Sloes in London

Discuss sloe gin recipes - and all those secret family variations! Post your questions and replies here if they are about sloes and gin

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Early Bird
Posts: 37
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 13:41
Location: Molesey, Surrey

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Early Bird » 15 Apr 2012, 20:29

SWLondoner is right Moonich, there are none down Walton Road that I've seen, but if you go right over the other side of the village to Molesey Park Road you will see a sign for the Wilderness. It just looks like a housing development, but you go in there, over the bridge and park by the playground. Walk down the side of that and you will see a path running behind the football pitches. About halfway down there is a way through the trees and this leads to my favorite picking spot :)

Moonich
Posts: 25
Joined: 01 Nov 2011, 00:08

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Moonich » 24 Apr 2012, 23:28

I'm not good in north and west London and I seem to get lost almost every time I leave the A40. I will give the Wilderness a go come the autumn though.

I've been given a couple more pointers for Essex - Dock Road on the way out of Tilbury just after the Asda roundabout and Wharf Road at Mucking. Not so sure about the quality on Dock Road though as it's quite a busy dual carriageway with the lorries going to the docks.

Early Bird
Posts: 37
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 13:41
Location: Molesey, Surrey

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Early Bird » 15 May 2012, 21:03

Just a thought, but there are a few sloe trees at Clackett Lane services on the M25 (heading towards Kent). They are just where you turn off to go into the hotel bit. Not sure how many there are, but I found some fine fat ones there last year.

toptrader
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 Dec 2012, 20:39

Re: Sloes in London

Post by toptrader » 13 Dec 2012, 09:22

Help please - sloe identification!!
Some help for a novice appreciated

I headed to Hurst Road, Surrey in early October on the tip from forum and picked what I thought were sloes - spent hours researching and following recipes etc.... and just tested my progress today and it's foul! It tastes nothing like other branded sloe gin. Although I realise it's a little early to taste test i thought it might be starting to come along

So i'm not sure what I picked!

Description of berries:
- dark colour, not quite purple or black but somewhere in between, not as 'matt' as your photos on the banner show, a little bit more glossy without being shiny
- much smaller than i expected being about size of half a fingernail but i put this down to a poor season this year from what i'd read. Not perfectly round, which is why i think they are sloes.
- no stones or pips as far as i can tell
- some resistance when pricking with a pin but several did squash quite easily on the route home

Description of bush:
- about the right height for a sloe bush (maybe 10ft tall, 6ft wide) and berries were in clumps of about 4-12, but no real thorns as such

Description of gin (about 6-7 weeks in):
- followed all the recipes... ~500ml gin, 200g sugar, 400g berries per 1 litre jug, kept in dark cupboard 8 weeks with regular turning in the first week and about once per week since
- very dark colour, very much like ribena
- VERY bitter, also quite a lasting taste back of mouth

Any ideas what it could be?? Or do you think there's a chance it could still come to fruition if left for another couple of months?

Phil
Posts: 27
Joined: 03 Sep 2011, 19:47

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Phil » 13 Dec 2012, 15:35

Your description sounds pretty much like Sloes except:
no stones or pips as far as i can tell
There should be a large cherry stone size stone in the middle - open one up and see. Might be an idea to post a photo of one here.
Phil

toptrader
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 Dec 2012, 20:39

Re: Sloes in London

Post by toptrader » 05 Jan 2013, 08:35

HI Phil
thanks for the reply and sorry for belated response

Photo here:
Image

As you can see (top-middle and bottom-left) each berry has a few stones/pips (2-4 each it seems)
Pleased to report it is starting to smell a bit more like i'd expect sloe gin to smell but still not 100% sure... can you help!?
I know the berries are very small (example middle-right/bottom-right) - i put this down to a poor season from other posts, but still keeping fingers crossed they're sloes, or that's a lot of gin wasted!

thanks

Phil
Posts: 27
Joined: 03 Sep 2011, 19:47

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Phil » 05 Jan 2013, 09:34

Don't know what they are but with pips like that they are NOT Sloes - I'd be very wary....
Phil

3Musketeers
Posts: 10
Joined: 17 Sep 2012, 21:19

Re: Sloes in London

Post by 3Musketeers » 08 Jan 2013, 18:44

I wouldn't drink it either with pips like that definately not sloes, shame the gin is wasted though. Maybe next year if you are unsure of whether it's blackthorn or not post a pic on here and someone will identify for you before you pick.

Michelle

nidgelowe
Posts: 69
Joined: 01 May 2009, 10:14

Re: Sloes in London

Post by nidgelowe » 09 Jan 2013, 09:08

Ithink what you have there are elder berries,that would explain the clumping and no thorns,unfortunately your batch will
need to be disposed of as without cooking elder berries are toxic,you live and learn thats what this forum is all about,
good luck next year.

toptrader
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 Dec 2012, 20:39

Re: Sloes in London

Post by toptrader » 09 Jan 2013, 14:05

Thanks chaps (and thanks for resisting the temptation to taunt me on my poor identification skills!!)
Will try again towards the back end of 2013!

SWLondoner
Posts: 33
Joined: 28 Sep 2011, 19:04

Re: Sloes in London

Post by SWLondoner » 18 Jan 2013, 10:31

Oh dear - almost certain it was elderberries you picked. These are the other main berries I remember from Hurst Rd.

Next year if you're going to Hurst Rd, post a msg on here - I'm not far away and will be picking again. I could show you the sloes!

Early Bird
Posts: 37
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 13:41
Location: Molesey, Surrey

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Early Bird » 15 Apr 2013, 09:01

Same here toptrader. If SWLondonder is unavailable, I live just off Hurst Road and could help you. It is worth mentioning that the council have been down there with their hedgetrimmer and have butchered the bushes all the way along the road so I don't know what the crop there will be like this year.

Phil
Posts: 27
Joined: 03 Sep 2011, 19:47

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Phil » 15 Apr 2013, 09:14

NOW is the time to get out there and look for white blossom to locate your nearest Sloe bushes. Find the blossoming bushes now and you've a fair guarantee that they will be Sloes as they are the first to bloom...
Phil

Early Bird
Posts: 37
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 13:41
Location: Molesey, Surrey

Re: Sloes in London

Post by Early Bird » 07 Jun 2013, 10:56

I had a good look along Hurst Road and there seems to have been loads of blossom so high hopes for this year. I haven't been over to the Wilderness at all so can't speak for there yet, but as you head to Walton along Hurst Road, turn right at the roundabout towards the leisure center and there look to be LOADS down that road. I shall certainly be checking it out come harvest time and there look to be a lot of brambles on the other side of the road. Double bonus :)

SWLondoner
Posts: 33
Joined: 28 Sep 2011, 19:04

Re: Sloes in London

Post by SWLondoner » 21 Aug 2013, 19:14

I walked The Hogsmill River (small river, tributary of the Thames that flows from Ewell to Kingston) on Saturday. The whole route was heaving with sloes. There where also plenty of apple, plum, bramble and mushrooms. Really good foraging. I also saw 3 x kinsfishers!

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