Sloe – Prunus spinosa

sloe

The bush that bears the sloe is called the blackthorn. This shrubby tree can reach a height of 4m and has very spiny thorns and shiny black berries. Tiny white blossoms appear on the tree from May onwards and the black sloes are the great-grandmothers of our cultivated garden plums.

Most of you will know about the delights of sloe gin – the making, the drinking (yum) or both. Most of you won’t know that the flowers are also edible and taste a little like almonds. You can use them as an unexpected addition to salads, as cake decoration or freeze them in ice cubes. You can also make a syrup from them, as you would with elderflowers.

It seems a shame to throw away the gin-soaked sloes once they’ve produced that wonderful ruby red tipple so why not make some Sloe Gin Chocolates in time for Christmas?

Sloe Gin Chocolates

sloe gin chocolateMakes approx. 20 chocolates

500 g dark chocolate
500 g gin-soaked sloes, stones removed
85 g toasted hazelnuts, toasted flaked almonds or toasted pistachios, crushed

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Stir in the sloes and nuts. Either drop into moulds or take a sheet of greaseproof paper and put 5cm blobs of the mixture onto the paper. Leave to set and enjoy.