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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Market Discoveries - Damsons

Growers Markets are a great source of seasonal fruit seldom seen in the big supermarkets and even in little fruit and veg shops. Just last week at the ut si cafe growers market shoppers were spoilt for choice with four different apple varieties, nashi, quince and plums. 
The blood plums on the left are a delicious juicy eating plum and though they were also put to good use in a pumpkin and plum chutney, they really shone in the upside down plum cake post here.

Let's not overlook the Damson Plums though!
These are seldom offered in supermarkets and I wonder if that's because it is more of a cooking plum and people are less inclined to process their own food now. 
They are the size of a small egg and very ovoid in shape with a distinctive dusky deep blue skin that can be astringent. The flesh inside reminds me of greengage plums in colour but the flesh is much drier.
Most people make Damson Jam as they contain good pectin for setting and when cooked the flavours sensational.

My friend Lee tells me that she loves to make Damson Gin with hers. She covers whole Damsons in gin and leaves them to sit in a cupboard for about four weeks and decants. She assures me the flavour is even more luscious than sloe gin.
As for me, you know of my love affair with my dehydrator, especially when I am busy hands on with tomatoes at this time of year, I'm making prunes.

I simply wash and halve, remove the stone and pop them into the dehydrator till they are dried but still slightly moist and gooey then I store them in a jar in the fridge.
Chewy, jamy, almost figgy, with a tiny bit of sharpness but not too sweet.
These make great snacks for afternoons and pre-dinner hunger pains. Very welcome additions to warming porridge on autumn mornings. What about adding them to a gorgeous robust loaf or treacle cake.
Sourcing seasonal specialities at local markets ensures you are getting not only nutritional variety but provides flavoursome textural additions too. Sweet, bitter, salty, sour, are all part of the digestive stimulation and if we keep breeding our food to be only sweet it will be to our peril. Crunchy, soft, chewy, sticky, crumbly, all textures help stimulate our appetite as we start the mastication process and exercise jaw muscles and send signals to our stomach for digestive enzymes.

Last Saturday was the final market day for us for this current season and we will resume when daylight savings begins again. Do chat with the sellers at market because they know so much about the food they produce and can give you lots of ideas for use so you get so much more from your purchases.


  1. How I would love to accompany you to the market. You have a wealth of information about the produce.

  2. Damsons are seldom found these day in Ontario, even though we have several farmers markets.

  3. I really need to get myself a dehydrator. Those look great!


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