Making the Most of Nature’s Harvest: Sloe Picking (With a Bit of Knitting)

Yesterday morning was beautiful. We found ourselves close to what we refer to as The Sloe Motherlode. On a quiet lane up to a farm, there is a wide verge full of blackthorn bushes. Autumn berries have been profuse everywhere. Down here there were also spectacular hawthorn bushes…

… a tree laden with crab apples…

…and a massive crop of sloes

K went off to pick fruit while I sat in the car with my knitting. I made some 2 colour brioche hand warmers for myself earlier this year. With winter approaching, K has requested some to keep his hands warm when he’s sea fishing – he needs to keep his fingers free to tie lures. I chose a machine washable acrylic yarn in a neutral fawn shade. I think the soft squishy texture of brioche will be really cosy. I cast on this project at the beginning of the week so I have something portable for knitting on the go.

The view was great. Of course I can’t disclose the location. Friends in the area know where it is but we have to protect our sloe source!

In a matter of minutes, K had returned with over 3 pounds of sloes. He got most of them standing on the same spot as the bushes were covered with fruit. I didn’t get much knitting done at all!

The sloes have gone in the freezer, ready to make sloe gin. Some say that sloes shouldn’t be picked until after the first frosts. Ironically there was a frost this morning., Ripeness is not an issue but freezing causes the berry skins to split so they give up their juice easily when they steep with the gin and sugar. We’ve only just bottled the drink we made with last year’s harvest. You could say it’s a sloe process!

Not a bad way to spend a morning!