Saturday, 7 August 2010

Sloe Gin

Lots of other people seem to be making sloe gin these days but where are all these sloes to be found? The other week I came across this bush which was covered in bloom covered purple berries, could these be what I'm looking for? Even after looking on the net I'm not convinced that they are what I want them to be. Those in the know say that the berries contain a stone and very little flesh. These berries do indeed have a stone inside, so can anybody confirm whether this is a sloe. Still there's lots of time to make my mind up because the best time to pick the berries are after the first frost.


  1. They look like sloes to me Debbie.

  2. They definitely look like sloes but need to ripen up a bit more. They make fantastic jam but you do need a lot of them - happy hunting!

  3. They sure look like sloes. Small sloes are sloes and big sloes are bullaces. The wood has pretty sharp thorns on it, which may help you identify the sloe or blackthorn tree.

    They do need to ripen a bit. The idea of harvesting them after the first frost is 1) they're ripe by then and 2) the frost 'blets' the fruit (softens it and splits the skin).

    I pick mine before the first frost because a good blackthorn tree is coveted and you may come to pick the fruit and find someone beat you to it! If you stick the fruits in the freezer for a couple of days it does the same thing.

    If you pick the sloes in October, freeze them and make them into sloe gin now, it will be ready to drink this time next year. That's why everyone is on about sloe gin at the moment - last year's sloe gin is ready!

    If you want a recipe (basically gin, sloes & sugar) or other sloe recipes, email me and I'll give you what I have.

    Don't forget crabapples, elderberries and blackberries - you can bulk out sloe jelly with other fruits. Crabapples give much needed pectin to jams and jellies. Good luck with your harvest!