What is it about that satisfaction of homemade goods? Especially during the cold months. Nothing beats wrapping up in front of a roaring fire, sipping on some homemade sloe gin.

Yesterday, me and three friends set off to the yard, not to ride or do anything horsey, but to harvest big, fat, juicy sloe berries as this year we are all going to make delicious winter homemade sloe gin.

I made some last winter for the first time and it was so delicious. In fact, I picked enough berries to give to my friend to make some too and I think she enjoyed it more than me! She and her boyfriend polished off a bottle whilst wrapping presents and got slightly more than merry… apparently!

Anyway, the 4 of us went out to pick these juicy ones and had a lovely time chatting away as a gorgeous orange September sun set. I think Cyryl was relieved that I wasn’t there to ride and was even more pleased that I fed him half a packet of polos!

Now here are some tips when picking sloes:

  • Only pick the ones that are soft and juicy to touch. The harder ones aren’t ripe yet and will taste bitter.
  • Wear long sleeves and gloves, the bushes are surprisingly sharp and thorny.
  • Take a bucket to turn upside down and stand on – the best berries seem to always hang just out of reach!

We each managed to collect about 2 kilos of berries, which was quite a feat in one hour. Our ancestors must have been farmers and fruit pickers we decided!

The recipe I went by last year was this one and I think I’ll follow a similar method this year.

So the next steps for me are to wash, prick and freeze the berries (to mimic a frost as we haven’t had one yet).

Watch this space for part two… I am super excited to get my gin factory underway!

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