Home Grown - A Project by Carl

RaglanSurf

Forum Idiot'13/14 <span class=poty>FPOTY'17</span>
Messages
10,321
Name
Nick
Edit My Images
Yes
#41
Isn’t it too early for sloes? I didn’t think they should be picked until after the first frost, or maybe uts been cold down your way.
 
OP
OP
Carl Hall
Messages
3,063
Name
Carl
Edit My Images
Yes
#42
Isn’t it too early for sloes? I didn’t think they should be picked until after the first frost, or maybe uts been cold down your way.
I think you're traditionally meant to wait until after the first frost yeah. I *think* the reason is so that the fruits are really ripe and soft, plus the skins split and let the juice out. All the sloes we've picked have been really soft and ripe, and we stuck them in the freezer for a day or two to make the skins split.

Not really sure how much difference it makes... It's been two days so far and the gin is looking a very deep purple! I'll have to try a lot of samples when it's ready, to see if it's any good. All in the name of science, of course :D

edit- We wanted to have it bottled and ready for Christmas so that kind of limited us to the beginning of September as well. We're planning on keeping half of it back until next winter, so next year we can pick them later I think as we'll already have some ready to drink. From then on each year we'll just be making the following years gin.
 
Last edited:
Messages
809
Name
Janet
Edit My Images
Yes
#43

RaglanSurf

Forum Idiot'13/14 <span class=poty>FPOTY'17</span>
Messages
10,321
Name
Nick
Edit My Images
Yes
#44

Andysnap

<span class="poty">POTY (Film) 2015</span>
Messages
15,324
Name
Andy Grant
Edit My Images
Yes
#49
Hmm, I wonder if there's any blackthorn trees near us? Goes off to google sloe gin recipes.....
Oh dear...... better start sterilising bottles then. ;)
 
OP
OP
Carl Hall
Messages
3,063
Name
Carl
Edit My Images
Yes
#50
Hmm, I wonder if there's any blackthorn trees near us? Goes off to google sloe gin recipes.....
It's so easy :) The usual recipe is one pound of sloes per litre of gin, and then half the amount of sugar. So you'd add one pound of sugar, two pounds of sloes, and two litres of gin.

To make it easier, a lot of people roughly use slightly more sloes for a metric recipe, i.e two litres of gin, one kilo of sloes, and 500g sugar. It's easier to remember then, as it's just half the amount of sloes as gin, and half the amount of sugar as sloes. This is what I did.

I wasn't sure what the volume of all the sloes and gin would be when mixed, but a recipe using 3 litres of gin takes up almost spot on 4.5 litres, which is handy if you have 4.5 litre demijohns :D
 
Messages
809
Name
Janet
Edit My Images
Yes
#51
It's so easy :) The usual recipe is one pound of sloes per litre of gin, and then half the amount of sugar. So you'd add one pound of sugar, two pounds of sloes, and two litres of gin.

To make it easier, a lot of people roughly use slightly more sloes for a metric recipe, i.e two litres of gin, one kilo of sloes, and 500g sugar. It's easier to remember then, as it's just half the amount of sloes as gin, and half the amount of sugar as sloes. This is what I did.

I wasn't sure what the volume of all the sloes and gin would be when mixed, but a recipe using 3 litres of gin takes up almost spot on 4.5 litres, which is handy if you have 4.5 litre demijohns :D
Brilliant, thanks Carl. Just need to find some sloes now! :D
 
Messages
3,289
Edit My Images
Yes
#52
Our stash of berries is slowly growing! We went sloe picking at the weekend and found some more blackberries, so we've almost got enough to make 8 jars of jam and a gallon of blackberry wine. That mixed with the six litres of sloe gin I have steeping at the moment should make for a very merry Christmas this year :beer::LOL:
Did you have a good Christmas? I can't remember! :D If you can find some more blackberries then you'll have to try an apple and blackberry pie, it's very nice; 50/50 blackberry and apple mix.

I'm getting ready for the damson harvest round at Mum's house, a real treat as I love damson crumble. A traditional Cheshire fruit too, but you don't seem to see as many damson trees around these days, and those that are are usually very old now.
 
