Sunday, 14 September 2008

How to make sloe gin

Pick over your sloes - remove any split, decaying ones, etc, remove leaves and twigs. Prick each sloe once; use a darning needle or skere. For a truly authentic sloe gin, remove a thorn from the tree from which you harvested your sloes, and use that. a lovely way to spend an hour in the autumn kitchen. Place the prepared sloes in a wide necked jar or similar - I use Kilner jars. Fill the jar 1 /3 full. Add sugar - white granulated, about 2 -3 ounces per jar. Bit more if you like it sweeter, less if you don't or none at all. I often make mine without as I like it that way too. Cover with gin - cheap gin is fine, as the flavour of the sloes predominates. Put on a well-fitting lid, and lable. Pop the jar in a cool, darkish place, and shake once or twice a week. It will soon turn a beautiful shade of purple, and is ready by Christmas.

Sloe gin is one of the highlights of the kitchen year for me - making it and eating it! After many experiments, I have come to the conclusion that it is the best thing to do with a sloe - the incredibly tart and sour fruit of the blackthorn tree. they are just starting to fully ripen now, and ready for the picking. Quite early this year, but all round, it seems to have been a bad year for them. We diddn't see a single on up on bulbarrow the other day, our usual foraging spot. Yesterday, however, we had to pick up soem bales from a friend; she had just ahd her lane trimmed back at the edges, including part of a blackthorn - now lain on the grass, awaiting burning, it was smothered in big, juicy, ripe sloes. Great harvest, very easy picking too. We stopped on the ay hoem to pick up some gin, and I spent a happy hour in the kitchen making it, ending up with 4 pints of sloe gin for Christmas; we never manage to keep any over till next year, but I can't see any vast improvement in the odler stuff I have tried, so we drink it when it's ready. I've also tried the gin-soaked sloe in chocolate thing, but it's more trouble than it's worth - fiddly to do, then ahve to avoid the stones whilst eating them. Another idea is to make "slider" - use the gin infused fruits to steep in cider; bet that's strong, might give it a go this year. :)

No comments: