Grow to Love .... Damsons and Plums

Grow to Love... Damsons and Plumbs

Why love... Damson and Plums?


Bursting with succulent flavour, cooking with damsons is a great way of saying goodbye to the summer and welcoming the autumn.

There are thousands of varieties of plum cultivated today, covering the whole spectrum of colours. Some are sweet, some are tart, some are good for cooking while others are edible straight from the branch, but few are as distinctive for their taste or their culinary possibilities as the damson.

Damsons are a small type of plum, almost oval in shape and usually dark purple or black. Their flavour is uniquely strong, bitter and spicy, making them more suitable for cooking than eating raw.

Did you know?


  • Damsons’ name comes from Damascus, the capital of modern Syria, where they are thought to have first grown, hundreds of years ago.
  • There are over 2,000 varieties of plums in the world today.
  • Dried plums are known as prunes, and in ancient Egypt these were found in the tomb of Kha – architect of Thebes, as provisions for the afterlife.

Top tips


  • Damsons are an old favourite in preserves and jams, but their tartness means they go well with savoury dishes and meats like pork or lamb.
  • Damson cheese is a kind of thick jelly, often served with rich meats. It’s made by boiling sugar and damsons until very sticky and then left in a mould for months.
  • Compote of damsons is a simple and delicious desert. Remove their stones and simmer them in water, with sugar and cinnamon. Serve with clotted cream.
  • Experiment with damson chutneys or sauces with your evening meal. Simmer them in a pan with red wine and sugar and serve with duck.
  • They go well with the flavours of ginger, orange, bay leaves and anise.

Recipe suggestions

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