More sloes than a very sloe thing

Ingredients for Sloe Gin
Ingredients for Sloe Gin

While were walking around the stone circle in Avebury, we came across a bush covered in sloes. Fantastic, we thought. More sloe gin on it’s way.

Despite the fact that they were possibly possessed with very druid-like greatness, we decided it wouldn’t be such a good idea to start picking them, after all we were on a site of very historical interest. We took to the road and looked out for more bushes.

A few miles up the road we took a turning to nowhere in particular and found not one, not two, but five bushes absolutely stuffed full of the most massive sloes I had ever seen. 😯

Maybe it was because we were in the south, maybe they get less rain and more sun. Who knows, but we filled a bag in no time at all – leaving the bushes still full for the next pickers.

Now we have 3 litres of sloe gin on the brew.

Sloe Gin brewing
Sloe Gin brewing

Oh and yes – I couldn’t wait until Christmas…. I had a little taste of the first batch I started. :yum: :yum: :yum: :yum:

Poor Sloe Berry Harvest

Sloes berries (the fruit of the blackthorn) seem to be very sparse this year. The mixed-up (wet) summer weather conditions must have resulted in a poor setting of the fruit.

We have found some though, but as this picture shows, picking them has required some extreme tree climbing!

Extreme sloe berry picking!  Pete, 6 feet up, a blackthorn tree that we hoped would support his weight...
Extreme sloe berry picking!
Pete, 6 feet up, a blackthorn tree that we hoped would support his weight...

Thanks to these determined tactics to harvest every berry we’ve seen we now have just enough to make a small quantity of sloe gin. It’ll be a special reserve bottling this year, we may only get 1 litre! A link to the recipe (from last year when we had a great harvest) can be found below…

The used sloes usually get thrown away, although we have tried making flapjack with some of the infused sloe berry flesh. This flapjack tastes great but tends to set poorly and disintegrates before you can get it in your mouth! 🙁 So this year’s alternative plan is to stir the flesh into some melted dark chocolate. Then pour this onto a sheet of baking parchment and break into chunks when set! :yum:

Making Sloe Gin (inc. Ingredients)

gin.jpg

Last year we collected a load of sloe berries to make some amazingly tasty sloe gin (check here for that). In fact it was so tasty that we’ve done the same again this year! Although with the wet summer this year the berries were much fatter. Yee ha, should be even tastier!!!

We are much later in the year collecting as well, but they say the berries are better after the first frost (it splits the skin and allows more juice to permeate into the gin)…

Here’s the recipe for those who are interested:

  • 700 millilitres of gin
  • 800 grams of sloe berries
  • 280 grams sugar

Just prick the berries and stir the sugar into the gin. We use a sealed demijohn and store it in a cool dark place. It needs to be turned every day to make sure those sloe juices come out!

Rock on Xmas and the 2007 Sloe Gin bottling!

Sloe Gin!

Not the fattest Sloe berries, but it has been a very dry summer. Which I guess also accounts for the berries being so ripe at this time of year. We picked 8 lbs of berries, a bit more than we needed (to account for some bad or slightly green ones) to make 6 pints of Sloe Gin. I liked this part of the recipe we followed best – “you’ll need about half a bottle of gin, so drink the other half immediately”! Hic! Xmas should be tasty this year! Hic!