In a year that has presented us with a lot of challenges, one positive is that nature has been abundant. The hedgerows have provided us with so much fresh produce to bolster our vitamin c levels.
We have had masses of damsons, but boy oh boy, stoning damsons is a nightmare! I set about finding a recipe which skips this process.
For followers of Myrtle’s, you will know that we have been busy making home deliveries locally of pastries and pasties. Also, we are continuing to plan for the future and hope to have exciting news for you soon. I am busy experimenting in the kitchen and found this little gem of a recipe which I thought I would share with you. It involves damsons and their stones, just my sort of recipe.
Pickling is really fashionable at the moment, and this recipe provides us with a really traditional way to start honing your pickling skills.
There are loads of alternative recipes out there, I encourage you to find one that uses the ingredients that you already have in your store cupboard.
Makes 450g 1lb
450g (1 lb) damsons – stalks removed
225g (8oz) sugar (I used white sugar)
2 sticks cinnamon
25g (1oz) Fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
300ml (10fl oz) white vinegar or Cider vinegar (I used Aspall’s organic cyder vinegar)
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275 F, 140 C
Prick the damson skins with a clean needle or pin, apparently this is to stop the skins splitting but don’t be precious, some of mine split and they were just as delicious.
Then put the damsons in an earthenware dish, scatter with the cinnamon, cloves and ginger over the fruit and cover with the vinegar. Put the dish at the bottom of a warm oven and leave to cook slowly for 20mins. Remove the damsons when they begin to feel soft and the juice is running and set aside to cool.
When cold, strain the juice, boil it for 5 minutes and pour over the fruit. Repeat the straining and boiling every day for 1 week, then leave the damsons in the pickle for a further week. By this time the skins will be wrinkled, and the juice the colour of vintage port.
Strain the damsons and pack into sterilised warmed jars. Boil the juice once more and pour hot over the fruit. Seal well and store for 1 month. They improve with age.
The Perfect Pickle Book
David Mabey & David Collison
Recommended for cold meats, but I love these with cheese and they make a great addition to salads, but be careful of the stones!
An exciting addition was that I had some of the pickling juice left! So, coming from the school of “Waste not want not”, I reboiled the pickling juice and bottled it. It became a syrupy sweet vinegar, perfect for dressings.
I hope that you find this of use and enjoy pickling. Fill up those store cupboards for winter.