At the end of last summer I did lots of city foraging (before Alys Fowler made it ‘cool’ to do so, I might add). On the common round the back of where I live there’s a plum tree, but sadly, in spite of borrowing ladders to climb and harvest – I found only a small handful of plums.
Sloes on the other hand, the black sheep of the prune family, were out in abundance. I only collected a small amount, because according to Wikipedia: ‘Sloes are thin-fleshed, with a very strongly astringent flavour when fresh,’ and I’ve never made sloe gin before. I didn’t want to ruin vast quantities of decent gin with icky fruit.
I froze my sloes, mascerated them (bashed them up a bit), added lots of sugar and gin, put the lot in a Kilner jar wrapped in brown paper to keep out the light, and left it in a cupboard.
This weekend I remembered I had it, and guessed it must be just about ready… I distilled the pink gin out and had a little taste. It had worked! The gin had been transformed into a glorious pink elixir of the gods.
But I still had the, now gin-soaked, sloes. It seemed a shame to throw them away, but were they actually edible? I had a little nibble of one, and it didn’t taste too bitter. So I destoned the lot, melted butter, sugar and syrup and stirred them in with a pile of oats, to bake and make flapjack.
Sloe gin and slightly boozy sloe flapjacks make the perfect Sunday evening supper treat.