Forgiving friends, trees, and a swoony jam

Here’s how you recognize a true friend.

You set their kitchen ablaze (true story, told here) and months later they give you a heaping bowl of damson plums.

Damsons are tiny and tart jewels of autumn fruits. The jam, beloved by the English isn’t as well known here in Canada. Brit-born Chris (of the flaming kitchen) recognized treasure when a damson tree voluntarily sprouted in her garden and produced bags and buckets of perfect purple plums that Chris, a real and forgiving friend, shares.

Damson jam is dead easy to make and worth the effort of sourcing some plums from farms and farmers markets this week.

How easy? This easy:

Damson Jam (with or without a kick)

Place approximately 3 pounds of damson plums (washed and sorted) in a large pot with 2-3 cups of water.

Simmer to break up the plums and release the dozens and dozens of pits.
This is the fiddly bit. Scoop out all of the pits. You don’t want to ruin a perfectly delectable jam by biting down on one.

Add 3-4 cups of sugar. Most recipes call for too much. Start with three cups, simmer, then taste. Add more as needed. Five, tops.

You can stop at three ingredients or party it up with a squeeze of lemon and a good splash of gin. Damson plums and the juniper berries of gin are a swoony match.

Simmer til it’s all jammy then pour into hot sterile jars. Voila!

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Speaking of bounty. This little apple tree was even littler when Mr WI64 and I moved into our house 25 years ago. The previous owner had worked some grafting magic so that it grew seven different varieties of apples.

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I’ve ignored it for 25 years. Stuck a hose nearby occasionally, but other than that, pretty much zip. This year, consistently ignored, it is leaning with fruit, on its knees with the weight of all varieties of apple.

Such a forgiving little tree.

Just steps away is my squash patch.

Tended, fertilized, watered, fussed over.

This is the squash crop of 2017:

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You can see where I’m going with this.

Anyway, enough about my sad gardening skills. Try to track down some damsons. Your morning toast will thank you.

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