Damsons are a small, oval variety of plum with deep purple skins and tart, juicy flesh. Their high natural pectin content makes them perfect for turning into jams and preserves. Homemade damson jam is delicious spread on scones, toast, or crumpets. It also makes a wonderful filling for cakes and pies. If you want to try your hand at making this sweet-tart preserve, follow Mary Berry’s simple damson jam recipe.
Mary Berry is a beloved British cooking authority famous for her classic recipes and no-fuss approach. She has published more than 75 cookbooks over the course of her career, including the bestselling Baking Bible in 2009. Berry also spent six years as a judge on the hugely popular TV baking competition The Great British Bake Off. Her damson jam recipe yields about 4 jars of jam using just a few ingredients: 900g damsons, 900g golden granulated sugar, and a knob of butter. The jam takes about an hour and a half to prep and cook. Berry’s instructions ensure it is set up properly for storage.
What is Mary Berry Damson Jam?
Mary Berry Damson Jam is a homemade jam made from damsons, a type of plum that has deep purple skin and sour flesh. Damsons are perfect for making jam, as they have a high pectin content and a rich flavour. Mary Berry Damson Jam is based on the recipe of Mary Berry, a famous British food writer, chef, baker, and television presenter. She is known for her simple and delicious recipes that anyone can follow.
Why You Love this Recipe
There’s so much to cherish about this delectable jam. Here’s why:
- Simplicity: With only three essential ingredients – damsons, sugar, and butter, and some easily accessible equipment, you’re set to go.
- Swift Creation: In just about 90 minutes, including prep and cooking time, you’ll have a delightful spread ready.
- Versatility: Whether you’re spreading it over toast, scones, and crumpets or using it as a scrumptious filling for cakes and pies, this jam is perfect.
- Quantity: This recipe yields approximately four jars, ensuring you have a treat to relish all year round.
Ingredients Needed For Mary Berry Damson Jam
The ingredients of Mary Berry’s damson jam recipe are:
- 900g damsons, a small, oval variety of plum with deep purple skins and tart, juicy flesh.
- 900g golden granulated sugar, a type of sugar that has a golden colour and a slightly caramelised flavour.
- A knob of butter, a small amount of butter, about the size of a walnut, is used to add richness and prevent foaming.
Here is a list of the equipment needed for the Damson jam recipe:
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Slotted spoon or sieve
- Sugar thermometer
- Sterilised jars
- Sterilised lids
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Damson Jam
Here are the steps to make Mary Berry’s damson jam recipe:
Step 1: Wash and dry the damsons
The first step is to wash and dry the damsons thoroughly. You can use fresh or frozen damsons for this recipe. If you are using frozen damsons, let them thaw partially before proceeding to the next step. Remove any stalks or leaves from the damsons and discard them.
Step 2: Cook the damsons with water
The next step is to cook the damsons with water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. You will need to add 150ml of water to the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer the damsons for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft and mushy. You can use a wooden spoon to press the damsons against the sides of the pan to help them release their juices and stones.
Step 3: Remove the stones from the damsons
The third step is to remove the stones from the damsons. This can be a bit tedious, but it is necessary to avoid any unpleasant crunches in your jam. You can use a slotted spoon to scoop out the stones from the pan and discard them. Alternatively, you can strain the mixture through a sieve or a colander and collect the pulp in a bowl.
Step 4: Add the sugar to the damson pulp
The fourth step is to add the sugar to the damson pulp and stir until dissolved. You will need to measure 900g of golden granulated sugar and add it to the saucepan with the damson pulp. Return the pan to low heat and stir constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved. This may take up to 10 minutes, depending on how much liquid there is in the pan. Do not let the mixture boil at this stage, as this may cause crystallisation.
Step 5: Boil the jam until it reaches the setting point
The fifth step is to boil the jam until it reaches the setting point. This is when the jam is thick enough to form a gel when cooled. You will need to increase the heat and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Then boil it rapidly for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches 105°C on a thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a cold saucer test instead. To do this, place a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes, then drop a teaspoon of jam onto it. Wait for a few seconds, then push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles, it means that it has reached the setting point. If not, continue boiling for another few minutes and repeat the test.
Step 6: Skim off any scum and stir in some butter
The sixth step is to skim off any scum that may have formed on top of the jam during boiling. Scum is the white foam that sometimes appears on jams and preserves due to impurities in the fruit or sugar. It is harmless, but it can affect the appearance and texture of your jam. You can use a metal spoon to skim off the scum and discard it. Alternatively, you can stir a knob of butter into the jam, which will help to dissolve any remaining scum.
Step 7: Let the jam cool slightly and fill the jars
The final step is to let the jam cool slightly and fill the jars. You will need to have some sterilised jars and lids ready for this step. You can sterilise them by washing them in hot, soapy water, rinsing them well, and placing them on a baking tray in a low oven for 10 minutes. You can also use rubber seals if you want, but make sure to soak them in boiling water before using them. To fill the jars, use a ladle and a funnel to pour the hot jam into the jars, leaving a 2cm gap at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth and seal them with the lids. Label the jars with the name and date of the jam and store them in a cool, dark place.
