Shropshire Prune is a delight to the eyes with its froth of white blossom in late spring. Cropping in September is worth the wait for its marvelous tart flavoured fruit. It makes incomparable jam, compotes and crumbles and after being dried into a prune, it can be an excellent ingredient in savoury dishes as well. You can also make your own Damsom Gin. Simply delicious.
Prune damsons give a good crop and last well on the tree and can be picked from September onwards. Once tasted, a Shropshire Pune damson is not forgotten. This is a very old English variety, and so you can rely on this hardy tree to thrive in the North. Damsons are a great source of food to birds, bees and wildlife which is very important with so many in decline.
A small hardy tree, it is more tolerant of soil and site conditions although it does prefer sun. It is generally far less susceptible to disease than a regular plum and requires little maintenance although it will thank you for a little mulch, compost or manure in spring. Stone fruit should be pruned in summer to but only prune when necessary to remove dead or diseased wood or if you require a more tidy shape.
History: Shropshire Damson Prune
Damsons, it is said could be found as far back as ten thousand years ago in history. One of the first domesticated trees, they existed in large growths around Damascus. Then on to Rome and hence to our shores.
The mists of time have swallowed information about this tree’s parents. There is a reference to it from the 1670’s, when prunes were a very widely used winter food, naming it as the Shropshire Prune; these days the name Damson Prune is more common. However as we live and grow our trees here in Shropshire we still hold onto its Original name.