Our ecologists work hard to make sure our waterways are diverse and provide good habitats for a huge range of plants year-round. Take advantage of the sloes growing along our canals during autumn and you could use what you pick to make sloe gin.
Sloes grow on blackthorn trees, which are a very common sight along our network of canals and rivers. Resembling small damson fruits, they are usually turned into sloe gin, a delicious combination of gin, sugar and sloes.
Picking sloes in autumn will give you enough time to make some sloe gin as a Christmas gift, for family, friends or yourself.
There’s much debate as to the best time to pick sloes. Many people say that you should wait until the first frost. However, that may prove too late if a warmer summer has encouraged them to ripen early.
The main thing to remember when picking them is to make sure that they are ripe. If they are bullet-hard then find some plumper sloes or return at a later date.
Don’t be tempted to eat them straight from the bush, as they are incredibly sour.
Try not to prick yourself on the plant’s thorns. It hurts.
You can use your sloes straight away or store them in the fridge. However, if you pop them in the freezer for a few days their skins will burst and save you a lot of time later on.
Last date edited: 17 November 2020