My sloe journey started on an early Autumn day when I was full of enthusiasm for making sloe gin. After rambling through the hedgerows, dodging a few rabbit holes and being careful of the thorns I had a basket rammed with sloes. I had romantic visions of sloe picking scenes but in reality it was pretty hard work. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
First of all the sloes were steeped in gin. This particular batch included some blackberries which have to be removed after three months to stop them turning bitter. At this point I had a litre of glorious hedgerow gin and some plump, gin filled sloes that couldn't be simply thrown away. They were made into sloe port. The sloe bushes are now in full, sweet smelling blossom and my port is ready. If you are out and about and spot a blossoming sloe bush, make a mental note to remember its location ready for picking come Autumn.So now I have a Rumtopf full of sloes swimming in ruby red port. The port is fantastic; a more rounded version of the sloe gin. You get the flavour of sloes, the warmth of the alcohol and the richness of red wine. There's nothing else quite like it. I can't wait to have some with cheese, add it to gravy for richness and put a little in a hip flask for a calm evening walk. My sloes and I have been on a magnificent adventure thus far but where can I go from here? I have a few ideas up my sleeve to ensure that the sloes are used to their full potential. Out of 2kg of sloes I have produced 3l of elixir and I don't intend to stop there.
To see how to use the sloes from your port to make chocolate truffles, the recipe is here.