Making bullace cheese

This isn't actually 'cheese'. It's a very firm jam which is often eaten with cheese, like membrillo.

I picked about 2lb of bullaces (small sour plums similar to damsons and sloes) from a tree behind my house.

Bullaces are meant to be ripe in September/October, but many of them had already split or withered on the branch so I picked them now (end of August).

Bullaces in a bowl

Bullaces are bigger than sloes but smaller than damsons.

Bullace size

Making the cheese really just involves boiling these down and adding tons of sugar.

First boil

I washed the bullaces and put them in enough water to cover.

In the pan

Then gently brought it to the boil. This looks pretty gross. The skins of the fruit will start splitting, exposing the green insides. They look like big alien eggs.

Skin splitting

The water will take on the colour of the skins. It will go from a nice rosé colour to an increasingly dark red.

Red water

At first this didn't smell very good, but it took on a fruity, festive aroma like mulled wine after a bit.


After about an hour, I mashed the liquid and pulp through a sieve and discarded the skins and stones.

I got about a pint of liquid.

Second boil

At this point the liquid tasted very sour, about as sour as a lemon. I like licking lemons so this suited me!

Back in the pan, I warmed it up and added 500g of sugar. This is a ton of sugar, about two bowls. I honestly didn't think it would absorb but it did easily.

Nice colour

After this it tasted really sweet, but as I kept boiling it, it got sour again. It also looked kind of sparkly.

I continued boiling it for another hour or so. I wasn't really sure when it was ready, and I probably overdid it. By the end it was very dark, sticky and shiny, like a tarpit or an oilslick.

More like an oilslick now

Coating a spoon


I let it cool down a bit and then put it into two shallow tupperwares. It was super shiny and smooth and satisfying to pour.

In the tubs

After it set and cooled in the fridge, it's firm, sticky and kind of granular on the inside. It still has a very sour kick so you wouldn't want to eat it on its own!

If you liked this then you could also check out AtomicShrimp's go at bullace jam. His site and youtube channel are cool.