Surrey’s hedgerows are a great place to find precious hidden gems – sloe berries. Local food doesn’t get any more local than this. This recipe is designed for all you local food lovers who also like a local tipple!
- Sterilise a clean wine bottle using tablets sold for the purpose and available from home brewing shops and chemists
- Take 110g of sloes. Wash them and prick each a few times (folklore says you must not use a metal fork, only a silver one - or you could use a cocktail stick!) and place them in the bottle.
- Add 110g of sugar and a pour in gin to fill a quarter of the bottle.
- Top up the bottle with red wine to within an inch of the shoulder, thus leaving space for shaking (any wine will do, and cheap ones seems to work just fine).
- Then all you have to do is seal it (use plastic corks obtainable from chemists or home brew shops), shake it regularly and wait six - eight weeks. Once ready, it’s best decanted and strained, to get rid of any sediment and remove the berries. In the meantime, the airing cupboard is a good place to keep it
- As with any foraging, only take as many sloes as you need for your recipe, and do ask the landowner’s permission if you are venturing onto private land. It’s best to take a reference book to ensure the berries you select are indeed sloes.