It is unlikely to eat damsons right off the tree due to excessive tartness, but when is the right time to pick damsons? There are specified harvesting schedules for damsons but the most preferred months are August, September, and October yearly. However, you must ensure the bad late frost doesn’t damage the blossom.

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In extreme weather, it gets hard for even trees to survive, so the fruit must be picked at the right time by identifying its skin color, texture, and taste altered from unripe to ripen. Certain other aspects decide when you should pick damsons, such as using them as fruit, cooking, or making jams. But waiting until the fruit texture turns soft and its color gets deep purple is good.

Here is everything that will help you understand the harvesting period of damsons.

What Months Are Suitable to Pick Damsons?

Damsons are ready to pick in late summer but during or before autumn in the months between August to October. However, the fruit develops its best flavor if you let it ripen on trees. If the damson has a gentle and soft texture, it is fully ripe, and you can pick the tree several times.

To understand the harvesting schedule thoroughly, you must understand the whole growth timeline. Usually, damson trees are planted in winter such as November, December, to March. As these trees are self-fertile, they can reproduce without needing another damson tree by their side.

The reproduction and growth phase isn’t complicated, but patience is necessary because the process can take enough time. From planting to fruit stage, the damson tree takes almost 15 years.

The onset of April is the sign of full bloom on the Damson tree with white flowers, and when the tree starts to grow fruits, you will see plenty of ovoid-shaped fruits hanging.


How to Know Damson Fruits Are Ready to Be Picked?

An unripe damson has green color, but over time, it will evolve to a blue back color with a unique size and shape. A ripened damson seems more like plums, but the harvesting period for plums differs from damsons even though both have a close relationship. You can pick plums earlier between July and September.

How to Know Damson Fruits Are Ready to Be Picked

A fully ripened damson has different skin colors, textures, and tastes, which clearly indicates that fruits are ready to be picked.

  • The color of the fruit will be deep purple with blue and black tones.
  • The texture is a solid indication that the fruit has ripened. Upon squeezing, the fruit will feel soft to the touch.
  • Lastly, the taste of damson is the final sign to show if the fruit is ready to eat. The tartness of fruit reduces and becomes a more sweet taste. At the same time, an unripe damson has a more acidic taste.

When picking damsons, you must remember that once you have picked the fruit, it will become softened and ultimately overripe to rot in the end. So, before picking damsons, plan the procedure to use or store them.

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Do Damsons Ripen Off The Tree?

After picking the damsons from trees, they ripen over time faster. The texture of fruit turns from hard to too soft. It will start to rot unless consumed in good time. That’s why it is always good to place ripened fruits in the fridge right after picking them to preserve them from being overripe.

If you want to store damsons for longer, it is recommended to freeze the fruit. These are safe in the freezer for up to three without losing taste.

How Can You Ripen Damson After Picking?

The first thing you must know is How Long Damsons Take to Ripen? Usually, the white flowers fully bloom in late spring, and the fruit takes roughly 2 to 4 years to offer full harvest and ripened fruit, but you must notice its color to make a final judgment.

Sometimes the fruits fall off the tree, and all you can do is ripen them on your countertops. Keeping the unripened damsons inside a paper bag with apple or banana is best to speed up the process.

Also, the ethylene gas produced by these fruits will also help in the faster ripening of fruit.

Damson plums take 140 to 170 days to ripe at home. Some fruits are suitable to be picked earlier and ripe within 75 days, while others take up to 120 days to fully ripe.

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How to Store Damsons After Picking?

Storing damsons at room temperature is recommended to prevent them from rotting or overripe. Once they are ripe, you can refrigerate them in a bowl covered with Glad Press n’ Seal. In a freezer, they can remain fresh for three months.

However, cooking them or preserving them in the form of jellies, jams, and other edibles is much better.

How to Store Damsons After Picking
  • First, remove the pits from the plums and cut the fruit into pieces to preserve damsons in jars.
  • Keep the plums, water, and sugar in the oven or heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Let the mixture boil and then reduce the heat.
  • Billing it at 220 to 225 degrees is recommended until it gets a jelly-like consistency.
  • Add the jelly to sterilized jars and secure them with the lids.


Can You Pick Damsons Early?

Yes, you can pick them up early to leave them on countertops for some time. This duration will allow the fruit to be ripe after a few days. Storing them in a brown paper bag is the best solution if you want them to be ripe quickly off the tree.

What is the difference between Damson & Plum?

Plums are rounded, while damsons have an ovoid or egg-like shape. Also, the plums have grooved longitudinal seams. In contrast, the seams on damsons are hard to notice.

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Final Thoughts

Damsons ripes normally in the months between August and October. But they can also ripen off the tree, which often confuses some people. For making damson gins, you can pick them before they ripen, but to get a sweet and less bitter taste, it is good to pick damsons when they ripen fully, or you have cooked them properly.