10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DAMSONS
We are very proud of our handcrafted damson products, with two of them, our Damson Gin and Damson Jam, having recently been highly commended by BBC's Masterchef, John Torode and Celebrity Chef Eric Lanlard and awarded two 1 star Great Taste Awards in 2019.
We are lucky enough to have homegrown damsons on our doorstep here in the Lake District and we love working with them, creating our range of handcrafted damson products including jams, liqueurs and syrups.
We are often asked questions from our customers about the origin of damsons and we have been surprised at how little our customers appear to know about these deliciously fruity gems, so we would, therefore, like to share 10 interesting facts with you all about this stunning fruit.
- The damson is related to the wild plum and rose family, it is small and oval-shaped with a slight point at one end. They have a distinctive astringent flavour and are a rich, vibrant indigo colour.
- Originally from Syria, the damson tree takes its name from the city of Damascus.
- The name “damson” comes from Middle English “damascene”, “damesene,” “damasin,” “damsin,” and ultimately from the Latin “damascenum,” which means “plum of Damascus.”
- Damsons were used in orchards to protect less hardy trees, though orchards entirely composed of damson trees were a feature of some areas, notably the Lyth Valley of Westmorland and the Teme Valley in the Malverns.
- Although the majority of damson varieties are blue-black or purple in colour, there are at least two rare forms of “white damson”, both having green or yellow-green skin.
- Damson plums are good for you being very high in dietary fibre which is a key part of our digestive health as it helps move food through our digestive tract, eliminating constipation, bloating, cramping and more serious conditions such as colorectal cancer and gastric ulcers. They also contain a large amount of copper and iron which is great for improving your circulatory system and boosting your RBC count.
- Remnants of damsons are sometimes found during archaeological digs of ancient Roman camps across England, and they have clearly been cultivated and consumed for centuries.
- The main recorded use of damsons in the industrial era was in commercial jam making, and orchards were widespread until World War II, after which changing tastes, the effect of wartime sugar rationing, and the relatively high cost of British grown fruit caused a steep decline.
- Damsons are the cousins of the Sloes and Damson Gin is made in a similar manner to Sloe Gin, although less sugar is required as the damsons are sweeter than sloes.
- The damson tree blossoms with small, white flowers in early April in the Northern hemisphere and fruit is harvested from late August to September or October, depending on the cultivar.
Some of you will be lucky enough to have damson trees in your gardens or get offered damsons through friends who have them in abundance. Damsons are so versatile and you can create a range of delicious treats including jams, chutneys, crumbles, various puddings, syrups and even try your hand at making your own Damson Gin.
Here are a few recipe ideas for you:
We are blessed to be based in Cumbria with a real history of damsons in our area, having been grown on our doorstep in the Lyth Valley for hundreds of years.
We work closely with the Westmorland Damson Society with all our damsons being sourced through them from the Lyth Valley. For more information on the society take a look at their website https://www.lythdamsons.org.uk
If you would like to take a look at our range of award-winning damson products, please visit our website www.lakelandartisan.co.uk where our products can be purchased online or from our shop in Windermere and from suppliers throughout the country.