This  website is a celebration of damsons in general and the Shropshire Prune variety of damson in particular.

The Shropshire Prune damson is possibly the oldest known variety of damson in the UK, having been named as such on a piece of tapestry dating from the late 1500s that is housed in Shrewsbury museum.

The Shropshire Prune may even be the original variety of damson that was introduced to Britain by the Romans over two thousand years ago.

The Shropshire Prune, therefore, has been around for a long time.

This damson is a star in the kitchen, and can ‘turn it’s hand’ to a wide variety of both sweet and savoury dishes and drinks.

But also, it was an important cash crop for tenant farmers who would use the cash from the sale of their damsons to pay their yearly rent. Some families paid for their annual holiday with the money raised from their damsons.

The Shropshire Prune was also used to make dye for gloves, leather and for military uniforms. Its provenance is impeccable.

Many old varieties of fruit have disappeared, maybe some for good reason. For some time it looked like the Shropshire Prune would fade away too. But now there seems to be a growing interest in damsons in general and this little ancient damson in particular. What’s my evidence for this? Firstly there’s a buzz on social media about damsons. Secondly, several damson products have featured in the UKs culinary Oscars — The Great Taste Awards, and thirdly, some food and drink producers are naming this damson by variety. It really does seem like there is something stirring in the the damson world.

This website aims to promote the Shropshire Prune and celebrate both its provenance and its culinary distinctiveness.





4 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there,
    just happened upon your website while mooching around the internet for info about using damson’s as a dye. And winemaking; i have made wine with them before but not a great success, although people tell me that if i leave it for about 10 years it will be good!
    Have a number of ole damson trees in my garden and at present am trying to keep up with harvesting and distributing to jam-makers, but would like more info about your Project.

    1. Hello Julie,

      I’ve been making damson wine for about ten years now, with great success. I use a recipe from a falling-apart, but much-loved book by Berry. Don’t listen to those people who tell you that damson wine will be good only if you leave it for ten years! It’s not true. Here are a few nuggets I’ve gleaned from making damson wine:

      * it’s the easiest wine in the world to make
      * you don’t need to leave it for ten years — it’s good to drink in about 3 months after bottling
      * the longer you leave it in the bottle, undisturbed, the more the flavour develops
      * it doesn’t yield a ‘rough country wine’ flavour, but rather a smoothness that is a good balance of ‘edge’ and sweetness
      * my damson wine from 2009, which I am drinking now, tastes like a deep, dark Amaretto, so there’s a lovely almondy flavour to it
      * damson wine can be quaffed as it is (it’s strong though), or you can add it to gravies, sauces and incorporate into desserts

      You mention you have a few old damson trees in your garden. Though it really is the tail end of the season now, if you have any surplus damsons you can freeze them. They freeze very well: no need to give them any special treatment, just put them all into a bag or box and put in the freezer. They won’t stick together. And you can stone them afterwards if your recipe calls for it.

      I’ll be posting more info about the Shropshire Prune Damson project as time goes on. The move from one blogging platform to this site means that I need to re-format and upload the posts from the old site. So please check again.

      Thank you very much for leaving a comment.


  2. Hi Catherine

    Your timely appearance on Countryfile – Congratulations! – reminded me that I had meant to try making damson cheese since moving to Orleton. So I am having a go with some damsons from Terry Tandler’s trees and using a recipe from Dorothy Hartley. Interesting facts about Yorkshire damsons in her ‘Food in England.’ If you haven’t seen it I can lend – could drop it into the Boot.

    John and I planted a Shropshire Prune tree at the Old House. Two fruit this year as its only a baby.

    Cheers, Gill

    Cheers, Gill

    1. Hello Gill,

      Great to hear you’re going to give damson cheese a whirl. The pots of mine that appeared on Countryfile date from 2009 (!). I’ve noticed that damson cheese seems to get better with age. I wonder if there is some slow fermentation taking place in the mix as time goes by. The damson cheese that Ellie tasted was actually quite soft in the middle, almost like a ripe Brie in texture, and had tremendous depth of flavour. It was sweet but not too sweet, and if dark purple had a taste, that was it.

      I saw Lucy Worsley’s brilliant tv programme about Dorothy Hartley earlier this year, and I was wrapt! But I don’t have Dorothy’s book so I’d be very interested in having yours for a couple of days, thank you for offering it. If it’s a valuable edition maybe don’t drop it into The Boot until next we meet, when we can arrange a safe handover.

      Interesting that Terry has damson trees on his patch — he’s the man for heritage. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Old House had a few Shropshire Prunes down through the years.

      Look forward to seeing you and John soon,


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