Messages
3,289
Edit My Images
Yes
#53
Brilliant, thanks Carl. Just need to find some sloes now! :D
Traditionally, sloes were picked after the first frost (a bit like sprouts), but with the warm weather they'll probably be ready before, and long gone by, the first frost this winter, plus frosts seem to be getting later in the year too. Maybe an idea to put them on a tray in the freezer for an hour to do the same job then let them warm back up again before doing the gin thing? If you're making a couple of batches you could always try this with one batch and let us know if it works and there's any difference? (y)
 
Messages
8,592
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
#54
Brilliant, thanks Carl. Just need to find some sloes now! :D
There are bound to be sloes near you, try a few footpaths? I've found that trees vary considerably in the quality/quantity of fruit; some have very small berries, just ignore them. You should find some with loads of nice fat sloes. And don't forget the other container for blackberries!
 
OP
OP
Carl Hall
Messages
3,063
Name
Carl
Edit My Images
Yes
#56
Did you have a good Christmas? I can't remember! :D If you can find some more blackberries then you'll have to try an apple and blackberry pie, it's very nice; 50/50 blackberry and apple mix.

I'm getting ready for the damson harvest round at Mum's house, a real treat as I love damson crumble. A traditional Cheshire fruit too, but you don't seem to see as many damson trees around these days, and those that are are usually very old now.
I think I'm going to have to give that a go, because apple pie is one of my favourite things in the world, after a good flapjack :D Angi's dad's neighbour has a cooking apple tree so I might be able to nab a few if I'm lucky! Mind you, I might be sick of apples once I've finished pressing the 25kg of cider apples I have in buckets at the moment!

There are bound to be sloes near you, try a few footpaths? I've found that trees vary considerably in the quality/quantity of fruit; some have very small berries, just ignore them. You should find some with loads of nice fat sloes. And don't forget the other container for blackberries!
I was really surprised how many blackthorn trees I was able to find with sloes on them. I can't remember ever seeing one before about 2 weeks ago, because I wasn't looking for them. Now I see them everywhere! There's one near the airfield at work, that I walk past on the way home. A couple of times I've had a quick stop off and filled my coat pockets up, which gets me some funny looks from passers by :LOL:

I could not fail to disagree with you less.... :D
Wait...what?... I am no clearer on your stance on brussel sprouts :D
 

Woodsy

POTY Winner 2009
Messages
7,200
Name
Jonathan
Edit My Images
Yes
#58
OP
OP
Carl Hall
Messages
3,063
Name
Carl
Edit My Images
Yes
#59
The Patty Pan squash, also known as the flying saucer, is quite similar to a courgette in taste and texture. I've so far had 14 squashes from this plant, and it's by far the most productive vegetable in my garden. I've tried stuffing them with rice and mushrooms, and then roasting, but I've not had much success. My favourite way to cook them is to cut them up into small chunks, and add to a frying pan with a nicely seasoned pork chop, as they take on all the flavour in the pan and taste incredible. I harvested four of these at the end of last week, and there are another 4-6 which will need cutting off this week. I think I'm going to be eating them with every meal for the next week or so!

Huge leaves, some are up to 18" long.


Patty Pan Squash
by Carl Hall, on Flickr

The squashes themselves are best when they're around 4 inches in diameter, although I'm not not quick enough to cut them off so they mostly end up about 5-6 inches before I harvest them.


Patty Pan Squash
by Carl Hall, on Flickr
 
Messages
10,302
Name
Toni
Edit My Images
No
#65
Sloe gin - yum. If you don't have large containers handy then you could do it the way I do: ordinary wine bottle approx 3/4 to 4/5 full of washed, pricked sloes, 4oz sugar and then fill to just below the brim with gin. Turn daily for the first 4 weeks, then leave to settle 6 weeks. Extract the liqueuer from the sloes through a strainer & re-bottle & allow more debris to settle out for a couple of months, re-rack & strain and then put away until at least 6 months & prefably a year old before enjoying.
 
Messages
3,268
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
#66
The red jar is fab. The light coming through it is lovely.

I'll be picking some tomorrow, maybe next week (off work!!) so will be hoping to do better than my epic fail (actually just a non-placed entry) in our village show for my Blackcurrant Liqueuer. "Too sweet" was a common critique amongst those not doing so well.
 
OP
OP
Carl Hall
Messages
3,063
Name
Carl
Edit My Images
Yes
#67
Sloe gin - yum. If you don't have large containers handy then you could do it the way I do: ordinary wine bottle approx 3/4 to 4/5 full of washed, pricked sloes, 4oz sugar and then fill to just below the brim with gin. Turn daily for the first 4 weeks, then leave to settle 6 weeks. Extract the liqueuer from the sloes through a strainer & re-bottle & allow more debris to settle out for a couple of months, re-rack & strain and then put away until at least 6 months & prefably a year old before enjoying.
We're planning on saving half of ours until next Christmas, so it should be about a year or so by the time we bottle it properly. We made extra (6 litres in total!) so that we could have some this Christmas as well. I know it won't be as good as it's too young, but I don't think I'd be able to last a whole year without trying it haha.

