Thursday, August 22, 2013

Caution, sloe berries

The prunellier (blackthorn, or sloe) grows wild throughout Europe. I've read that it's sometimes trained into hedges because the thorns help to keep cattle from breaking through. Around here we have very few cattle and I haven't noticed any blackthorn hedges.

It's sloe berry season.

The berries are pretty and resemble blueberries, but they are quite tart and not particularly good for eating. They can be used to make jam, but I don't know of anyone who does it. In Britain, the berries are traditionally used with sugar to infuse gin, resulting in the the famous "sloe gin" liqueur.

There are a few stands of sloes around the vineyards here. I suspect the birds or other wildlife get most of the fruit.


  1. We have also made sloe vodka and now....
    sloe rum!
    The last is far more plummy!!
    I presume the rum...
    being sugar based...
    just "goes" with the fruit.

    You are correct about the barrier use...
    but it is now not widely used because...
    sloe suckers like crazy and you find your field invaded.

    1. And the sloe "stands" are probably not as such...
      but an unmanaged sloe bush...
      planted by a bird...
      that has got out of hand!

  2. At least the flowers are pretty.

  3. Cette année, en Côte d'Or, il n'y en a pas beaucoup. Il y a aussi eu très peu de prunes dans les jardins, et peu de noix, mais beaucoup de noisettes. Je n'ai jamais fait de confiture de prunelles, mais je suis sur que c'est excellent !

  4. Something I didn't know. "Sloe Gin" was my very first alcoholic drink. Potent stuff.

  5. I learned something! I've wonder for some time what makes 'sloe gin' - and now I know !

  6. tim, I guess I use the word "stand" a bit loosely. It is just standing there. hehe.

    starman, the flowers are nice, big bursts of white in the spring.

    anne marie, I haven't had one of those in a million years!

    olivier, ici c'est pareil, les pruniers ne donnent pas trop cette année. Par contre, il y a pas mal de pommes.

    ron, yes, it would be! I had it once many moons ago. I really can't remember what it tasted like.

    michael, I learn so much from blogs, and while researching my own entries, too.


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