While we harvested these Sloe’s a little on the early side, they still make a great Sloe Gin recipe. If you have an alcohol cupboard with half a bottle of Gin in it not going anywhere fast, this is a great and delicious way of sprucing up the Gin ready for Christmas. This is a classic and well respected drink for the worldly gentleman (apparently).
We found these Sloe’s in a small tucked away little over grown area by a Canal. It was a pleasant surprise and instantly I thought of Sloe Gin. If you were to buy these bad boys you’d end up paying a pretty penny, so make sure you take advantage of this foraged treat as they are relatively easy to find in Birmingham and the UK.
Months: August, September, October
Edible Parts: Fruit
Non-Edible Parts: Everything Else
The fruit is bluish and powdery on the skin. It won’t taste nice as it is, and it’s best picked late on in the year when the fruit begins to Bletch. The plant is thorny so be careful when picking!
Sloe Gin Recipe
1/2 Bottle Gin
1/4 Bottle Sloes
1/8 Bottle Sugar
Easy! Prick the sloes and pop them carefully into the Gin bottle. Pour in the sugar and replace the cap. Store in a cool dark place and shake the bottle every so often – whenever you remember. The sugar will slowly dissolve and the Gin will turn a gorgeous red. Leave for roughly 6 months but can be sampled earlier if you need. This makes a beautiful fruity syrup liqueur.
Our allotment last year got slightly overrun with Fat Hen so before we dug it all out we decided to try our hands at collecting the seeds to make flour. Needless to say, this is hard work and not always worth the effort; nonetheless, they are an abundant seed available for a good portion of the year, and it was great getting to grips with the whole process of seed collection and processing. We waited for the fat hen to start turning a little yellow and collected the seed pods in bulk. It was then a laborious task to scrape all the seeds out and try to remove them from the plant husks. We tried various winnowing methods with limited success, but eventually as the husks dried, we found that firm rubbing on a wooden block followed by a gentle blow will do a pretty good job.
We added the ground fat hen seeds to bannock to test it out and it did very well. It might not be worth the bother of gathering it except in a crisis, but it was a very enjoyable and enlightening experience.
Name: Wild Garlic
Location: Mostly found on Riverbanks
Months: March, April
Edible Parts: Leaves and Bulbs
Non-Edible Parts: Flowers
When young the leaves are mild and great additions to salads. If you go for the bulb it can be used just like a shop garlic clove. As the plant matures the leaves become extremely strong flavoured and you will want to use them more sparingly. Once it flowers it’s time to leave it be as with most plants.
The strawberry wine I made last year was not my best batch and was the first one I had made in some years.
I made a 1 Gallon batch last year and produced 5 bottles. It was hard to clear the sediment and they ended up fizzing up a bit in the bottle. We tried one last bottle almost exactly a year later and the flavour definitely improved. I’m glad to say we have perfected our technique by leaps and bounds over the last year, please stay tuned as I will be putting up the best of these recipes when they are successful enough to share.