Sloe, sloe, pick, pick, sloe

As well as finding bits of tupperware whilst out geocaching, you can also come across handy supplies of fruit. Blackberries are the obvious one, and they start to be ready for picking during August. August is also a good time to look out for good areas for sloes, the fruit of the blackthorn. What do you do with sloes? Well, the best thing to do is to make sloe gin. Like parsnips, sloes are best after the first frosts, so if you can wait for the frost to come that’s great. If not, start to pick them when they are ready (usually any time from September onwards) and simulate a frost by sticking them in a bag and popping them in the freezer for an hour or so. Damsons and bullaces can also be found in the wild, and they also work perfectly.

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If you fancy making some sloe gin, here is a recipe You will need:-

1lb sloes
8oz caster sugar
1 75cl bottle of gin (cheap gin will do absolutely fine)
15ml glycerin

Here’s what to do:-

1. Stalk, wash & prick the sloes, then put them in a wide mouth glass jar. If you’ve frozen them, you won’t need to prick them as freezing generally bursts the skin.
2. Dissolve the sugar in the gin, add the glycerine and pour it over the fruit.
3. Seal the jar and leave in a handy place where it can be shaken each each day for 1 month to extract the juice & flavour. Leave it for a further two months in a cool dark place.
4. Strain out, drain & discard the sloes. Taste the gin, sweeten it further if required, then bottle and keep for a further 6-9 months before drinking it.
5. Drink!

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