There is more to sloes than sloe gin as sloe wine is always worth a go (Booze for Free p275)! But the ancestors to our native plum must have been a source of food for the ancestors of the native us. I’ve searched far and wide for a couple of unusual recipe and here is what I can up with.
I’ve adapted this from Roger Phillips fantastic book on Wild food. He uses apples, a mixture of cookers and eaters. I’ve found good results from using wild pears.
Salted Sloes (Umeboshi style)
In Japan there is a very popular dish called Umeboshi it’s a dish that uses the native Ume plum. It’s a very simple dish to make as its just salt and plums although you do have to be patient as it takes about a year. Unlike Umeboshi the sloes have to be preserved in brine, just salt results in leathery plum stones.
The following recipe has been slightly adapted from Charlotte O’neil’s site. I have to admit that I have yet to taste the results. Come back next year and we can compare notes!
Pick sloes and rinse thoroughly in water, carefully removing the stems. Fill a steralized kilner jar with sloes and cover with brine, the brine is made by adding 1tsp salt to every 500ml of water used. Ensure the jar is filled to the top, seal and return to it in a year. As I’ve said, I’m doing the same and I’ll let you know how I get on!
Sloe and pear Cheese
1.2kg (3lb) pears
500ml (half pint) water
900g (2lbs) sloes
Wash the fruit and cut up the pears (or apples if using). Stew with the water for as long as it takes to get them all mushy adding the sloes right at the end.
Push through a sieve and then weigh the resulting puree. You’ll need the same weight in sugar as you get puree (if you get 500g then add 500g of sugar). When you have worked out your mush/sugar ratio stir it in over a low heat until fully dissolved.
Bring to the boil then simmer for about 1 hour or until the mixture is thick, it will need to be stirred a fair bit. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Roger suggests that this goes well with cold meat and game and I quite agree!