Monday, 30 August 2010

Damson Cheese & other preserves

Pear & date chutney

I couldn't stay away from the preserving pan today. The farmers market was brimming with Autumn's bounty and the urge to wave the preserving wand was strong. Besides, it was a good distraction to the many nagging duties I'm avoiding.

Damsons are one of my favourite autumn fruits, as much for it's dark indigo colour as its sharp distinctive flavour. I keep a jar of damson jelly as a staple, which I add to most meat sauces, especially for game, to give depth and a distinguished colour.

Today I made damson cheese, which I intend to serve with some fine cheeses. It couldn't be easier.

Also a batch of pears from my Mum's garden to make huge pot of pear & date chutney. This goes very well with mature cheddar cheese.

And so my winter larder grew today, as well with redcurrant jelly and blackberry and apple jelly, the product of a happy forage in Kent.

Pears, dates, onion, cinamon and ginger

Wine Dark Cheese

Damson Cheese

This recipe is from Margarite Pattern's Jams, Chutneys, preserves, vingegars and Oils. If you only buy one book on preserving, this is the one.

1 Kg Damsons
450gm caster sugar
  • Cover the damsons in a some water and bring to the boil,simmer for about 30 minutes until the fruit is mushy and soft.
  • Push the fruit through a seive and reserve the pulp.
  • For each 600ml of pulp, measure 450gm of caster sugar.
  • Heat the pulp and and add the sugar. Bring to a rapid boil for about 8 minutes. Check for setting point.
  • Pour into containers, cool.
Pear, Date & Cinnamon Chutney

(This recipe is from Delicious Magazine - I added the ginger)

1 Kg pears chopped small
2 eating apples chopped small
450gm dates chopped
300gm demarera sugar
450gm shallots or onions chopped
5cm grated ginger
600ml cider vinegar
  1. Add the chopped pear, apple, dates, onion, grated ginger, cinnamon sticks to a pan with the 300ml cider vinegar and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer vigorously for 30 minutes and add the other 300ml of cider vinegar. Boil for a further 30 minutes, until the mixture is thick. (you may need to continue boiling for another 15 minutes).
  3. Pour into steralised hot jars and seal.


  1. Sarah...glad you added the spunk of ginger to some of my favourite fruits. Great preserve.

    Flavourful wishes,

  2. I'm hoping to get my hands on some damsons soon, one of my favourite things to create preserves from.

  3. Claudia and George, if there's one accompaniment for damson cheese, put it with a good goats cheese. Mmmmmmmmmm. (As I reach for the Ragstone).

  4. MMMMMMMMM,..what beautiful creations & that all must taste sublime eaten together! Yum!


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