Easy roasted plum/ damson jam
The easiest recipe I know. Roasting the fruit is such a foolproof way of making jam. It doesn’t require any kit apart from a roasting tray; it imparts an incredible sticky caramel character, while the fruit stones bring an almondy flavour and help the set. I’ve included a kind of choose-your-own adventure for the flavouring options, as jam is a very personal thing: some like it simple, I like it with interesting and unusual flavours (my favourite is the fennel pollen).
Makes 4 small jars
2kg small plums or damsons
300g golden caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
A few twists of black pepper
A vanilla pod, split in half
1 tsp fennel pollen or fennel seeds
A couple of bay leaves
A handful of lemon verbena
A handful of rose geranium
Stone your damsons or plums: if they are ripe, you will be able to squeeze the stone out in your hands; if they are too firm to do that, you’ll need to cut them open and scoop out the stone with a small spoon.
Lay the fruit and stones out evenly on two large baking trays, then scatter over the sugar and lemon juice. Now’s the time to add your flavourings – if you are using rose geranium, lemon verbena or bay to flavour, thoroughly mix it in with your hands, then leave overnight to infuse.
Roast the fruit in the centre of an oven preheated to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 45 minutes, or until sticky and caramelised.
Once cooked, remove whatever flavourings you’ve used (unless you have used pepper or fennel, as these will be small enough to eat) and the stones. Spoon the jam into sterilised jars and seal immediately.
Store in a cool, dark place. This will keep for up to a year. Once open, refrigerate and eat within 3 months for the best flavour.