Sloe Gin and Slow Jam.

Husband and I went foraging. To be fair, Husband was the one who clambered through briars, climbed a tree and clung perilously from ancient branches while I stood beneath issuing commands and artfully holding open a plastic bag.


We (he) found nearly 2 Kg of lovely ripe Damsons and more sloes than we could (or should, for the sake of our livers) use.img_1576

I followed Darina Allen’s recipe for Sloe or Damson Gin from Forgotten Skills of Cooking You can find the same recipe here.


I made one bottle of Sloe Gin and one mixed Damson and Sloe Gin. They will take about 12 weeks to fully mature.


Happy Christmas to me!


Last year I made Damson Cheese. You can revisit that post here. Since I have only one opportunity each year to cook with Damsons I wanted to try something new so,for a change, I made Damson Jam. You can find the recipe and some jam-making advice from Darina here on Clodagh McKenna’s website. It’s a bit fiddly as you must skim the little Damson stones off the jam as it boils. It’s well worth the tedium, however, as this jam is so flavourful. The stones give it the sort of bitter tang you get from those bitter Italian aperatifs. It makes the insides of your cheeks tingle. Even the more savoury-toothed family members have gone wild for it. I’ve had it on buttered toast, with ham and, best of all, with a wedge of Cashel Blue.

If you can’t get Damsons you might try making jam with some other sour plums and leaving the stones in until the end.


I substituted my damson jam for the raspberry jam in Rachel Allen’s Coconut Pudding. You can watch her making it,in the company of Paul Hollywood, here. It’s hard to beat the smell of coconut and butter combined in the oven!


In other news:

I found these old-school heroes for a euro each at a charity book stall. They are both wonderful, loaded with lard and butter and offal and booze and general disregard for health and contempt for political correctness. Brilliant.


Middle Girl and I went to the library together yesterday and found some easy-reading treats. Bernadette is a hoot, I love her!


Finally, a photo to demonstrate the difference between the way men and women think. Husband and I were browsing at a stall selling garlic for planting (West Cork Garlic, here). I asked the seller’s advice, specified that I was looking for the best flavour and wanted to have scapes for pesto (and the lovely look of them!). I chose the purple garlic (I know, it doesn’t look very purple!) on the right hand side.

Husband went for the elephant garlic shown on the left.


Ahem. Predictable, huh?


14 thoughts on “Sloe Gin and Slow Jam.

  1. Thank you for reminding me, I have to go collecting sloes, last year there were masses here and I believe this year is a bumper crop again and as you say should be just in time for Christmas. I am going to try your recipe this year. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing haul of free foraged food! As a point of interest and not at all foraged, did you know that lychees treated like sloes but steeped in white rum rather than gin are divinely decadent? A trick I learned from a late and sorely lamented Mauritian friend decades ago. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We make sloe gin and various elderberry, damson gins etc each year, but we take the lazy approach.: as the fruit skin needs to be broken we now freeze it and defrost it instead of spending hours stabbing it with a needle. Saves a lot of mess too x

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  4. OMG I had forgot all about Two Far Ladies, I have seen every episode they ever made….they were wonderful….great find!!! love all the recipes….coconut and butter in the oven sent chills through my spine…one of my favorite deserts is anything coconut….LOL and my husband would of went with the bigger is better idea too!!! personally Elephant garlic, the ones I have had, are to bitter for me….love the purple, sweet and aromatic for sure…hope your bringing in the new season in style….personally we are looking forward to the cooler months…whoooo hoooo our stores are gearing up for annuals….LOL crazy ass way to live…..xxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all so exotic! The heat out there would kill me but I’m so fascinated by it all!
      Those Fat Ladies are just brilliant. They have such zest for life and they are awfully posh. If you’re not familiar with Keith Floyd you should look him up on youtube. He is hilarious, totally irreverent and usually drunk. He was English but lived in Cork for a long time. He was one of the first champions of Cork as the foodie capital of Ireland (don’t let anyone tell you that Cork is not the capital!).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Blue Pantry. |

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