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Aug 15, 2012 10:55 AM

Damson Jam w/ Vanilla question

hey, all -- The past few years I've made Damson (plum) jam using the Ball Blue Book recipe. It's terrific and always well liked. This summer I'm thinking of tweaking it a bit. I thought I might add some vanilla. But ...
--do you think this will be a nice flavor combination?
--I was thinking of going with 1 vanilla bean (it's 2 lbs fruit, 3 c. sugar in the recipe) but will this be enough to taste it? too much? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Oh and this is for canning, though the addition of vanilla bean shouldn't make any difference for that.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. I make a plum sauce with vanilla and rosemary which is delicious. The vanilla works really well with the plum! I use Damsons in this recipe and have modified the fruit part and made it into a jam which canned nicely.

    Go for it!

    2 Replies
    1. re: meatn3

      Excellent. Thanks. That recipe calls for 1 lb fruit and 1 vanilla bean. So I'm thinking I should probably up the vanilla bean part for mine. Thanks again.

      1. re: LNG212

        It depends on your bean too, though.
        A couple of summers ago I made some wild blackberry jam with vanilla bean and the bean flavor almost dominated the fruit. Starting out with less, I think, is the way to go.
        It's nice to have an undertone of vanilla flavor, while letting the fruit shine.
        That said, beans vary in strength, so a quarter may well be enough for one lb. of fruit.

    2. For my taste, vanilla wouldnt be an improvement.

      I live within a couple of hours of a major commercial damson growing area so tend to buy their jams or pickled damsons

      2 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Pickled damson plums? What does one eat with them? Sounds really interesting.

        Do the jams you like usually have anything other than plums and sugar in them? I'm just looking to tweak my "plain" recipe a little bit.

        1. re: LNG212

          We usually have them with cold meats or to accompany, say, a ham sandwich. They're also pretty good as an accompaniment when you might otherwise have used a sharp fruit sauce - like redcurrant or cranberry

          And, you're right, my preference in jams is always plain - fruit and sugar. To me, one of those occasions where less is definitely more.

      2. haven't done damson in a few years but Italian/prune plum w orange zest & a spoonful of frozen oj concentrate is a regular.

        whole Ital/prune plums. stick w a pin both sides (reduces skins splitting) poached to tender in syrup of cider vinegar, white sugar, strips of lemon zest, cinnamon stick & whole cloves. sterile jars & lids, pack hot fruit, bring syrup to boil, pour over leaving 1/4" headroom, I've never water-bathed these. Keep a few weeks before serving w roast turkey, chicken, pork, cheese course.

        Ditto for peeled pear halves, in which case remove cin & clove after boiling syrup as they'll stain the pears where they touch. Refrig before opening jar. These are also surprisingly good w curries.

        1 Reply
        1. re: beach_cook

          Cardamom is a fantastic companion for plums. You can find the recipe here:

          There is a Fine Cooking recipe for a plum cobbler with cardamom that is one of my favorites, so I knew I would like the combination.