Turned into Squirrel Nutkin…or Old Mother Hubbard (only my cupboard is certainly not bare). Only since moving to the sticks have the seasonal changes in the hedgerows become so apparent and lure of foraging for food for free is too appealing.
I have never paid much interest to these little blighters….Sloes, the fruit of the Blackthorn tree. Unpalatable direct from the tree, they are intensely bitter. I hear some sugar and a litre of gin sorts that out though, so we are giving Sloe Gin a whirl. Add it to the growing collection of Blackberry Vodka, Rhubarb Schnapps and Apple and Cinnamon Schnapps, and I think we will be fine if we get snowed in again this winter!
It is suggested that the best time to pick sloes is after the first frost, as this reduces the bitterness, but who know when this will be and whether other eager hunter gatherers will have got their first (doubt it!), so we’ve picked them already and stuck them in the freezer overnight instead.
As usual, far too many sloes were picked, about 4, so we also now have Sloe and Apple jam, and the rest were given away to other experimental gin makers…..
The recipe is as follows, you need to shake it every couple of days for the first month, then leave it for 3 months (in time for Christmas) to a year to mature.
70cl Cheap Gin (I used Tesco value)
100g Granulated sugar
2-3 drops almond essence (optional)