Saturday, March 20, 2010

Emergency Jammin'

Sloe Gin

So, the Sloe Gin mentioned in passing recently was, obviously, somewhat out of season. Dan and I picked 3kg of sloes when we went to visit my Dad last Autumn. Enough for 6 liters of gin if we wanted it! We dumped them in the freezer to try and get the best out of them with the plan of getting gin in the duty free. Sadly, at the point I passed through O'Hare International on the way home I was broke - I bought a bottle of gin, but it had more immediate requirements in the house and a slow maturing sloe gin was out of the question...

sloe picking

Well, we got the sloe gin on finally, after a bit of recovery in the monetary department. We only used 1.5kg of sloes though. Then, when the freezer broke we had 1.5kg of sloes thawing as well as another 1kg of miscellaneous summer fruit. When life hands you lemons/broken freezers, the only option is to make jam. And lots of it.

Emergency Jam

I estimated reduced pectin because of the extended freeze, so made a pectin stock with the peels and cores of cooking apples and put the chopped up flesh in in the jam. So the recipe as it is...

800g cooking apples
150g blackcurrants
300g redcurrants
200g blackberries
1.5kg sloes
1.5 pts of water
2.5kg of sugar

  Peel and core apples, and boil the peels and cores in 1 pint of water for 45 minutes. Save the water. Chop the flesh up finely. Cook the fruit and apple flesh with the peel/core water and an extra half pint, add the sugar. Skim the sloe stones off the top as they float to the surface after the sugars added. Bring to setting point and jar.

Emergency Jam
looks quite a lot like special effects from Shaun of the Dead...

Good news: I estimated the amount of pectin required pretty well and got a really nice set. Bad news: sloes are tart and I was prevented from adding more sugar (it needs at least another 0.5kg if not a kg). My friend Laura was like this when we made the damson jam too, fortunately I won that battle at the time. Sloes also have stones, lots of 'em, and the're small. Dan and I succeeded in fishing out about 90% at which point we decided we could live with spotting them as we spread. A hedgerow jam with faults then, but still edible - might be quite nice in brie sandwiches.

Emergency Jam


  1. You've really been busy this week! I'm a keen jam maker myself, but haven't tried sloes (not many of them round here).

  2. Ha ha! too right, nothing like a bit of minor domestic drama to make life more interesting...


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