Can you eat sloe?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you eat sloes?”. We will further consider questions on what sloes are, when to harvest sloes and prepare sloe gin, where to store sloe gin and how long to leave sloes in the gin during processing, does sloe gin become better when aged and the potential benefits of sloes.

Can you eat sloe?

Yes, you can eat sloes. They are edible, but sloes are rarely consumed raw because of their astringent flavour, and can be used in various foraging recipes, the most popular of which is sloe gin.

What are soles?

Blackthorn, a prickly tree or bush in the rose family, produces sloe berries. Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn tree, which is easily identified in the springtime when it blooms with white flowers similar to hawthorn flowers, but blackthorn blooms earlier.

When to harvest sloes?

There are a lot of arguments about when to harvest sloes or not, but waiting until the berries are fully ripened produces the finest flavour. 

They should be a deep purple colour and easily crushed between the fingers. If they have already begun to fall naturally to the ground, then it is a good sign to harvest.

On the other hand, if you are going to make sloe gin, you will want to wait until after the first frost, although you can pick them sooner, bag them, and put them in the freezer to simulate the first frost. 

This is logically done to allow the frost to crack the skins, allowing the juices to flow into your gin without having to puncture all of the berries.

How to prepare sloe gin?

Sloe gin is the most popular application of sloe berries. To make the recipe, you would require a 1-litre gin bottle, 450 grams of sloes, 225 grams of caster sugar, and 2 empty gin bottles or 1 large sterilised jar. And the following steps should be applied to make the gin.

  • To begin, sloes should be washed and sealed in an airtight bag. Freeze them for at least an hour or until you are ready to manufacture gin.
  • Place the frozen sloes into a sterile jar or empty gin bottles.
  • Pour the gin and then sugar directly onto the frozen sloes. Their skins will separate, allowing you to skip the tedious process of pricking each solitary sloe fruit.
  • After the sloes have thawed, carefully shut the jar and shake it well.
  • Shake the jar every other day for a week in a cold, dark spot. After the first week, only shake it once a week for the next two months.
  • The juice should be dark crimson and ready to drink at this point, though it will improve with time as it ages.
  • You can serve your sloe wine straight up, over ice, or drizzled over ice cream. Add a drop to sparkling wine or champagne to make a sloe royale cocktail.

How should you store sloe gin during processing?

During sloe gin preparation, store the jar in a dark cabinet and shake it once a day when the sugar is entirely dissolved. 

When the sloes are ready after 3 to 6 months, or even a year, squeeze the sloe berries out using a muslin-lined funnel. You can also easily store the gin by preserving it in dark bottles to be kept in the dark.

How long should you leave the sloes in gin during processing?

You should allow at least three months for the fruit to mature in the gin, but no more than six if you don’t want it to spoil inside the gin. Sieve to remove and taste for sweetness and add sugar if preferred.

Does sloe gin become better as it ages?

Yes, sloe gin gets better as it ages, and this is the same for most wines produced. The flavours and taste profile of the gin become intense, and they taste better once aged. 

Since sloe gin improves with age, you should brew more than you need and save some for up to a point.

What are the potential health benefits of sloes?

Though there have been some safety concerns about sloes, dried flowers and berries are used as medicine

The blackthorn flower is used in the treatment of colds, coughs, fluid retention, general weariness, upset stomachs, kidney and bladder disorders, constipation, and stomach spasms. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you eat sloes?.” We have further considered questions on what sloes are, when to harvest sloes and prepare sloe gin, where to store sloe gin and how long to leave sloes in the gin during processing, does sloe gin become better when aged and the potential benefits of sloes.

Citation

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2020/09/sloe-gin-recipe/
https://blacktailnyc.com/can-you-eat-sloes-after-making-sloe-gin/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.