07 September 2018

BAKED DAMSON JAM

It’s early September, and that means that autumn is almost here. So what better time to start canning and jam-making than now. Plums are in abundance now, and damsons are especially favoured by many, because of their sweetness and fragrance. As always, pick ripe fruit for jams, because it will yield the best flavour; and if possible, buy organic fruit. Damsons I used are home-grown, from my grandparents’ orchard, and they were plump and ready for jams and desserts.
Speaking of the jam, there is no constant stirring, no splatter, just the fruit, and some regular granulated sugar. Baking the jam instead of cooking it on the stove top is a tad unconventional method, but the jam is simply amazing. As for the preparation, you do need to remove the skins of damsons, but if our damsons are ripe, removing the skins will be very easy. If there is a piece left here and there, it will not be a problem, because once baked, you will be able to simply pick out any remaining plum skin with a fork.


Ingredients
1.5 kilograms ripe damson plums
200 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum


Preparation
Turn the oven on to 200°C (400°F) before you start working with the fruit. Wash each fruit, remove the skin, and the pit. Split them in half, and set them into a deep, large bowl as you work. Take a regular rectangular baking pan (20x30 cm), and evenly sprinkle in half of the sugar, then carefully add in the plums. I recommend adding them with a spoon, so you distribute them evenly in the pan. Once all the fruit has been added to the baking pan, sprinkle on the rest of the sugar. A good amount of sugar will be absorbed by the fruit almost immediately, but some of it will remain on the top, which is perfectly fine.
Bake the fruit in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for 1 hour, gently and carefully stirring it about half-way through. The fruit should be completely soft and mushy by the time one hour is up, but if you want your jam to be of a thicker consistency, continue baking up to an hour and a half, carefully stirring and checking while baking. Once baked, remove it from the oven, and remove any piece of skin that has remained, then gently mash the fruit with a fork whilst it’s still in the baking pan. Add in the rum, and mix well. Carefully spoon the jam into prepared and sterilised jars, place the lids on, and store as you would normally store jam. Yields 750 grams.

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