The fruit for this jam should be freshly gathered and quite ripe. Split, stone, weigh, and boil it quickly for forty minutes; then stir in half its weight of good sugar roughly powdered, and when it is dissolved, give the preserve fifteen minutes additional boiling, keeping it stirred, and thoroughly skimmed.
Damsons, stoned, 6 lbs.: 40 minutes. Sugar, 3 lbs.: 15 minutes.
A more refined preserve is made by pressing the fruit through a sieve after it is boiled tender; but the jam is excellent without.
Bake separately in a very slow oven, or boil in a water-bath (see page 332), any number of fine ripe damsons, and one third the quantity of bullaces, or of any other pale plums, as a portion of their juice will, to most tastes, improve, by softening the flavour of the preserve, and will render the colour brighter. Pour off the juice clear from the fruit, strain and weigh it; boil it quickly without sugar for twenty-five minutes, draw it from the fire, stir into it ten ounces of good sugar for each pound of juice, and boil it quickly from six to ten minutes longer, carefully clearing off all the scum. The jelly must be often stirred before the sugar is added, and constantly afterwards.
Pour the juice from some damsons which have stood for a night in a very cool oven, or been stewed in a jar placed in a pan of water; weigh and put it into a preserving-pan with a pound and four ounces of pear-mains (or of any other fine boiling apples), pared, cored, and quartered, to each pound of the juice; boil these together, keeping them well stirred, from twenty-five to thirty minutes, then add the sugar, and when it is nearly dissolved, continue the boiling for ten minutes. This, if done with exactness, will give a perfectly smooth and firm preserve, which may be moulded in small shapes, and turned out for table.
To each pound clear damson-juice, 1 1/4 lb. pearmains (or other good apples), pared and cored: 25 to 30 minutes. Sugar, 14 ozs.: 10 minutes.
When the fruit has been baked or stewed tender, as directed above, drain off the juice, skin and stone the damsons, pour back to them from a third to half their juice, weigh and then boil them over a clear brisk fire until they form a quite dry paste; add six ounces of pounded sugar for each pound of the plums; stir them off the fire until this is dissolved, and boil the preserve again without quitting or ceasing to stir it, until it leaves the pan quite dry, and adheres in a mass to the spoon If it should not stick to the fingers when lightly touched, it will be sufficiently done to keep very long; press it quickly into pans or moulds; lay on it a paper dipped in spirit when it is perfectly cold; tie another fold over it, and store it in a dry place.
Bullace cheese is made in the same manner, and almost any kind of plum will make an agreeable preserve of the sort.
To each pound of fruit, pared, stoned, and mixed with the juice, and boiled quite dry, 6 ozs. of pounded sugar: boiled again to a dry paste.