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- noun Plural form of
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Our usual scavenging season is the early Autumn – around September time when we pick blackberries and damsons from the roadsides and stew them for pies and crumbles.
If they swing in the swing without leave they fall out and break several teeth: if they forget to say their prayers they fall into the trough of pig-swill; the theft of a few damsons is punished by an attack of pneumonia and narrow escape from death.
As I Please 1945
A great many plums known as damsons were grown in Cheshire, and in olden times were allowed to remain on the trees until the light frosts came in late September or early October, as it was considered that they had not attained their full flavour until then; but in later times as soon as they were black they were hurried off to market, for they would crush in packing if left until thoroughly ripe.
From John O'Groats to Land's End Robert Naylor
Making the garnet-hued drink with late damsons or early sloes is one of the highlights of the kitchen year, as much something to rejoice over as toasting the first crumpet or stirring the Christmas pudding.
There were desserts of blackberry and honey cake, followed by another of quince and buttermilk with damsons both as an ice and as slivers of meringue, which celebrated the abundance of autumn fruits in these Lake District valleys.
All this is very well if you have your own supply of damsons I have a freezer full – damson gin in waiting, but you can also buy really fine versions, too.
The jars, filled with sugar, gin and fruit, need turning regularly until the sugar has dissolved, then tucking away in a dark corner for a couple of months while the magic gets to work.sloes or damsons 900g, washed and picked oversugar 700ggin around 1.5 litres Wipe the damsons, discarding any that are squashy or bruised.
Appreciation, too, for those who suggested freezing my damsons and sloes before macerating them in the alcohol rather than pricking them by hand.
I did some that way and was impressed by the speed at which the fruit leaked its juices into the gin, but and this is a big thing for me the instant method rather took away from the pleasures of an autumn afternoon pricking my damsons with a pin.
In one scene, Reed embraced Louise and said, ‘Your hair smells like damsons.’
STAR PETER BISKIND 2010
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