Love and Olive Oil

Damson Plum Jam

Damson Plums

Why hello, there, adorable little plums! I almost mistook you for grapes. I’m sure glad I didn’t, because you are as delicious as you are precious. Yes you are!

New to me, I’d never heard of a Damson plum before. But luckily I didn’t pass them by when I saw the basket at the farmers market, but rather stopped and took a closer look. And then bought some. With no particular plans in mind.

Damson Plum Jam

It’s no surprise they ended up as jam. What was a surprise was how rich and flavorful the jam was. The plums themselves were nothing extraordinary. Slightly tart, not very flavorful, nothing like a regular plum which can be incredibly succulent and juicy. But the resulting jam is filled with a rich fruityness that, if I hadn’t actually made the stuff, I’d never guess it was made from these lackluster little plums.

Damson Plum Jam

I see this gorgeously rich purple jam spread onto toast for a mid-morning snack; mixed with some exotic spices and used as a sweet and savory marinade; warmed and drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream.

You know what? This unexpected jam might just be my favorite one yet. All because of a surprise market find and an on-a-whim purchase. Fate? Perhaps. Delicious? Most definitely.

Damson Plum Jam

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3 pounds damson plums, pitted and quartered (can also substitute other plums or pluots)
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice


In a large nonreactive bowl, gently toss together the plums and sugar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight (but if you’re pressed for time, 30 or 40 minutes will do you just fine!).

Prepare canner and wash/sterilize 6 half-pint mason jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. Place 2 or 3 small plates in the freezer.

Transfer the plums to a large nonreactive saucepan and add lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam onto a chilled plate to test if the jam is ready (the jam is ready if it wrinkles when nudged gently with a finger). If it isn’t yet ready, continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then test again on a clean plate.

Ladle hot jam into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and top with lid; screw on ring until finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 1 month.

Recipe from The Art of Preserving.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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Free Printable Canning Labels - Damson Plum Bonus! I always design them (naked jars have no place in my home), so I may as well share them. These labels compliment this rich purple jam perfectly. Simply print and stick and voila! Pretty pretty package.

To use: View and download the label PDF by clicking the thumbnail to the right. Print out the labels onto full-sheet sticker paper. Cut out and adhere to your jar lids. They are perfectly sized for standard narrow-mouth canning jars. Need label paper? Try here or here.

Disclaimer: Copyright Love & Olive Oil. For personal use only. If you post about or share these labels, please credit appropriately and do not link directly to the downloadable file but rather to this post. Please do not distribute these downloadable files. Thank you much!

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  1. I just finished making some Damson Plum Preserves and they are cooling on a towel on my kitchen cabinet now. I bought two bags of Plums for making the jam and never have any problem buying them at my local grocery store. My canned jars of food never go naked so I found some pretty purple plum labels and will put the labels on tomorrow after I wash the jars with hot soapy water. Stocking up on all types of jams and foods that I can buy. Love canning and cooking. God bless you all and happy canning to everyone. God Love You

  2. when do you add the lemon juice?

  3. I remember when I was a child my friends house had a Damson plum tree and when they were very ripe I would love these plums. If they were not, they were sour. but ripe, I would love them fresh!

  4. After nearly 15 years of living in my house (in Newberg, Oregon) I just discovered I’ve got about 4 of these damson plum trees in my yard bordering a neighbor. We have so many cherry trees that aren’t edible so I don’t think I ever realized these were edible plums. Now that I know what they are, I’m going to try to make jam out of them. :) If you are nearby, let me know and I can work out getting you some plums or already made jam. I plan to make it tomorrow.

