Sloe-ly in autumn

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According to the Meterological Office we are now into autumn – even if these last few weeks have felt like high summer, (although by the time you read this, all that could have changed!). It is that time of the year when fruit is in abundance and our hedgerows are full, not just of blackberries, but also the occasional crop of that most desirable of berries, the sloe. So desirable, in fact, that those that pick them rarely divulge the location of their crop. Despite the secrecy, there are reports that some pickers are finding their usual harvest almost non-existent this year while other locations are producing normal quantities.

Why is this of importance? Because in six months time Rye News will once again be sponsoring the great sloe gin championship and now is the time to start checking on the sloes and harvesting them as they ripen. Sloe gin is simple to make: basically sloes and gin with a few additional ingredients – everyone has their own recipe which is usually a closely guarded secret.

There are, however many suggestions on how to make it out there on the internet. Be warned though, like everything else to be found on the internet, some of it is good advice and will eventually produce a delicious drink. A lot, however, is complete rubbish. How to tell which is which? Well sadly, the only way to find out is to drink the finished product: it will either be the nectar of the gods or only fit for using to light next summer’s barbecues. Either way, the results will be judged next March and we hope that, once again, the proprietors of Olde Worlde Wines will agree to host the event and lend their undoubted expertise to help decide on the best.

So don’t just sit there, get out onto the Marsh, find those sloes and we’ll see you in six months for the 2017 Rye News sloe gin championship!

Photo: Simon Kershaw

Image Credits: Simon Kershaw .

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