On our first foraging trip we collected elderberries and now have some wine fermenting away. Next came a hunt for sloes and to be honest they weren’t hard to find. Back to the same hedgerow that was packed with elderberries and there they were the plump, dark berries, just waiting to be picked.
And it wasn’t long before we had a couple of pounds in the tub.
Also known as blackthorn the sloe is a predecessor of the cultivated plum but is extremely bitter until mixed with sugar and gin to make one of my favourite winter drinks, sloe gin. You should pick sloes after the first frost (which was this morning in our case) but you can replicate this by putting them in the freezer. Then take a pound of sloes (prick them to help release their flavour), about half a pound of sugar and half fill your bottles topping up with gin until almost full, then seal. Leave for a couple of months, turning the bottles every now and then to mix up the ingredients. Perfect for a Christmas tipple!!
Here’s some tips on making sloe gin. Enjoy!