Damson | What is Damson Fruit | Damson Plum | What are the Health Benefits of Damson Fruit | Varieties of Damson | Uses of Damson Fruit | Damson Fruit Nutritional Value
The damson or damson plum (Prunus domestica subsp. insititia, or sometimes Prunus insititia) is an edible drupaceous fruit, a subspecies of the plum tree. Sometimes called the Damask Plum, damsons are commonly used in the preparation of jams and jellies. The plum spirit slivovitz is made from fermented damson fruit.
The term “damson” is often used to describe red wines with rich yet acidic plummy flavors.
The name damson derives from the Latin prunum damascenum, “plum of Damascus”. Damsons were first cultivated in antiquity in the area around the ancient city of Damascus, capital of modern-day Syria, and were introduced into England by the Romans.
The damson was introduced into the American colonies by English settlers before the American Revolution and are regarded as thriving better in the eastern United States than other European plum varieties.
Partially self fertile but pollination by another damson, gage or plum will maximise yield.
Grown on St Julien A root stock for an ultimate height of 12-15 feet but can easily be kept at a height of 6-8 feet.
Supplied as a bare root tree pruned to approximately 4-5 feet tall (including roots).
The damson is identified by its oval shape (though slightly pointed at one end), smooth-textured yellow-green flesh, and skin from dark blue to indigo. It is similar to the “bullace”, also classified as Prunus domestica, which is a smaller, round plum with purple (or yellow) skin. Other types of Prunus domestica are also similar, and can have purple (or yellow or red) skin.
The tree blossoms with small, white flowers in early April in the Northern hemisphere and fruit is harvested in late August or early September.
Varieties of Damson Fruit:
A range of varieties of damson are available, with some such as ‘Merryweather’ and ‘President Plum’ being more appropriate for eating when ripe straight from the tree while varieties such as ‘Farleigh’ benefit from cooking.
* Damson Farleigh
* Damson Farleigh
* Damson Langley Bullace
* Damson Merryweather
* Damson Shropshire Prune
Uses of Damson Fruit:
>> Damson wine is a favourite among some people. Damson gin is made like sloe gin, although less sugar is necessary as the damsons are sweeter than sloes.
>> Damson is used to make slivovitz, a distilled plum spirit made in slavic countries.
>> The skin of the damson can be heavily acidic, rendering the fruit unpalatable to some for eating out of hand. Because of this acidic, tart flavour, damsons are commercially grown for preparation in jellies and jams.
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