Damsons are relatively small plum-like fruit with a distinctive, somewhat astringent taste and are widely used for culinary purposes, particularly in fruit preserves or jam. In South and Southeast Asia, the term “damson plum” sometimes refers to jambul, the fruit from a tree in the Myrtaceae family. These fruits offer an unique tasteful experience along with an array of benefits.
Benefits of damson
- Aid in Digestion – As with the majority of fruits, damson plums are very high in dietary fiber, which is a key part of our digestive health, as it helps to move food through our digestive tract, eliminating constipation, bloating, cramping, and more serious conditions as well, such as colorectal cancer and gastric ulcers.Fiber can al sohelp to maximize nutrient intake and aid in weight loss efforts, since our digestive system will be working at optimal levels.
- Improve Heart Health – The fiber found in damson plums is also an excellent way to reduce excess cholesterol, as fiber can scrape “bad” cholesterol from the system and eliminate it from the body, thereby helping to maintain a proper cholesterol balance in the body. Furthermore, the high level of potassium in damson plums acts as a vasodilator, relaxing the tension on blood vessels and reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system.
- Increase Energy Levels – The significant levels of copper and iron found in damson plums make them great fruits for improving our circulatory system and boosting our RBC count. Anemia (iron deficiency) can be a major health concern, but copper and iron are two vital components of red blood cells and can keep your circulation at peak levels, energizing the body and ensuring proper oxygenation of the body.
- Prevent Cancer – Certain research studies on damson plums have shown that the phytonutrients present in the skin and in the natural coloring of the fruit can prevent or even reverse the development of breast cancer cells. As this is the most critical form of cancer in women, adding some damson plums to our plate is never a bad idea.
- Aid in Sleep – Historically, damson plums have been praised for their ability to deliver a solid night of restful sleep. This is likely due to the high concentration of magnesium and vitamin C, both of which help to regulate sleep, but people still use damson plums as regulatory sleep aids, when you simply aren’t getting enough rest.
- Boost Immunity – The high level of vitamin C in damson plums makes it a very effective booster for your immune system, as vitamin C is one of the main lines of defense against illness, and it also stimulates the production of white blood cells by the immune system to scour the body and keep it healthy.
- Increase Bone Health – The optimal combination of minerals found in damson plums, including manganese, copper, iron, and phosphorous make it important for bone health as well, given that those minerals contribute to bone mineral density and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Adding damsons to your diet
Damsons can be consumed raw or can be used to make jams, jellies or chutneys.
Recipe for Damson jam
PREP: 10 MINS, COOK: 50 MINS, MAKES 4 JARS
900g damsons, stalks removed
900g golden granulated sugar
Knob of butter
Wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a oven at low temperature for 10 mins or until completely dry. If you want to use rubber seals, remove the seals and cover in just-boiled water. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons you’re going to use.
Put the fruit into a jam pan or a large, wide, heavy-based saucepan. Leave the stones in (see tip below). Add 150ml of water and bring it to boil. Put a couple of saucers in the freezer. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 mins or until the fruit is soft.
Tip in the sugar and stir over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, up to 10 mins. This step is vital – if you don’t dissolve the sugar, the bottom of the pan may catch and burn. Raise the heat, bring it to a full rolling boil, then boil for 10 minutes rapidly. Don’t stir until the setting point of 105oC is reached. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the jam by spooning a little onto a cold saucer. Wait for a few seconds, then push the jam with your fingertip. If it wrinkles, the jam is ready. If not, cook for a few more minutes and test again with another cold saucer. Once that reached 1050C or setting point, stir the jam thoroughly.
Remove from the heat, skim off any excess scum, then stir a knob of butter into the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for about 15 mins, so that the fruit can settle – if you decant the jam too soon, all the fruit will sink to the bottom. Pour into sterilised jars, label and seal.
Recipe for Damson, Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Prep time – 20 mins, Cook time – 20 mins, Total time – 40 mins
For the damsons, apple and blackberry filling:
1 pound damsons (500g) or plums
300g apples (about 2-3)
200g blackberries and/or blueberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
For the oat and coconut topping:
2 cups (200g) whole almond
2 cups (200g) oats
3 tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (110ml) maple syrup – 2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (356°F) and grease a baking tin with coconut oil.
Place the almonds into a food processor and blend until it becomes a fine flour . Pour the flour into a bowl and add the oats and a pinch of salt.
In a small pot, heat the coconut oil. Once it’s completely melted, add the maple syrup, cinnamon and stir well. Pour the sweet coconut oil, mix over the oats and almonds. Mix it well with a spoon, so that a sticky and crumbly oat topping is obtained.
Now wash the damsons and remove their stones. Peel the apples, remove their stones and slice them. Wash the blueberries and blackberries.
Place the fruit into a large skillet and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Heat everything over medium heat, until it starts to bubble slightly. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes.
Pour the fruit into the baking tin and cover it with the oat-almond mix, using your hands to spread it evenly.
Bake the crumble for about 20 minutes, until the oats are starting to get a bit brown on top.
Remove it from the oven and serve immediately while still hot.
Damson does not contain any side effects when taken in food amounts. It may cause allergies in certain individuals.
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