Damsons were found at Clive's Fruit Farm. Too wet to pick my own. I bought about 8 lbs.
We couldn't leave without a bag of Katy apples and a chat with the Tamworth pigs.
I cast a critical eye over the quince tree (not as many quinces as mine), and admired the splendid walnut tree.
Well worth a visit.

Damson chutney was made.


Damson gin was made.

And so was damson jam.

I wasn't the only one stirring sticky pans today. Katie and her friends have been making toffees.

They used a recipe from the Hairy Bikers. This is the one I think.
My next door neighbour gamely let five children loose in her kitchen and these were the results.

Retro packaging, keenly priced (they were handmade after all, with organic butter), they tasted like Werther's.

They sold all their stock and made a tidy profit.
A good way to end the summer holidays I thought.
And now I must resume an argument with Katie about how she should wear her hair at her new school. 
I say it should be tied back (nits, prevention thereof), she says otherwise.


  1. I'm loving your jar labels they are so much more unique then a standard label and so much cuter. :) I would go with hair up too, much more comfortable.

  2. Loving all your amazing produce and so envious of the beginnings of autumn and all it brings. Totally agree on hair front..what is the school policy I wonder?

  3. There is no school policy Annabella; that's the problem. The last school had a 'long hair tied back rule'but now she can wear it any way she likes.

  4. Do you take the stones out of your damsons before you cook them for jam? I love the flavour but the stones are always a problem. Is it easier to get them out when cooked?

  5. YUM! And the packaging is perfect. Please pass on top praise.
    As for hair tying, threaten to chop it all off while she sleeps unless it is tied back. Ax

  6. Nicky, I took the stones out as it cooked. They rise to the top and you can scoop them out but it tedious and I expect I missed some. I hoping to make some damson jelly next week which is much less trouble as you strain everything out.

  7. Anonymous9:09 pm BST

    Wow! How impressive! Where did you find time to make all this damson extravaganza!Perfect labels on the jars! You're a super mum-cook, Sue!
    I also loved the old-fashioned toffee packaging.It's amazing what kids can do when inspired, don't you think?

    PS. Thanks so much for commenting on my posting and answering my question.

  8. Those toffees look delicious :D Ditto all the damson goodness.

    Ours is the only house in the row here not to have a damson tree in the garden. Luckily the hedgerow opposite is full of them :D

  9. Thank you for the Damson tips , as for the hair , after working in a school I found it didn't matter if the hair was tied back or not .. mine was and I still got them :-(

  10. Could the girls do mail order toffees please? They look delicious. I had a painful accident on a wet fence Scrumping Damsons once, a Fruit Farm Shop is far more civilised! I am jealous of your Damson Produce. As for Nits...when my boys have had them a couple of times each they have seemed very proud of them! My oldest has longer hair than most of the girls...he is growing it until there is global peace! He certainly challenges the school policy!

  11. A toffee venture. Brillliant. They look delicious and I love the packaging.

  12. Rachel F12:07 am BST

    you keep making me want to eat things!! I dont think tying back the hair will keep nits away but its a good idea regardless. Try some lavender oil rubbed on hair - apparently nits dont like it. R

  13. Oh I do so agree on the hair tied back against nits idea ...and I tried so hard to enforce it. I think m girls just ran round the corner and too their ponytails out every day. There wasn't a day when they didn't come home from school with their hair loose....nits are the absolute dreaded end too. One of my daughters had them 17,000 times. I exaggerate not!
    BTW has your daughter tried the old ruse 'if your hair is dyed then the nits don't like it' - never fell for it myself, but one daughter tried VERY hard with that one!

  14. Pati from London10:25 am BST

    Hello Sue, the chicken tarragon was lovely the other night and will be added to our weekly regulars. Everyone loved it! Those toffees look great and will definitely try the recipe. I think they would make a lovely homemade present to bring to a friend's dinner party. As I am Spanish I have never heard of damson's before.... x Pati

  15. Glad the chicken was a success Pati.

    I will write more about damsons soon ;o)

  16. Tying back of the hair will not prevent nits, they are determined little blighters!

    You damson goodies look wonderful as does the toffee, those girls will make their fortunes one day.

  17. I know not much will prevent them Toffee, but at least tying it back keeps it out of the way a bit, you know, leaning over books together etc. It's been a good few years since we last had them and I don't want to go through it again. No thank you.

  18. Anonymous11:07 am BST

    Tied back, definitely! We have finally managed to rid this household of nits (it took all summer, the hardy little blighters). Tied back or shaved off will have to be the new rule here.

  19. I always insist on 'brushed' for hair. And sometimes even that's a stretch.

  20. As a science teacher I say elf n safety will insist on tied back hair ( for practicals)and a nasty lakky band is all that is available unless you tie it up back home. Nits seedmed less prevalent in secondary schools or is that less noticed? Loved the damsons last year too, very nice.

  21. I made jam from the damsons we brought back from Pershore.

    I love the idea of chutney.

    Nina x

  22. Tie it back! Tie it back! I remember those mamouth nit combing sessions!
    Fab makes witht he damsons - might have to get down to Clives myself, hope they still have some. Am especially keen on the gin!

  23. Sadly, I was forced to buy Damsons in Waitrose, and am making gin tomorrow! Hooray!

  24. I take every opportunity to evangelise about the necessity of children tying their hair back for school, or indeed anyone tying long hair back to do work.

    Because humans have binocular vision we are constantly turning our heads ever so slightly to get the best view of everything. If hair is straggling over our eyes, our necks twist and can cause long term back problems. Trying to life heavy things with obscured vision can be extremely dangerous.

    Stick to your guns Sue, and save her a lifetime of neck trouble and headaches.

  25. Thank you WH for more ammunition. I'm only afraid that if I succeed in getting her to tie it back before she leaves the house it will be untied as soon as she's out of sight.

  26. Nice damsons, nasty nits! I was wondering whether or not to do a 'nitty' post- an ex colleague was a 'comb/brush the hair with vodka' fan, another sprayed her son's hair with 2 drops of citronella in a litre of water put it in a fancy spray bottle & told him it was styling lotion, I added a few drops of tea tree oil to my shampoo bottle... We all remain nit free (touch wood!)

  27. I think I'm more of a comb'brush the hair and drink the vodka sort of person.

  28. Hello Sue, my paella chum! Love damsons too, they bring back happy memories of our elderly neighbours' orchard when I was small.

    Oh how I yearn for a shopping trolley but alas I think they're a little too retro even for me. I'm a bag lugger.

    I usually park on the Aldi car park in the town centre (2 hours free) then wander up to the market hall browisng the charity shops and bookshops as I go. I take two large and sturdy bags and hit the veg stall last. It can get quite heavy and the walk back takes me a lot longer. Harrisons the veg stall do free home delivery though on sacks of potatoes (Wiljas for £6) and carrots which is massive bonus. I'd never make it back if I had to carry 5lb of spuds too!

    Then I dump all that in the car and do a quick whizz around the supermarket. Cheaper than the gym!

    Have a lovely weekend. Stephx

  29. Anonymous8:50 am GMT

    Overheard just before morning school:
    Small boy to my small daughter:"Why did have to go home yesterday?"
    MSD to SB: "I had nits."
    SB: "My mummy knits."
    Love it!
    (btw: school policy at the time.)


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