Deep Purple

No not the rock band.


There are some damson trees very close to our house. Yesterday elder son, daughter and I stationed ourselves beneath the trees. The fruit was too high for us to pick but by standing on a step-ladder and bashing the branches with a rake we managed to cause the damsons to rain down upon our heads, into our pockets and even into my bra. We gathered them up into our basket and took them home.

 I weighed them and found to my delight we had managed to gather 5 lbs. I usually buy about 5 lb from a farm shop so I was very pleased to have scored free fruit. Not only were they free but they were also sweeter and easier to stone than the ones I usually get.

Chutney is what I do with damsons. Chutney and gin. I put 2 lbs in the freezer to make into damson gin just as soon as I can afford a large quantity of gin. The rest I cut in half and stoned ready for chutneying.
My recipe is from good old Delia. You can find it here. It's also in Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course.

I copied it into my recipe journal.

All day the kitchen has been filled with the throat-catching smell of fruity vinegar and with wasps.

Chutney is the easiest thing to make, you simply throw everything into pan and leave it to cook slowly for a few hours. Then you pour it into sterile jars. I made four big jars (old mayonnaise jars- 600-700ml) plus one little jar.

Edit: The next day the chutney still seemed very runny in the jars so I poured it all back in the pan and cooked it for another hour. It successfully thickened up and I repotted it into the washed and resterilised jars. However this time I only had enough for three big jars. This was how much I made last year. It wasn't enough to see us through the year so I think I might make some more chutney later in the year, possibly apple.

Now we have to wait for three months for it to mature and mellow.



  1. I went out this evening and picked Damsons from my garden and blackberries from besides the brook as well!! Must be the perfect day for picking!!

  2. WoW!! How far away do you live from me lol?? :O) x

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  4. I've never seen a Damson before though my cousin in Wales has a tree which she treasures. It must be great to have these lovely things growing nearby and blackberries free in the hedgerows too. I think I might emigrate !!!

  5. Ohhh, that chutney looks fantastic. Must be hard waiting for it to mellow. I make my own corn relish. At least when it's homemade you can actually see it has corn in it!! Shop bought you are lucky to get more than 10 corn kernals. :-)

  6. I am always amazed that all the UK blogs I read do all this hot cooking and knitting and crochet...in summer. Phew I would melt away, it gets and stays around the 30-35 deg with the odd day or three up to 40. WAY TOO hot for me, some days you just sit and do nothing just too hot. I used to live in an old home with the vegies, berries and fruit trees and I loved cooking up Plum jam and sauce on the old slow combustion stove. My gran loved the stove, she would put a chair in front of it and put her feet in the warming draw....ahh heaven for her.
    Hugs Sandi xx

  7. I adore this time of year. I suspect my bra would hold lots of fruit, thanks for the tip!!!!!!!

  8. WE planted 2 damson trees a few years ago and this year one of them has fruit!! admittedly not very much but perhaps a couple of jars of chutney!

  9. Sandi, it just isn't that hot here. August is rarely very hot. I think the damsons are early this year, normally I'd expect to make chutney in September.

    Louise, the bra thing was accidental! And I only had room for one damson :D

  10. Lovely chutney for your store cupboard thought you may be interested in damson ice cream recipe in Sarah Ravens Garden Cookboook I have been following your lovely blog and see you are a fan of cookery books like myself.


  11. Oh I really miss my damson tree now! We had a huge tree in front of our window when we moved in but had to cut it down when we built our extension :(

    Enjoy your damson chutney - I'm planning a big plum-chutney making session soon...

  12. Hi Sue, I'm really enjoying your blog. Damsons are fab - I love the colour when they are cooking. Something that works really well both with gin and jam/ jelly is adding some cloves and cinnamon sticks to the mix, it gives an ever so slightly medicinal but lovely, spiced flavour. Once again I am reminded of how far behind our season is, up a big hill in Mid-Wales, we have damsons in our hedgerows, but they were still green and hard last week! I think we have at least a month until they will be ready. I plan to try some damson wine this year.

  13. Seeing all of those damsons bring back happy memories of childhood. I've never tried it in chutney though - sounds delicious.

  14. Yummy Damsons, I only know the jam, but the chutney sounds absolutely delicious
    Julie xxxxx

  15. You put damsons in your bra? Innovative!

    Your chutney looks stunning. I'm dreaming of thick cut roast ham and mature cheddar, hunks of bread and a dollop of this.


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