Sunday, May 27, 2018

22 Sep

Sloe Berry Picking

sloesIn my last blog I mentioned that I too, had been bitten by the foraging bug. Tony Milne the horticultural expert from Gardening Direct had been discussing this topic on Saturday mornings gardening show on Radio BBC Essex with Ken Crowther.


Firstly before anyone sets out on a foraging trip I must stress the importance of identifying all your berries before you pick them. If you don’t know exactly what they are don’t pick them Some wild fruits are poisonous, so make sure you know exactly what you are picking; if you are unsure, don’t eat the fruit without finding out what it is.


So my friend and I, and our four children all set off on our mission for Sloe berries and we found plenty. Hopefully we have picked enough to make a couple of bottles of Sloe Gin and some jelly to go with our Christmas dinner.


The children managed to find the last of the blackberries but none of them made it home with us as they were eaten straight away.


The recipe for sloe gin that I am following is

450g/1lb sloes
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin


Take a litre bottle of cheap gin and dispense of half of it as you wish.

1.      Prick the skin of the sloes all over with a needle or fork (or see my freezer tip below) and drop into the half empty bottle until the gin reaches the top

2.      Add in the sugar, seal tightly and shake well.

3.      Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for two months.

4.      The sloe gin will now be a beautiful dark red and ready to drink, although it will still improve with keeping.

It does say to prick the berries all over to release the juice, however I have been recommended to put the berries in the freezer over night instead (which apparently also enhances their flavour). The freezing and defrosting cycle should hopefully split the skins saving me the pain stacking task of pricking them with a fork. I am also hoping that this will help with the fact that ideally you should wait until after the first frost before picking.

I absolutely love this picture of the kids on their hunt for berries, so I thought I would share it with you.

 Going on a berry hunt



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