Drunken Damsons

31st August 2011 by

My garden is home to just a few fruit trees.  One makes apples of a slightly-less-than-delicious variety (still great for Apfelmus though!).  There’s a mini Golden Russet tree, which makes much more delicious apples, just never quite enough of them!  A pear tree hangs over from a neighbour’s garden, and there’s the occasional windfall from an apple tree slightly further afield.  This apple tree I watch longingly, as each year hundreds of apples fall to their fate: slug food! I’ve many times considered the climb over a couple of fences and onto a shed.  There must be many more back gardens across the UK harbouring unloved fruit.  At a time of year when most shops have apples flown in from New Zealand, this is something we should be challenging.

The final fruit tree in our garden is a Damson tree.  Damsons are delicious, but there are just so many of them!  And although delicious, I don’t find them the most satisfying fruit.  They are pretty small, which makes them very time-consuming to chop and turn into delicious crumble, pie, jam, or anything else that could use large quantities at once.  Time is passing though, and I don’t want these damsons to meet a similar fate as the neighbour’s apples, so this weekend I went in search of something to do with them.  The result: damson gin!  I found this recipe for wild damson gin which lured me in with talk of an ‘irresistible liqueur’. You do have to acquire some gin, but the only other ingredients are sugar and damsons.   Aaah, simplicity.  Oh wait, I forgot, one final, most crucial ingredient: patience.  I’m not allowed to touch it for at least three months.  Already it’s a beautiful deep red colour, I keep thinking to myself  ‘Surely, surely it’ll taste divine already with a colour like that!’.  But I’m holding out, the sugar has almost all dissolved, and then I will hide it away in a dark place (from the light, and myself!).

There are still a mighty fine number of damsons on that tree though, anyone got any ideas?

2 Responses to “Drunken Damsons”

  1. Jeannie says:

    Hi Iona,
    Have you tried just halving the damsons, chucking them in the pan and skimming off the stones when they float? Homemade damson jam is meant to have a few pips in it isn’t it? :-)

  2. Hi Iona,
    Did Sloe Gin last Autumn, without sugar and after I had left it two months, well, by heavan! it was like very alcoholic mouth wash! Mind you, I only suffered one slight cold, all winter. Thanks for bringing to light this receipe, as I have an eighteen foot high (and only 4 years old!) Damson bending towards mother earth just now.

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