Stewed Damson Plums

Stewed Plums
BRETT STEVENS/Cultura/Getty Images
Ratings (12)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
254 Calories
1g Fat
65g Carbs
2g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Damson plums are mostly grown in the United Kingdom as well as a few Californian orchards and are harvested in the late summer and fall. They are high in sugar and at the same time somewhat bitter and are an especially good plum variety for jams and preserves.

The fruit is small in size, a bit larger than a cherry, and the skin of the damson plum ranges from a dark blue to near-black. The flesh is somewhat dry and minimal compared to the seed. Since most damson plums are "clingstone," it might be difficult to separate the stone from the fruit. If the pits are very stubborn, you may stew them whole with the pits left in. 

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine sugar, water, and cinnamon stick in a large pot over high heat. Boil for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is syrupy.

  2. Add the plums to the syrup and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer the plums for about 10 minutes, or until quite tender.

The History of Damson Plums

Damson plums actually have a long history, said to have originated in the city of Damascus, where the plum got its name. When the Roman Empire spread, the plum became a currency of trade, especially in Britain, where the fruit is grown today. Until World War II, damson jam and damson cheese (a fruit paste that is commonly served with cheese) were found on the tables in most British households as the fruit was produced commercially—for both eating and as a dye. Because of its deep blue color, the skins were used to dye military uniforms, pottery, and carpets. After the war, however, the plum fell out of favor until more recently when it has reemerged as a fashionable fruit.

There is a yellowish-white variety but it is not as common as the purple. The overly tart taste makes these plums ideal for cooking along with a significant amount of sugar, versus eating raw out of hand. The flesh is too dry and sour to enjoy uncooked.

Serving Suggestions

Stewed damson plums can be eaten at all times of the day. Enjoy as part of your breakfast alongside a warm cereal or French toast; serve on the side with a roast pork or ham. And, of course, top with whipped cream and savor at the end of the meal for dessert.