20 September 2020

Eating SIXTEEN year old home-made Damson Jam (@NLi10)

 Jam is a weird substance.  It's essentially fruit and sugar with all of the bugs boiled out, mushed into air-tight jars and stashed away for emergencies.  I'm sure Jam has existed for thousands of years, ever since humans wondered what to do with all the left over fruit at the end of the season.  

Honey is nature's equivalent.  Bees have figured out how to make flower jam, and it's so utterly incorruptible that edible honey has been found in the pyramids.  Probably wouldn't taste great, but technically edible.

Which brings us to this jar of forgotten jam that we found when clearing out some cupboards.  It was made in the year we moved into this house - 16 years ago.

Damson jam is a fairly acquired taste, it's a little like plum, and a little like fig/prune.  My hunch is that these damsons came from my grandparents garden.  I've little doubt that as they moved out of that council house around a decade ago that the tree has gone and been replaced with something far less exciting.  This Jam has outlasted them all.

And it's dark.  Once you break through the paper seal on the top, and get through the far too dry to eat layer attached to it you do get a smell of fruit, but it's far stickier than any normal jam you'd buy.  The darkness for once isn't my photography skills though, it's like it just sat there brooding since 2004.

It doesn't really spread, its too sticky for that and even though these nice holiday scones were a little crumbly in the first place any attempts to distribute it evenly were futile.

But - the flavours are still there.  A deep plum-like flavour, that definitely brings back memories of fighting through the wasps to get to the fruit on my grandparents tree.  And the stickiness isn't a problem once you are eating it, it's more like a really soft sweet than a really tough jam.  And the aftertastes I was worried about are not there - this is well made jam with nothing present to go off - just the natural things and some sugar to keep you coming back to the jar.

So - the verdict is that this will get eaten.  I'm sure that it won't be the first choice of jam to present to guests, but it's certainly a vintage that like wine should be appreciated by those in the know.

While its not quite a part of a traditional cream tea (another excuse for a holiday scone pic!) I'm glad that it's survived it's storage and that I can once again enjoy the fruits from my families old garden.

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