Damsons are a type of plum that are especially good for wine making because of their distinctive rich flavor and high sugar and tannin content. The egg-shaped fruits are about the size of an olive and have dark blue to almost black skin and yellow-green flesh that usually clings to the stone. Damsons are native to Europe and Asia but were brought to the American colonies from England before the American Revolution and now grow wild in some areas of the US. My paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, includes one recipe for damson wine in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines.
Damson wine in the words of my grandmother:
Gather the fruit, dry, weigh, and bruise it, and to every eight pounds of fruit add one gallon of water; boil the water, pour it on the fruit scalding hot. Let it stand for two days; then draw it off, put it into a clean cask, and to every gallon of liquor add two and one-half pounds of good sugar. Fill the cask. It may be bottled off after standing in the cask a year. On bottling the wine, put a small lump of loaf sugar into every bottle.
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