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Longstrider

Sloes galore.

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    Walking round the permissions of late I can't help but notice that there must be the biggest crop of sloes ever this year. The weather must have suited the blackthorns well.

     

    Hoping to gather a load and do some sloe gin, but am not sure when to start picking. How do you know when they're ready to harvest (you can't exactly pop one in your mouth to see if it's sweet :lol:)

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    2 minutes ago, Longstrider said:

    Walking round the permissions of late I can't help but notice that there must be the biggest crop of sloes ever this year. The weather must have suited the blackthorns well.

     

     

    same here and they seem bigger than usual

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    l too noticed this when shooting on Friday, massive crop all around the headlands, never seen crops like it in many a year.

    Next trip to Aldi will include a couple of litres of gin into the trolley.

     

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    General advice is don’t pick before first frost. Trouble is some one else may have nabbed them by then. I would expect to pick mid October on and chuck them in the freezer to further soften. Ripening this year may be a little ahead given the weather but certainly not yet in my view.

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    19 hours ago, Longstrider said:

    Walking round the permissions of late I can't help but notice that there must be the biggest crop of sloes ever this year. The weather must have suited the blackthorns well.

     

    Hoping to gather a load and do some sloe gin, but am not sure when to start picking. How do you know when they're ready to harvest (you can't exactly pop one in your mouth to see if it's sweet :lol:)

    They are very early this year but still a little hard at the moment, with regards when to pick, I tend to wait until I can squeeze them between my finger and thumb and see how much juice runs from them, I usually pick around the end of September and into October/November.

    Don’t think sloes ever taste sweet but the amount of juice and flavour does change as they ripen.

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    3 hours ago, Longstrider said:

    Thank you. Best I wait about a month then.

    Don’t make it over sweet (sloe syrup) I find most of the sloe gin/vodka that I have been given is far to sweet.

    I have tried the freezer and first frost method but I prefer the fruit ripe but undamaged by frost, although the freezer method does save you having to sit there with a fork and ***** every berry three or four times.

    I make mine in 4.5 litre demijohns, if I remember correctly you can get all the ingredients in a jar to make around 3 litres of sloe gin/vodka.

    My recipe to make 1 litre of sloe gin/vodka is…450g/1lb of sloes, 225g/8oz sugar, 1 litre of gin/vodka, you can always add more sugar after three months if its not to your liking.

    Put gin/vodka and sugar in jar and shake to help dissolve the sugar, put pricked berries in jar and shake, now the hard bit, place in a dark cool place and leave for three months, during this period you need to give the jar a good shake every couple of days, after around a month you can reduce this to once a week, after three months drain the berries and return gin/vodka to the demijohn, let it settle for a couple of weeks, now siphon off the sloe gin being carful not to pull any of the sediment from the bottom, you can run this sediment through a cloth/filter and place in a separate bottle.

    Although some people say sloe gin does not keep well, (needs to be drunk young) I have found the opposite, the longer you keep it the better it gets, must admit its difficult keeping that long. :)

     

    Enjoy

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    8 hours ago, spandit said:

    Planted a few blackthorn about 5 years ago because there aren't any on my land. No sloes yet...

    Blackthorn are not as bad but almost as long to produce as walnuts which take upwards of 20yrs.  Eventually you will wish you never planted them, sucker like the divil.

    I noticed today the plum and damson trees in my orchard are already showing signs of ripening so sloes might just also be early this year. A month in the freezer does them the world of good.

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    I hope they do sucker. They're on the boundary between me and a neighbour I don't like. You can barely see them anyway due to the hawthorn and willow they're growing amongst.

    Have already eaten plums and damson from my trees

    Edited by spandit

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    51 minutes ago, spandit said:

    I hope they do sucker. They're on the boundary between me and a neighbour I don't like. You can barely see them anyway due to the hawthorn and willow they're growing amongst.

    Have already eaten plums and damson from my trees

    :good:   No Golden Gage this year, very few Vics and the Czar are going bad on the tree due to moth. The 'Little Green Plum'  Bulace are doing OK so two or three litres of vodka next time I am in Aldi. 

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    9 hours ago, Walker570 said:

    :good:   No Golden Gage this year, very few Vics and the Czar are going bad on the tree due to moth. The 'Little Green Plum'  Bulace are doing OK so two or three litres of vodka next time I am in Aldi. 

    As you say, no Damson and very few plums this year and what there are are 90% hit with moth.

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    33 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

    The moths not a real problem, just an extra bit of protein:good: 

    True - but the rotting plums taste awful even in jam:no::D

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    Plums ? Hell's bells, we have more ruddy plums than we know what to do with from just one Vic tree in the garden this year. Having to pick them almost daily to prevent their weight breaking the branches off the tree !

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    On 19/08/2018 at 17:47, Dave at kelton said:

    General advice is don’t pick before first frost. Trouble is some one else may have nabbed them by then. I would expect to pick mid October on and chuck them in the freezer to further soften. Ripening this year may be a little ahead given the weather but certainly not yet in my view.

    Unfortunately if we waited for the first frost down here it might be in January. I pick them when the are give to a squeeze. I have put then in the freezer as you say, I believe its meant to soften them but to be honest I never realy seen much difference. So the only time I do freeze is if I have too many to process straight away.

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    3 hours ago, rimfire4969 said:

    Unfortunately if we waited for the first frost down here it might be in January. I pick them when the are give to a squeeze. I have put then in the freezer as you say, I believe its meant to soften them but to be honest I never realy seen much difference. So the only time I do freeze is if I have too many to process straight away.

    Good advice

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    Have you tried adding the sugar to the berries a day or two before adding gin/vodka. you will see how much juice it extacts from the berries.Dave

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    Have to disagree about the damsons, at least down in darkest east sussex. The missus popped out on Saturday, and after addressing her wardrobe malfunction, collect about a stone of damsons in a couple of hours just off of low hanging branches with loads left on higher up out of reach.

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    After you have removed the gin soaked sloes do not throw them away.

    Spread them out on a shallow tray and cover them in a melted good quality dark chocolate. Let them set then divide into squares. "MMmmmmmmmm!"

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