam, you can do it in the following ways:

  • In the microwave: You can reheat the jam in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes warm and runny. Stir the jam well and be careful not to overheat it, as it may splatter or burn.
  • In the stove: You can reheat the jam in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it becomes warm and runny. Be careful not to boil the jam, as it may lose its flavor or texture.
  • In the oven: You can reheat the jam in the oven, along with the baked goods that you want to serve it with, such as bread, and scones.

Nutrition value (per 100 g of jam):

  • Calories: 246 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 61 g
  • Sugars: 60 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Sodium: 3 mg


Can I use frozen damsons to make this jam?

Yes, you can use frozen damsons to make this jam. There’s no need to thaw them before use; you can cook them directly from frozen. However, the cooking time may need to be slightly adjusted as the damsons release more liquid when they defrost during cooking. Keep an eye on the consistency and adjust the simmering time accordingly to ensure the jam reaches the desired set.

How can I tell if the jam has reached the setting point?

To determine if the jam has reached its setting point, you can use the “wrinkle test.” Place a small plate in the freezer before you start making the jam. Once you think the jam might be ready, spoon a small amount onto the cold plate and return it to the freezer for a minute. Push the jam with your finger; if it wrinkles and doesn’t flow back, the jam is set. If not, continue boiling for a few more minutes and repeat the test.

How long can I store Delia Smith Damson Jam?

When properly canned and sealed, Delia Smith Damson Jam can be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to one year. Ensure the jars are sterilized and filled while the jam is hot to achieve a good seal. Once a jar is opened, it should be refrigerated and used within a month for the best quality and taste.

What should I do if my jam is too runny or too thick after cooling?

  • If the jam is too runny: It may not have reached the proper setting point. You can remedy this by returning the jam to the pan and boiling it again for a few more minutes, testing the setting point as described above. This often happens if the pectin level in the fruit is lower than needed or the jam doesn’t reach a high enough temperature.
  • If the jam is too thick: This usually occurs from overcooking the jam beyond the setting point. To fix an overly thick jam, you can gently reheat it with a little bit of water or lemon juice, stirring well to achieve a more spreadable consistency. Be careful to add liquid sparingly, as you don’t want to dilute the flavor too much.

Final Words

Delia Smith Damson Jam is a wonderful way to preserve the flavor and aroma of fresh damsons. It’s easy to make, versatile to use, and delicious to eat. You can enjoy it all year round, or give it as a gift to your friends and family.

I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and happy jamming!

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