A reliable source (my dad!!) told me it was a good year for Sloes, so we had a productive picking session around some country lanes not too far away on Friday.
I must admit I'd never have noticed the berries growing on the blackthorn bushes by the side of the road if they hadn't been pointed out. They seem very well disguised! But once you're up close they are very distinctive.
There's only one thing to do with these berries and that's to add them to gin. It's been a long time since I tasted this and I can't quite remember what it was like so I'll have a couple of months to wait before I can remind myself!
If the sloes haven't been out in a frost I have read a good recommendation to pop them in the freezer overnight to start releasing the juices. I didn't have to do this for mine but it's a useful tip and saves time pricking each berry with a fork.
Once you've done this you can start adding the sloes to the jars, a layer of sloes to a layer of sugar (I have seen recipes for both brown and caster sugar). Once the conatiner is full you can top it up with gin (this doesn't have to be any special brand of gin).
You'll need to turn the jar once a week and it'll need to be left for about 2 -3 months in a cool dark place.