Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

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bonniethomas06
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Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280240 bonniethomas06
Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:59 pm

Hi all,

Last year, somehow when I lost my 'ish for a bit, I blinked and missed the damson/apple season. Not being great with fruit, I wondered if anyone could give me a rough idea about when I should be out foraging the hedgerows for damsons/plums/crab apples?

A blog I follow discussed picking wild cherries the other day, and I panicked :shock:

Rough ball park? August? September?
"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280242 ojay54
Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:17 pm

Around here(and it varies a bit from place to place,as wild prunus species are so easily hybridized,and it can vary in quite a small area) it's September time.As a kid I used to take string bags(showing my age) in the first and second weeks of the Autumn term,as I had a couple of miles walk across the fields to school and back,and damson cheese making was an important ceremony in our house.
Shouldn't really say this,but if Wiltshire damsons are a bit on the sparse side,a day/weekend trip covering SouthStaffs/South Shrops/North Worcs area should provide all you need,and be a nice getaway to boot.

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280243 Green Aura
Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:34 pm

I'd say late August/ September. Or not at all, up here. We've managed to kill two - due to the wind, we think. We seem to get really high winds just as the flowers come out and neither tree recovered.

But we've come up with a cunning plan - we've planted a new one in a pot and we'll keep it in the tunnel, over winter, then take it out after the winds have dropped.
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280248 MKG
Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:46 pm

My damsons and plums are beginning to ripen now - and I'm in north Notts. Ok - it's only bits of purple here and there, but it's definitely the burgeoning of ripeness. If you pressed me, I'd say that we'll begin harvesting in about two weeks and we'll have hit maximum "getmeoffthistreeness" by mid-August.

As a complete aside, bumble bees (and yes, most of them now have white-tipped tails) seem to be our major pollinators. I have seen not a single honey bee (in previous years we've seen hundreds over the pond) and less wasps than I have fingers. Hover flies are few and far between.

Mike
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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280275 ojay54
Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:53 pm

The only reason they can be so much earlier further North to here,that I can figure is this local hybridisation thing.Although mechanical hedge trimming has decimated the number of wild damsons round here,there are still miles of blackthorn and bullace,some of the remaining Damsons are very sour(even when they are ripe enough to fall) and they must be nearer to a bullace.

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bonniethomas06
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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280355 bonniethomas06
Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:02 pm

Thanks All, right, come mid august I am going out there and running wild.

I have had a great haul in the past and have a particular walk in mind. Delia's Damson chutney recipe was a total winner in our house last year - closest thing to Branston I have ever tasted. Can't wait!
"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280357 ojay54
Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:31 pm

Seeing as everything is amazingly early this year(see R.beans) and stacks of ripe blackberries,I came across this morning.I might have to move my timings to be nearer Mike's.Talking of Branston,I actually have recipe which is indistinguishable.(and one for Daddies ).

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280358 Odsox
Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:58 pm

I'd love your recipe for Branston OJ, I love Branston (and the (probably) now obsolete PanYan), I would like to make a sugar free version that tastes exactly like Branston.
Branston is 24% sugar.
Tony

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280359 ojay54
Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:56 pm

10 oz Carrots
10 oz Swede/Turnip Either or mix of both (I prefer Swede,but only 'cos I use what's left as a Swede Mash.)
8 oz Onion
8 oz Apples
5 oz Gherkins
6 oz Dates
8 cloves Garlic.

Chop all the above in cubes about Branston size. Crush the Garlic.

10 ozs Dark brown Sugar.
1 pt (scant) Malt Vinegar
2 fl oz Lemon Juice
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Mustard seeds
2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Salt
4 Crushed Cloves

Sling it all in to boil.Simmer for a couple of hours,the Swede takes the longest to soften,so when you test it,fish around for that.If it's too thin thicken it,if it's too light,get the black treacle out. Needs a while to mature. Enjoy.

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280363 Odsox
Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:17 pm

Thanks OJ, I've got just about all of that, except the swede and some of my immature cucumbers for gherkins.
The brown sugar I shall substitute with a mixture of dark honey and xylotol.
I'll let you know how I get on and what it tastes like.
Tony

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280366 ojay54
Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:17 pm

Up the carrot if you have to.,surprised if there wasn't a turnip/swede/fodder beet growing somewhere in the Irish countryside.If your substituting the sweetener (it'll be fine),do it late and to taste,just in case.
It occurs to me,it might be pretty good using red wine vinegar,but I've had a bit of coolant( 28 C here) so I may be being stupid.

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280371 Green Aura
Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:44 pm

Recipe nicked, thanks OJ.

I don't know if anyone's interested but we've recently bought a load of fruit trees, from a site called Lead the Good Life. £10 each and postage reasonable - even up here. They look pretty good, re-potted with a bit of food.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280374 ojay54
Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:02 pm

what are they Maggie,and what rootstock?

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280376 Green Aura
Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:11 pm

We've got three different plums - victoria, opal and czar, and an Elstar apple. I'm not sure what rootstock - I'd say semi-dwarfing. The Victoria is quite a bit taller than the others though. We wondered if they were seconds as they looked a bit bedraggled when we got them, but they look fine a fortnight later.

They have lots of other stuff too - pears, cherries etc
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Not missing plums/damsons again this year!

Post: #280413 Pumkinpie
Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:40 pm

Caught a estate agent eating damsons off the tree overhanging our car parking space.
The cheek of it!


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