Native to Eastern Europe and western Asia, damsons are small dark–purple plums with yellow to green flesh. Because they are sharp and even unpleasantly sour eaten raw, and because they are firm fleshed and transport and store well, they are the cooking plum par excellence for desserts, fools, compotes, chutney and especially jams, conserves and preserves (pictured). Damsons picked in the wild often have a better flavour than commercially grown varieties. Damsons may also be dried or used to make damson cheese, a cooked mixture of damson and sugar, traditionally served with roast lamb. The damson is so named because it was from Damascus in Syria.
Recipe by Brian Turner