Posts Tagged ‘Spinosa’

Hedgerow Harvest Sloe Gin – a real winter warmer

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Now is the time to harvest the wild sloes that this year are in abundance in the hedgerows . Sloes (Prunis Spinosa) are the fruit of the Blackthorn whose pure white flowers herald the coming of spring The bitter blue black fruits with a blush of peacock blue make one of the most delicious traditional winter drinks.

You’ll need about a 1lb (500g), don’t strip the bush seek out a number of sources   making sure you leave some for the indigenous wild life, and remember to sow a few back into the hedges on the way home for future generations.

P1010146Hopefully you live in an area where the local farming community has not yet savagely cut back the hedges to the bare bones, removing all the winter foliage and berries. Inflicted annually, its a major contributor to the drastic decline of small mammals, wild birds, invertebrates and wild bee populations.

Remove the storks leaves and gently wash and dry the sloes, prick the sloes with a fork or for a quick method, get one of those pet grooming brushes, the one that looks like a porcupine, lots of fine wire spines, place the sloes on a tray and give them a gentle bashing. Place in large kilner jar or similar, add equal weight of sugar and about 75cl to a litre of gin. Seal and agitate daily until all the sugar has dissolved then leave it in a dark cupboard for 3 to 6 months, the longer its left the deeper the colour and flavours of almond, cherry brandy and blackcurrants.

Strain the contents through muslin and decant into bottles, at this point you can add more gin depending on what depth of flavour and colour you prefer.

Leave to settle for a couple of weeks, serve with tonic of straight over ice also great as a topping for vanilla ice cream.