There’s a wonderful berry you can find in abundance along coastal paths and further in land. Its from the Blackthorn bush which landowners and farmers use to keep their cattle stock in their fields, helped by the long and very strong thorns. The best thing is that as they’ve been so commonly used we now have loads of free berries that can be added to flavour alcohol, make jelly and add to things like cakes and fruit salads. Until we took the opportunity on a warm September day to find and pick them we had no idea just how many there were. They are a gorgeous deep purple and look like small plums and sitting amongst the green leaves, so they’re easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. We managed to pick 4 lb’s of the fruit that day and had a great day in the sun by the sea hunting them out with the whole family. We got the kids hunting for pirates at the same time then ended up in the pub on the way home for a cold beer. It was a great day!
I’ve always ignored sloes as the only recipe I had was for gin, and following a very unfortunate alcohol poisoning incident at a young age I can’t even stand the smell of the stuff anymore. However, recently I’ve found a few recipes for sloe vodka and tonight we tried the results of our first batch. It should be left for at least 3 to 6 months to mature, but we’ve had a tasting at 1 month and the results are still brilliant. It’s a deep pink liqueur, which is sour, sweet and refreshing and I will never see a sloe in the same light again.