The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The great sloe gin challenge: The Results

Posted in Christmas, Liqueurs | 62 comments

The great sloe gin challenge: The Results

Picking sloes to make sloe gin is hugely popular in the UK.  Perhaps because it combines the hunter gatherer instinct and the delight of making your own tasty grog. Although traditionally it is drunk at Christmas, it’s the most popular drink to be proffered in a hip flask out here in the country. There is a lot of competition over who has the best brew, secret recipes are not aired and shared. To be offered a sip of ten year old sloe gin is an honour, not to be turned down. It’s two years since we completed this challenge and I must...

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A quick guide to identifying some hedgerow fruit

Posted in Hedgerow food | 63 comments

A quick guide to identifying some hedgerow fruit

I’ve had quite a few emails recently about identifying hedgerow fruit so I thought that it might be helpful to post some of the pictures that I have. Sloes, wild damsons, wild cherry plums and bullaces all came from the same family – albeit distant relations. They all have stones and the bushes have similar leaves. The main problem seems to be differentiating sloes and wild damsons as they are both small and dark. Sloe bushes have sharp thorns and wild damson trees do not. Damsons have longer stems so hang and look more like a tiny plum....

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