Enjoy your homemade damson jam
You have now made your own damson jam using Mary Berry’s recipe. You can enjoy your jam as soon as it has cooled down, or keep it for up to a year in a cool, dark place. You can also refrigerate it after opening and use it within a month. Damson jam is delicious on toast, scones, or crumpets, or as a filling for cakes and pies. You can also give it as a gift to your friends and family who love homemade preserves.
What Do I Serve and Enjoy Mary Berry Damson Jam?
You can serve and enjoy Mary Berry Damson Jam in many ways.
Here are some suggestions:
- Spread it on toast, scones, or crumpets for a simple and satisfying breakfast or snack.
- Use it as a filling for cakes and pies, such as Victoria sponge cake, Bakewell tart, or damson pie.
- Swirl it into yoghurt, ice cream, or custard for a creamy and fruity dessert.
- Pair it with cheese and crackers for a savoury and sweet treat.
- Make jam tarts or thumbprint cookies with them for a fun and easy baking project.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Damson Jam
To craft the most delightful Mary Berry Damson Jam, consider these expert tips:
- Damson Quality: Opt for ripe, firm damsons free of blemishes or bruises. While both fresh and frozen damsons work, if you’re using the latter, allow them to semi-thaw before starting.
- Sugar Selection: Golden granulated sugar, with its caramel undertones, not only enriches the jam’s flavour but also lends a beautiful amber hue. It’s a preferable choice over white granulated sugar.
- Spacious Cooking: A large saucepan ensures the jam doesn’t boil over or scorch.
- Sugar Dissolution: Completely dissolve the sugar before bringing the mix to boil. This ensures no crystallization, guaranteeing a smoother jam.
- Setting Point Test: Whether you’re using a thermometer or the cold saucer test, ensure the jam reaches its setting point, around 105°C. This is vital for the perfect jam consistency.
- Scum Management: To maintain an appealing texture and look, either skim off the jam’s scum with a metal spoon or integrate a small amount of butter to dissolve any remnants.
- Cooling Time: Allow the jam to cool a bit before transferring to jars. This prevents air bubbles and aids further thickening.
- Sterilization is Key: Ensuring your jars and lids are sterilized prevents spoilage and helps your jam preserve its quality. Consider using rubber seals, but remember to pre-soak them in boiling water
Variations of Mary Berry Damson Jam
You can vary Mary Berry Damson Jam by adding some extra ingredients or flavours to suit your taste. Here are some ideas:
- Zesty Touch: Introduce some lemon juice or zest for a refreshing tang and brightness.
- Vanilla Essence: Incorporate vanilla extract or the contents of a vanilla bean for an aromatic sweetness.
- Warm Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves can infuse your jam with a comforting warmth and spice.
- Nutty Texture: Chopped almonds or walnuts offer an exciting crunch and texture.
- Luxurious Depth: Fortified wines or spirits like port, brandy, or rum can elevate the jam with richness and depth.
How do I store Mary Berry, Damson Jam?
Preserve the delectable freshness of Mary Berry Damson Jam by storing it in a cool, shaded spot for up to a year. Labelling your jars with the jam’s name and creation date helps in tracking. Regularly inspect for signs of spoilage, including mould, fermentation, or leakage. Once opened, refrigerate and enjoy within a month.
How do I reheat Mary Berry Damson Jam?
To savour warm Mary Berry Damson Jam, microwave it or gently heat it in a saucepan. If the consistency thickens over time, a splash of water will thin it. Alternatively, use the jam to glaze roast meats, brushing over ham, chicken, or pork during the final cooking moments for a sweet twist.
Other Mary Berry Jams Recipes:
What are the benefits of making a Damson jam?
Making damson jam is a great way to preserve the summer fruit and enjoy it all year round. Damson jam has a unique flavour that is sweet and tangy, and it can be used in various ways, such as spreading on toast, filling cakes and pies, or pairing with cheese and crackers. Damson jam is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fibre, which can boost your immune system and digestive health.
How can I remove the stones from the damsons easily?
There are a few methods to remove the stones from the damsons easily. One method is to freeze the damsons first, then let them thaw partially and use a cherry pitter to pop out the stones. Another method is to cook the damsons with water until soft, then use a slotted spoon to scoop out the stones from the pan. A third method is to strain the cooked damsons through a sieve or a colander and collect the pulp in a bowl.
How can I tell if my damson jam is ready?
A: You can tell if your damson jam is ready by using a thermometer or a cold saucer test. The jam should reach 105°C on a thermometer, which is the setting point for jams and preserves. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a cold saucer test instead. To do this, place a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes, then drop a teaspoon of jam onto it. Wait for a few seconds, then push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles, it means that it has reached the setting point. If not, cook for a few more minutes and repeat the test.
How long does damson jam last?
A: Damson jam can last for up to a year if stored properly in a cool, dark place. Make sure to use sterilised jars and lids, and seal them tightly after filling them with the hot jam. Label the jars with the name and date of the jam and check them regularly for any signs of spoilage, such as mould, fermentation, or leakage. You can also refrigerate the jam after opening and use it within a month
- Related: Delia Smith Blackcurrant Jam
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you and see how your damson jam turned out. Thank you for reading and happy jam-making!