There is something so satisfying about venturing out into nature, gathering and using food that is growing of its own accord. It is so much more common to do this in England than in America, and it's one of the things I love most about the culture here.
Sloe Gin Recipe:
The best time to pick sloes is just after the first frost of the winter. The berries are round, purple-black and plump - they look almost exactly like blueberries.
For every pound of fruit add 8oz of sugar and a pint or so of gin (don't worry too much about the proportions as you can add more sugar or spirit later). Leave it until Christmas, shaking the bottle every couple of days.
After a few months (the longer the better, although mine didn't last long enough to test this theory!) strain off the sloes and bottle the gin.
My sloe gin was brought to America with me over the holidays and given away to friends and family as gifts, but I made sure to leave some behind for myself to enjoy.
I've heard a lot of different ideas about what you can do with the sloes after they've been strained. You can make sherry or jam... mine are still sitting in a jar waiting for me to make a decision. If nothing else, they look pretty lovely sitting on the shelf.