A gin-laced blend of black cherries and wild sloes, this hedgerow jam is a devilishly indulgent start to the day spread thickly over a warm croissant, or can be used to create effortless desserts at the drop of a hat.
Otherwise known as Blackthorn, Sloes can be found in abundance here at Wild Cornwall. The weather plays a vital role on how well the berries grow. If the previous spring and summer were too dry the sloes will be small and shrivelled, if it was wet and cold, they won’t develop at all. There has to be the perfect balance of warmth and wet. When you’re on the hunt for sloes, look out for a shrubby tree with twigs that have formed straight side shoots. White flowers appear before the leaves in March and April. As Autumn appears, the flowers develop into ripe fruit. The fruit is dark purple in colour with a stone in the middle.
Picked carefully, the sloes are then taken back to the Wild Kitchen to be de-stoned and dunked into Cornish Gin to make them feel a little drunk. This is then mixed together with cherries, lemon and pectin to create a jam that works well with toast and cheese.
Why do we like sloes?
It adds value to wildlife. Blackthorn flowers early, meaning that it’s a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees in spring and its foliage is a supply of food for the caterpillars and butterflies. Birds even nest among the dense, thorny leaves, keeping warm and safe whilst feasting on caterpillars and sloes, depending on the season!
Ingredients: Cherries, sugar, sloes, lemon, pectin, Cornish gin