Yesterday we visited my parents-in-law, who have a lovely big garden which is full of produce this time of year. I came back laden with plums, damsons, carrots and tomatoes. Tomatoes were easy to deal with - peeled, chopped and frozen within half an hour. The carrots will keep while we eat through them, and the plums will either be eaten fresh or stewed. But damsons? Mum makes great jam with them, but I am not an experienced jam-maker. Mamade marmalade is about my limit! So I was keen to have a try at the art of preserving - to me it seems a little like alchemy.
As a complete novice I am not going to attempt a tutorial. Enough to say I used the same weight of sugar as stoned and halved damsons, and simmered the damsons first to soften them. I ended up with just over 3 jars of a richly coloured red/purple jam. Unfortunately the mixture caught on the bottom of my stock pot, so the results taste a little "caramelized(!)". The flavour is still good, so although it won't be given as presents, it will still be enjoyed!