4 dessertspoons sugar
(I like my damsons reasonably tart but if you like them sweeter you can add more sugar)
I hadn't had stewed damsons in years and was delighted to see them in the greengrocers the other day. This serves three.
Put 350 fl oz water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the damsons and the sugar. Simmer for about ten minutes until they are starting to burst out of their skins. It's that simple.
Serve warm with warm custard or cold with cold custard. As a child I used to mix the damson juice with the custard to make great swirls of colour. When Mum used to make them for us we all used to save all the damson stones and then go through the counting rhyme (in theory to see who you were going to marry or what you were going to become) - “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief'. This was followed by when one would marry - This year, next year, sometime, never.
It was silly but we always did it. Some people then counted them again to find out other things:-
- What will I be (if you were a girl)?
- Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.
- What shall I wear?
- Silk, satin, cotton, rags (or silk, satin, velvet, lace)
- How shall I get it?
- Given, borrowed, bought, stolen.
- How shall I get to church?
- Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, cart.
- Where shall I live?
- Big house, little house, pig-sty, barn.