Saturday, November 19, 2011

Booze Again: Homemade Damson Plum Liqueur

Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe. – Voltaire 

Beautiful deep red liqueur.
Two months ago my aunt’s plum tree was in full fruit. The truth is the plums were getting so ripe that the internal sugars were seeping out and making what looked all the world like sap from a pine tree. I’d never seen it to such an extent before. Voltaire would have most certainly been harvesting.

Not wanting her to miss the enjoyment of her bounty I picked a grocery bag nearly full (well over 5 lbs) and took them up to her. In return she was kind enough to ask me if I wanted any. I quickly agreed (of course) and went back for more. It didn’t take me long to pluck off two additional pounds.

This is 2 lbs of Damson plums.
Note the colour is clear before it infuses. It quickly changes.
What to do, what to do… There’s so much you can do with plums. They are excellent in baking, with meats or salads and preserved in jars. They also make an excellent liqueur, another common way to enjoy them.

I’m not certain what variety of Damsons they were, but on the whole Damson plums are known for their tart and acidic flavour. As such they usually aren’t a favourite to just pick and eat. That’s why they have uses in jams and jellies (with lots of sugar) and making the plum liqueur from Europe called Silvovitz.

So I opted for the booze. Liqueur is also easy to distribute as bottled gifts. 

This recipe doesn’t even require making a simple syrup. Just place it in the jar, shake and wait. I know it’s too late for this Holiday season (although some recipes age for only 1 month), but if you can get the plums you’ll be able to enjoy this liqueur in the cold, bleak days of winter.

It’s very smooth.

Homemade Damson Plum Liqueur
Yield: 6 cups before second straining; 5 cups afterward
Press the juice from the fruit without putting too much pulp
in the liqueur. You will need to strain a second time.
2 lbs Damson plums
2 cups sugar
2 cups vodka
1 cup grappa (white brandy, or regular brandy)
2 slices lemon peel, 1/2” wide x 3” long
2 1L Mason jars

Wash the plums well and pat them dry. This is especially important with any fruit you may purchase as it may be sprayed with pesticides. Remove the pits and cut into quarters. 

Cut the peel from the lemon making sure to get as little of the white pith as possible.

Divide the sliced plums between the Mason jars. Add the sugar, lemon peel, vodka and grappa. Seal the jars well and shake vigorously until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the jars in a cool, dark place for two months. I've read recipes that take 1 month so you could haveit for Christmas if you needed. Shake occasionally as you pass by. As the liqueur ages the colour will turn from clear to a very dark purple.

Place a strainer over a large bowl (I use a 8-cup measuring cup) and strain out the solids. Press the liquid from the plums with a spatula, and discard the pulp. Re-strain the liqueur again through clean cotton cloth until clear, and bottle.

The liqueur is ready now, but for best results let it age for another four weeks.


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1 comment:

  1. I do believe this is just what the doctor ordered. Have also been blessed with an over-abundance of damsons. Jam is lovely, but liquor's quicker, so they say!