The hedgerows around our house are offering us the double pleasure of blackberries and sloes at the moment.
Don't let these blueberry lookalikes fool you - they are not something to pick and eat from the bush... far too bitter.
But if you happen to have a litre of gin going begging, then it is simple to make a delicious liqueur with sloes. If you start now, you can be ready to serve at Christmas.
- Pick approx 500g of sloes from mid September through to October. Wash them.
- Prick each sloe a couple of times with a needle. (This lets the juices out and the gin in.)
- Find a glass jug or jar (which holds in excess of 1 litre)
- Add the sloes, 220g of caster sugar and 1 litre of gin.
- Stir/shake well and cover.
- Leave in a dark place and shake/stir every other day for one week.
- Now just shake once a week for 2 months.
- Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and pour into a sterilised bottle.
Christmas 2011 will hopefully see this on our table. You are welcome to drop by if you're passing.
Maybe I'll get another litre soaking in October and keep that for next year.
Sloes grow on the blackthorn bush, and are found in Europe, New Zealand and eastern North America
The fruits are best picked in late September and October, especially after the first frost.
Hope you can find some sloes to marinate or a local fruit to create a delicious tipple for the winter months. Love to hear if you do anything similar in your part of the world.