Damson compote

Damson compote

Damson compote

Damsons, Damsons everywhere!

I have a love hate relationship with damsons. I love it when these small, plump, purple gems start to fall from the trees and I begin to think about all the compote, chutney and jam which I “plan” to make with them.

I start off keenly, making pans of this glorious compote, eating it daily and storing tubs of it in the freezer, but after a few batches of picking out all the stones, I must admit my enthusiasm does starts to wane. More and more fall from the trees and, before long, every visitor is being sent home with a bagful.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a damson tree or have a friend who is happy to offload the odd bag or three, I recommend that you try this yummy compote recipe. It combines wonderfully with yoghurt, my favourite’s vanilla, and a scoop of granola. A bowl of this in the morning sets you up perfectly for the day. If you are feeling more indulgent you can always serve it warmed and poured over vanilla ice cream. The adventurous among you may like to try it in a Bakewell tart, by just replacing the jam with the slightly tart damson compote. I guarantee you won’t return to a normal Bakewell tart again.

The recipe is simple; the one thing to remember is that damsons as generally quite sour so they do need a bit of sugar to help them along. I normally taste the compote once it has cooled slightly and pop in a little more, if needed. If you don’t have access to damsons, you can always replace them with plums, but be sure to reduce the sugar slightly to 40/50g, You can also cut out the stones before you cook them to save you a job later on.


  • 500g Damsons (washed)
  • 75g Light brown sugar (if you have a sweet tooth increase to 100g)
  • 75ml water
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Cooking it up

1. Now for the very easy part; put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pan and pop on a high heat.

2. Once bubbling away, reduce to a medium heat and let the damsons breakdown, watch the colour change to a beautiful vibrant purple. Stir occasionally to help the damsons fall apart. This should take between 20 and 25 minutes.

3. When you see stones floating to the top as you stir the compote and most of the damsons are no longer whole, take the pan off the heat.

4. Let it cool slightly and then the fun task of picking out the stones with a fork and spoon begins. When you get into your stride it actually doesn’t take that long.

5. Before you transfer the rich purple compote into a container just test the sweetness in case you want to add more sugar. Store in the fridge but it does freeze very well so make a big batch and enjoy your damson compote all year round!

If you are looking for alternative ways to serve your compote checkout this little beauty, warm damson compote served on cold vanilla ice cream with crunchy caramelised walnuts.



The baker. Some may say a jumping bean…. definitely never short on energy. Gemma loves to cook and can normally be found whipping up a culinary delight in the kitchen or deep in the veg patch.

1 Comment


  1. […] this year has seen us get a bumper crop of damsons. In fact, I can’t remember ever making so much damson compote! It’s been a staple in the house for a couple of weeks now so I’ve needed to find a twist on […]

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