First of all you need your fruit, and for me it's a matter of frugal principle not to buy it. So, if like me, you've only got a limited space to grow fruit and veg and aren't self-sufficient...
- get out into the country lanes for elderflowers, blackberries, sloes, rosehips, crab apples etc.
- ask friends, family and colleagues if they have any surplus homegrown produce. Promise them some of your jam or chutney! This year I've had gooseberries, damsons, apples and plums given to me...and I've got tomatoes and sloes coming later.
Rinse the damsons, then place in a large pan with a slug of water (about 100ml) Look at the lovely colour!
...simmer away for about 20 minutes, occasionally stir to prevent burning. They turn into a mushy soup like this....
Careful because it's now very, very hot and you're going to sieve it. I use a wooden spoon to press it firmly through the sieve. The good thing is that all the stones are removed without having to fiddle about. Throw the stones and skins away. Weigh the resulting fruit pulp - for every pound of pulp you add the same weight in granulated sugar. Cook on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, then a higher heat for approximately 30 mins until setting point is reached. Trust me, you can tell when it's done - it starts to turn gelatinous on the spoon and sides of the pan. Pour into sterilised jam jars. 1lb of pulp makes about 2 jars.
Let me know if you've any ideas on recipe combinations...maybe the addition of port for a Christmas version?