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Talkback: It's sloe gin time

Hi, I have noticed that the sloes in the North West are pretty sparse this year, has anyone else? Can any one recommend any other good sites for sloes or sweet chestnut up here?
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  • I'm almost tee-total, but do love to make and have the odd slurp of sloe gin. Though the person who provided me with the sloes has moved away, so I have had to make damson gin this year. I am now wondering if I should grow my own. Would it take years for a plant to yield sufficient berries to make a small brew? Didn't know about the freezing thing. Though I don't mind sitting on an afternoon pricking the fruit, I find it quite relaxing.
  • Me and my sister started off our first attempt at Sloe Gin about 6 weeks ago. Do we strain it before re-bottling and when will it be drinkable and when really nice! Next year we will take your advice and wait till after a frost to collect the fruit. Thanks.
  • Yes, it comes in to bearing speedily - I reckon we had our first very useable crop from the tiny 30cm tall or so rooted 'sticks', after about 4 0r 5 years.

    I must admit I never filter my sloe gin, but suspect that those that need things to look great might well do so!! If there is a bit of sediment - all the more likely if you do my zap in the freezer method cos things then get a bit squashy!!! - then it settles to the bottom and give a clear drink...you can always use the 'dregs' on vanilla ice cream!!

  • I picked some sloes end of summer, then found on a website that I should wait until after the first frost, so I threw them on the compost heap. Very stupid I read now, I should have put them in the freezer. We planted three rows of mixed hedge, wild roses, sloes, hazelnut and some other things. Mainly for the birds. Does anybody have some recommendations on what I could add to my hedge?
  • freeze the sloes after picking and your gin will be ready in half the time.
  • We picked some sloes this year in early August in Colchester while staying with family. They are now maturing quite nicely. We got some damsons from the Lune valley (South Lakes) the year before last, made some gin and forgot about it until a month ago - just the thing after a frosty morning's digging (or even just plain damp!)
  • But what is the recipe for sloe gin!
  • Hi i got a lakemont grape vine this week. i live in the north east of england it is cold in winter & i would like to grow my vine in my garden. What would i need to keep it warm in winter i have 2 green houses, gilbert
  • Picked berries in County Durham in September, and popped them in freezer for 2 days before using. Went back to the bushes after the 1st frost, and they were shrivelled up-glad I picked them when I did!

    Recipe: 1lb berries, 8oz castor sugar, 1 litre gin. Prick berries, put in an empty bottle, add sugar - this should take you to about half way up the bottle. Top up bottle with gin, seal bottle. Shake once day for a week, to dissolve sugar. Store for at least 3 months in COOL DARK place.

    Stored my first bottle near to a radiator, and it exploded - berries everywhere, and a very sticky carpet! Now making a massive batch in a demi-john.

  • We have zillions of sloes down here in HAmpshire, and I want to know are they 'past it' when they shrivel a bit, they were quite plump till the frost.
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