  5. I made the jam and I think (know) I over cooked the jam. I tried it this evening and it was very, very firm. Tasty, but firm. Testing for sheeting was hard with the pieces of skin falling off at the same time. Also, the 2 glasses of wine I had while making it just might have something to do with that! I had 2 lbs of fruit so I cut back on the the sugar and lemon accordingly. I am used to using pectin so I figured the jam must be mighty thick before going into the jars. Lesson learned -natural pectin in the fruit really works wonders. The taste of the jam was awesome, so nice not to have such a sweet jam- my texture, however, not so good. Very firm, spreadable but not like my other jams that would gently quiver. I am going to get more plums and try again tomorrow!!! I usually just scribble the contents and date on my lids. Having your BEAUTIFUL labels make me so happy. It seems that was just what I was missing : ) I have been canning/preserving for 20 years. The jars were there and I knew what was in them but when I woke up this morning and looked at your labels on my damson plum jam lids I just smiled and smiled and headed off with my hubby to the local county fair. I swear some of us that do this don’t think about entering fairs! Looking at what was there I am now putting entering my jams/jelly/peaches/tomatoes, etc. Thank you!!

    • How lucky you are to have found some Damsons! I’ve been watching for them at the markets but I fear I may have missed them this year. :(

      I do think if I did it again I might run the jam through a food mill. The skins do make for a different texture than you’re used to with jam. Taking those out would probably lower the natural pectin as well and maybe it wouldn’t set so firmly?

  6. I am making these right now – fruit is macerating! I looked and looked for a damson plum jam recipe after I found some in my local farmers’ market (No. VA) and picked yours because I just loved the labels you made for the jars!

  7. Just found your site while looking for a damson plum jam recipe. What a wonderful, inspiring blog! I remember my grandmother’s jam so fondly and found 2 quarts of damson plums at our local farm truck. I don’t know who was more excited…me or the famer who witnessed my happiness. The jam is simmering as I write. I’ll post how it turns out! Thank you for bringing back such a happy memory. And supplying the labels. :)

  8. there is a recipe out there for chicken with damson plum sauce. i only made it once, years ago, but it was fantastic. i’ve been searching for it for the past half hour and i don’t find anything similar, but if you want to give it a go it did not contain corn syrup.

  9. Here in the UK we refer to them as damsons rather than damson plums. They are hard to find here too, farmers’ markets and farmshops being the best places to buy unless you can find a damson tree. I have damson trees growing in the hedgerows very near to my house.

    Your jam looks fabulous. I make jam and jelly with damsons but also damson gin which is gorgeous and really easy to make.

  10. I love this post, the colors are so stunning!

  11. I have made plum crisp before, but never plum jam. My new goal though is to make as much of my own jam as possible, as I just learned that I have diabetes. How will it affect the taste and consistency though to use a sugar substitute?

  12. Gorgeous jam! I;ve never had a damson plum though…must get my hands on them!

  13. Looove plum jam! This look beautiful..

  14. Unexpected jam is the best kind! Good on ya for picking up foreign fruit and making good use of it.

  15. Beautiful, beautiful jam and beautiful, beautiful photos. I always draw my own labels, but only those for gifts, we have ours naked :)

  16. I always find Damson plums a little disappointing to eat but this looks like the perfect use for them and those pretty little labels are enough to make me what to can something just so that I can use them!

  17. These plums are new to me too. We have a great farmer’s market in Kansas City but I was jealous of yours last weekend. It looked phenomenal!

  18. Looks amazing! Did you get these at the main farmer’s market on 8th? I’m curious now…

    • Yep, that’s the one! It was two weeks ago, so not sure if anyone would still have them. Going tomorrow morning, will let you know if I see any!

  19. Absolutely beautiful photos!

  20. Where did you by these plums?
    I love baking with damson plums, the heat makes them very tasty. It’s like Granny Smith of apples.

    • Farmers market two weeks ago. I think they have a pretty short season so not sure if they’re still around. There were a few stands that had them though!

  21. that color is gorgeous! Thanks for the label, I’m going to make a few jars! I am visiting my parents next weekend and this will be the perfect present.

  22. the deep dark purple looks sooo good :-) this jam is great as topping for many yummy foods :D

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