Picking and identifying Wild Damsons?

Post your recipes and tips for damson gin here

Moderators: SloeHoHo, Blackthorn

Ads
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Sep 2013, 17:39

Picking and identifying Wild Damsons?

Postby Ads » 17 Sep 2013, 18:38

Hello all

I'm new here but not to sloe gin etc. Last year I was lucky enough (I think) to find some wild damsons however they were a bit of a trek... this year I think that I have found some closer to home. I normally pick my sloes after the first frost (last year I seemed to wait forever to do so as it was late) but is this the same case for damsons?

Likewise has anyone got a definitive guide to what a wild damson looks like? I have attached a photo of the berries that I have recently found... they are bigger than near by sloes but share the same colour. I couldn't see any immediate thorns on the tree either so would I be forgiven to thinking that they are the coveted berry?

Image

spammeplease
Posts: 162
Joined: 07 Nov 2006, 17:39
Location: Stroud, UK

Re: Picking and identifying Wild Damsons?

Postby spammeplease » 21 Sep 2013, 12:45

I think there are 2 main things to consider, shape and taste.

Damsons tend to be more elongated, plum-shaped if you like, and are not unpleasant to eat. If the big sloes you found are more spherical like a sloe and bitter or astringent to taste, then they may well be Bullace. These often have no thorns, grow in the same places, and seem to make a final product that is nearly identical to Sloe Gin. Damsons often grow on small trees and create a more, um, creamy Damson Gin. There are all sorts of hybrids between sloes and bullace as well. So I would judge primarily by shape and taste.

As ever, these are guidelines rather than rules!

Ads
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Sep 2013, 17:39

Re: Picking and identifying Wild Damsons?

Postby Ads » 26 Sep 2013, 23:16

Thanks for the reply. I have a couple of leads now:

First I have found these:
Image
They are more purple in colour, have a green flesh and taste more like a plumb than a sloe. Ignore the smaller odd shaped one, it was from the same tree but I suspect it had grown like that between other fruit.

Then there is this one pictured next to a sloe for size comparison
Image
It looks much more like a sloe, again has green flesh and the taste isn't exactly sweet but not as bitter/dry as a sloe... sort of in between?

What do you think? Am I getting warmer in my search? Both fruits are rather round

ChrisR
Posts: 14
Joined: 19 Mar 2015, 16:20

Re: Picking and identifying Wild Damsons?

Postby ChrisR » 20 Mar 2015, 00:28

I think I have photos of all 3 "species" out there ... but I suspect that, like many plant groups, the plums hybridise readily! For what it's worth here are some photos of fruit and what I have called them, with my bog-standard white colander as scale :)

Standard / average sloes - a smidge under 10mm diameter on average:
Image

These are big sloes - they often grow in the same hedgerows as the smaller ones but they taste the same and the bushes look identical:
Image

Damsons - note they are about 20mm diameter and, although the photo doesn't show it well, most are slightly oval in shape:
Image

I don't have normal bullaces here - only the rarer white bullace - but here is a comparison photo of some mixed sloes and white bullaces:
Image

... and the white bullaces themselves - they average just over 20mm diameter and are round, not oval
Image

Hope that helps :)


Return to “Damson gin”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest