The Londoner

Sloe Sunday

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Yesterday was a pretty unremarkable Sunday.
The weather wasn’t doing much of anything and the hedgerows were calling.
We pulled on boots ’n’ Barbours and marched out for a spot of foraging.

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Hedges all over Britain are heaving with goodness, and we wanted to grab our fair share before it all goes to the blackbirds.
The hit list?
Sloes for gin, blackberries for crumble.
If you’ve never made sloe gin, make this the year you do! It’s easier than you might think, and we’re being treated to an early, bumper season this year.
First though, you’ve got to collect them!

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The two adoptees! Hector (from Greece) and Socks from Bosnia (I believe) via these guys.

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Blackberries are probably the easiest and most widely foraged of all countryside fare.

They’re absolutely everywhere and it’s very difficult to go wrong when stealing blackberries. The bigger, blacker, and plumper, the better.

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Occasionally a few even make it into the baskets!

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But it’s hard to resist sharing with handsome devils like these around…

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Sloes on the other hand are significantly less delicious, when fresh from the bush.

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They grow on blackthorn bushes and look like blueberries, but aren’t as squidgy to the touch.

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You can pick pretty safely as they don’t really have any poisonous cousins.

Just watch out for the thorns!

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We brought along the fruits of last year’s labour to keep us going.

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Which probably didn’t do much to help picker productivity…

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We took our sweet time, and plucked from the hedges, chatting and laughing as we went.

Conversations punctuated by the occasional bellow and swear, from whoever had just caught their thumb on a prickle.

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Poor Harry! If only he weren’t so sloe, he might have gotten away!

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Thankfully he took it berry well.

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After hours and hours we still hadn’t filled the buckets of blackberries.

No-one could figure out why.

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It remains a mystery.

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We all polished off the last of our hip flasks.

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Grabbed a few final berries.

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And called it a day.

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Now, for the important bit!

How to turn your sloes into Sloe Gin.

You’ll need:

2kg of sloes

2litres of gin (nothing fancy, get the cheap stuff)

1kg of sugar (most people use double this, but I prefer a tart liquor. If you have a sweet tooth, double it.)

Ziploc bags

Funnel

Sealable bottle

Start by pouring your sloes into ziploc bags.

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Try not to make quite as much mess as we did!

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Don’t over fill them, you want the sloes to lay flat.

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Freeze until frozen, or overnight.

Remove from the freezer and thaw before the next stage.

(Here’s some we froze earlier.)

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Once they’re nicely defrosted, pour into your (sterilised) bottle.

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Add your sugar.

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Pour in your gin.

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Seal it up!

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Turn a couple of times, to mix it all up.

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Watch as the berries swirl and dance in sloemotion!

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Put it away somewhere dark & safe, away from any strong smells.

Turn the bottle every other day for a week, then once a week for 2 months (just in time for Christmas!) or, up to a year if you can wait.

When it’s ready, line a sieve with a piece of muslin or cloth and strain the gin through it. Pour the beautifully pink gin into little labeled bottles and put away. They’ll only get better in time, so you could even save some for next next Christmas.

When you’re ready to serve, you can pour it into little port glasses or serve in tumblers over ice.

Mum keeps hers in a decanter and is always ready to fill a hip-flask at the slightest provocation!

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If you’re wondering what happened to the rest of the blackberries?

They found a good home in my Blackberry & Toffee Apple Crumble, served with rivers of fresh custard.

Leading to an evening of fireside, horizontal recovery, with books in hand and snoring dogs warming our feet.


Have you seen these yet?


  • Looks like a wonderful Sunday to me!

    Heba xx || The HebaBloglovinInstagram

  • Meggan

    This is an absolutely beautiful post!

    Meggan
    http://www.cardiganjezebel.com

  • This looks like so much fun! A perfect fall activity. And yum, I can think of countless pies and sweets that would be made all the more delicious by those juicy berries!

    Lena Parker-Duncan – Graphic Designer and Photographer

  • I absolutely adore posts with your family! Could there be a better way to end a Sunday spent wandering the countryside than by making liquor? I think not.

  • flannery keenan

    My favorite of your blogs are the ones where you just tromp around in the countryside with your family, lovely job:)

  • This looks like so much fun!! And I’ve never made Sloe Gin but the recipe looks so easy that I’ll have to try it out for myself!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

  • These photos are so, so sweet. This looks like a really lovely day.

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

  • Love the photos, looks so much fun! Gosh it’s been years since I went picking sloes and blackberries in the fields round my hometown (the blackberries never seemed to make it home oddly enough). Wonderful post.

    Ellie
    MapleSyrupandTeacups.blogspot.com

  • Ash

    And now I know what that strange pink liquid in a crystal decanter on my late grandmother’s sideboard likely was. I wonder if sloes are available in the States…hmm.

  • I’ve never even thought to make Sloe Gin before, who knew it was that easy? This is such a gorgeous post too, the pics of your brother and girlfriend are utterly adoreable!! xx

    Laura | http://www.lovedbylaura.com

  • We made sloe gin for the first time last year and it is SO good! the long wait is worth it! lovely pictures as ever <3

    Summer Isn’t Over

  • That looks delicious! I am thinking of Christmas presents…for myself!

  • joie7994

    Last year I made Limoncello for Christmas gifts, I think I’ll give this a try this year! I’d love to get my family together for some similar shenanigans, that looks ridiculously fun.

  • Delicious! I have not started with my sloes yet (probably next weekend, I need to get more gin!) but I’m typing funny this morning – my finger is all swollen from a particularly nasty thorn picking blackberries yesterday!

  • fifi newbery

    Got such huge nostalgia for countryside living now. London never quite compares to home in the autumn.

    http://www.fifislookingglass.org x

  • Susan

    Glad you’re doing your bit to promote threatened hedgerows! We’ve already lost 1/4 of them – which means less nectar, insects, ancient species, and most importantly sloes!

  • I loved this post Rosie! It looks like you had a great time picking the berries and sloes. It’s great that you still had some in the end, when I do that I tend to eat absolutely everything immediately! I’ll keep that gin recipe in my mind, because it must taste so good. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Julia xx
    Wander around Paris with me! | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.fr/2015/10/parisian-wanderer.html

  • These photos are so lovely and atmospheric! This sounds like such a great day, I haven’t been blackberry picking in years but would love to do it again one day. Custard is looking so cute as usual!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  • ninegrandstudent

    My family have been making this for years, it’s also really good with vodka instead of the gin. Our recommendation is NOT to put too much sugar in at the start. Begin with around 750g, then add a tablespoon every week when you turn it. Seems to make it a bit smoother, and you can avoid adding too much sugar! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

  • This just captures autumn perfectly, I’ve always wanted to go berry picking and make fresh crumbles – lovely photos as always Rosie (maybe you need a series on blackberry portraits?)

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • What a lovely idea! Your dogs are so cute too x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

  • Oh this is so great! What a fantastic day.
    xo
    styleontheside.com

  • Beautiful pics, Rosie! I hope you have a lovely Sunday 🙂

    http://memoriesofthepacific.blogspot.com.es/

  • Anna D

    Sounds like the perfect Sunday! We spent ours at an apple orchard and immediately after turned our apples into sangria 🙂
    xx, anna
    http://www.lifewiththechampions.com

  • Rosie, these pictures look amazing!
    Beautiful post. I absolutely love your camera!

    http://natalyg.co.uk

  • Lucia Bradshaw Giusti

    Such a perfect day!

    I love your shots so much

    Lucia

    A new outfit on my blog:

    http://legallychic.org/outfit-paris-fashion-week-giovanna-nicolai/

  • Yes, these posts in the countryside with your family are some of my favorite too!! xoxo

  • What a fantastic Sunday and thanks for the recipe 😉

    http://www.majeang.com

  • Oooh this sounds amazing! But more importantly, what camera have you been using for these pictures cause they are SO beautiful, I love how little depth of field it has, perfectly dreamy and autumn-y hahah <3

  • I love sloe gin! Its amazing I am giving this a go! 🙂

    http://www.champagne-lifestyle.com/

  • Seems like you had a perfect autumn day! I wish there were places to pick sloes around here since sloe gin for Christmas sounds amazing!

    Ally
    Hustle & Whoa

  • Lovely post. 2 things we seem to have in common is that here in the Balkans people prefer to distil their fruit and I mean almost all fruits, rather than eat it (or so it seems) and also your sweet dog coming from Bosnia (where i am sat at the moment). bests from an expat blogger 🙂

  • love love love the photos… who took them? and what camera did they use? I’m a fan

  • Katie

    This sounds so delicious! Looks like you had a great time!

    Katie

    The last few days of my Italian adventure are up today!

    http://www.lamiabellavita.com

  • what a beautiful sunday with the family!

    http://www.thenewgirl.me

  • Wow, I wish I had such a huge amount of berry-trees at hand!

    http://www.thisisb.be

  • Natalia Spyridaki

    Lovely family times! You are so lucky to be able to escape the City! x

    Natalia – thewomaniwantobe.com

  • Kate

    Very cute photos! And I had no idea it was that simple to make sloe gin. Actually tempted to give it a go now! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • Your brother and his girlfriend are the absolute cutest!

  • Katie Hurlow

    Sloes sadly lacking round my part of Dorset but I’m going to attempt blackberry gin instead. You do look like you’ve been playing Ibble Dibble though.

  • I’m so glad this post is now working properly – when I checked in yesterday a lot of the photos weren’t showing!

    Such a fab family event. I always take advantage of all the Blackberries & my hubby loves Sloe Gin so I’m going to point him to your recipe!

    Hugs Adele xoxo

  • An ideal family day! Looks lovely 🙂 and can’t believe how easy it is to make sloe gin!!! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea’s Passions

  • Fave! Looks like the best afternoon.

  • Vanina

    Rosie, your blog is so entertaining – it’s muddy and posh, funny and honest. Thank you and your family for sharing your country posts, they are my favorite. Here in LA, I dare say, is too sunny; your posts from “home” quench my longing for green grass and trees, grey skies, cool air and mud.
    Wonderful photos as always, beautiful story telling, with the bonus of learning something new!
    I’m a fan! 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of Sloe, but it sounds really good! Great photos as always.

  • Once again, I love your family posts. They’re so heart-warming. Or was it the gin? Anyhoo, the pictures are priceless and always bring a smile to my face. Cheers!

  • Courtney

    The family farm blogs of yours are some of favorite! Love this 🙂

  • Loved reading this post! Looks like you had such fun. It’s lovely to see that you’re such a close and joyful family that really enjoy each other’s company.

    Beth x

    livingforthegoodlife.blogspot.co.uk

  • Kelly

    This looks and sounds amazing, what a fun day!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • I love posts like this, they really make me laugh! Poor Harry! Haha xxx


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