Tis the season….. for picking sloes! Particularly Cotswold sloes, whilst walking the dog and celebrating your first anniversary.
The advantage of having a dog is that you are always ready with a handy receptacle for spontaneous foraging, namely, a poo bag. Unused of course. And in this case not an actual dog poo bag but a nappy bag, one of many kindly donated by the lady in the charity shop in Moreton when our dog conveniently decided to poop on the pavement outside. Jon’s idea of picking sloes is to pull off a small branch once you get bored. Then you can pick the sloes off later.
What can you do then with sloes you ask? Well I am sure there are many things, but the only thing really worth doing in my opinion is to make a batch of sloe gin. You should also buy a smaller bottle of gin. And tonic water. This is for making G+T’s. These are for drinking in the hot tub.
As with preserves in general, the recipe calls for few and simple ingredients, in this case just three. Sloes. Sugar. Gin.
Have you ever tried to prick the skin of, oh I don’t know, say 450g of sloes? Save yourself the trouble and freeze them first (Jamie Oliver’s tip). The skins will split allowing the juices out and you can use them frozen.
I sterilize my jars in a hot oven for 10-15mins, and the rubber seals in boiling for the same amount of time. I used two jars and halved the recipe so that I could divide 1litre between the two.
Lovely layers. Only wish I could have got a better photo.
According to the recipe I used, after much sitting and shaking, the gin will be ready, conveniently, just in time for Christmas. I was pleased to see that some of the red from the sloes is already bleeding into the gin. Having never made this before, it’s going to be a long two months before we get to taste the results and find out if it actually works. It will need to be strained into smaller bottles once it’s ready.
- 450g Sloes
- 225g sugar
- 1 litre gin
Prick the sloes all over with a metal skewer. Alternatively, freeze so that skins split. Place in sterilised jar. Add sugar and gin. Seal and shake well. Store in a cool dark place. Shake every other day for a week, then once a week for 2 months. Strain through muslin or fine sieve and bottle in sterilised presentation bottles.
Source, BBC good food.