Sloe Season in Somerset

Sloe season is almost upon us – usually late October into November, and so we thought a couple of recipes are in order, ready for you to return from autumn walks across the blackdowns, quantock hills and the mendips where sloes are plentiful.

Sloe and blackberry jam (hedgerow jam)

Ingredients: A variety of fruit from the hedgerow eg. blackberries, sloes, damsons and wild plums.

An equal weight of either cooking or crab apples

Preserving or cane sugar, 500g per 600ml juice

  1. Wash the fruit
  2. Wash and cut up the apples, cutting out any bruises.
  3. Don’t peel or core them
  4. Put everything into a pan with a little water and simmer until soft and it’s mostly juice
  5. Transfer into a muslin cloth and strain overnight
  6. Measure the juice
  7. Return to the pan and add 500g per 600ml of juice and allow to dissolve over a low heat.
  8. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached – test on the back of a wooden spoon – sticky to touch (adding a knob of butter helps to smooth the consistency)
  9. Transfer to sterilised jars
  10. Save for friends or devour on toast for the rest of autumn/winter

Sloe Gin


500g washed sloes

1 litre gin (any brand)

250g golden caster sugar

  1. First wash your sloes
  2. Using a stainless steel fork or cocktail stick, prick the sloes and tip into a 2-litre glass jar, or divide between two smaller jars.
  3. Add the sugar and gin, then seal the jar. Shake really well. Once a day for a week, give the jar a good shake.
  4. Store in a cool dark place. Leave for as long as you can… a year, preferably but we find opening it up at Christmas is also acceptable.
  5. Line a plastic sieve with a muslin cloth over a bowl and strain the sloe gin through it. Decant into clean and dry bottles.

Best served over ice, with your colleagues and please always drink responsibly.

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