The red jar is fab. The light coming through it is lovely.

I'll be picking some tomorrow, maybe next week (off work!!) so will be hoping to do better than my epic fail (actually just a non-placed entry) in our village show for my Blackcurrant Liqueuer. "Too sweet" was a common critique amongst those not doing so well.
Thanks Ian, there's a small area at the end of our garden that gets the very last of the soft evening sunlight. It's been my go to place for photos during this project and seems to work pretty well!

I've not made a liqueur before but it sounds interesting. I have a couple kilos of blackberries in the freezer that I'm going to make jam and wine out of, but a nice sweet blackberry liqueur sounds delicious so the jam might have to wait!
 
Messages
3,268
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
#68
a nice sweet blackberry liqueur sounds delicious
Much better than jam :)

Bowl of pricked (or frozen/defrosted) blackcurrants, cover with (decent) vodka, leave to soak. I left mine a couple of weeks. Filter/drain into appropriate glassware & add sugar to taste (I did 1/4 weight of sugar to blackcurrants which is much less than the half suggested in online recipes), then put it down for 6 months or longer. I was very conservative (because I didn't want a crème) and still had it judged "too sweet" - although I did add a couple of glugs of Ribena to give it a bit of pop. Drink with 16p Tesco fizzy water over ice in the summer :)
 
Messages
1,608
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
#69
It's so easy :) The usual recipe is one pound of sloes per litre of gin, and then half the amount of sugar. So you'd add one pound of sugar, two pounds of sloes, and two litres of gin.

To make it easier, a lot of people roughly use slightly more sloes for a metric recipe, i.e two litres of gin, one kilo of sloes, and 500g sugar. It's easier to remember then, as it's just half the amount of sloes as gin, and half the amount of sugar as sloes. This is what I did.

I wasn't sure what the volume of all the sloes and gin would be when mixed, but a recipe using 3 litres of gin takes up almost spot on 4.5 litres, which is handy if you have 4.5 litre demijohns :D
Possibly you all know (though not clear from the comments), but to get the best yield one steeps the fruit with just the gin and then decants the gin and add the sugar to the fruit and leave it to extract the water and alcohol from the fruit and dissolve in it. Then decant into the gin.
This works for any fruit of course. Freezing the fruit is good, as said.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#70
Well I know nothing about growing grapes but stuck a vine (Lakemont) in a pot against a wall, which receives sunshine half the day, and have stacks of bunches of grapes about the size of a penny...will show pics when I get around finishing the rolls in three cameras. h'mm the moon was bright last night and may have a go shooting that if I can remember after watching "Vikings". o_O
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#71
Well thankfully the weather down here is better than Scotland as I have trusses of green tomatoes....anyway took some off and apparently if you mix them with apples or bananas it ripens them and this seems to work. The gas\chemical emitted from things like apples and bananas is the same as commercial growers use to ripen their green tomatoes which is Ethylene.
 
Messages
1,608
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
#72
Well thankfully the weather down here is better than Scotland as I have trusses of green tomatoes....anyway took some off and apparently if you mix them with apples or bananas it ripens them and this seems to work. The gas\chemical emitted from things like apples and bananas is the same as commercial growers use to ripen their green tomatoes which is Ethylene.
I’m not sure if fully green tomatoes will ripen (think not), but if they have started to change colour they will ripen if kept at 68-77 deg F even without the bananas etc — this happens without sunlight but I’m not sure if darkness is better. I did this last year in a warm dark room so I know it works.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#73
I’m not sure if fully green tomatoes will ripen (think not), but if they have started to change colour they will ripen if kept at 68-77 deg F even without the bananas etc — this happens without sunlight but I’m not sure if darkness is better. I did this last year in a warm dark room so I know it works.
Apparently some people cook green tomatoes and like the sour acidic taste...o_O
 
Messages
1,608
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
#74
Apparently some people cook green tomatoes and like the sour acidic taste...o_O
Fried green tomatoes are a thing, particularly in USA, though here they are/or were mostly used for chutney, for which they are great. There was someone on the tv (Gardeners World?) last week advocating the juice as a substitute for verjuice.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#75
Fried green tomatoes are a thing, particularly in USA, though here they are/or were mostly used for chutney, for which they are great. There was someone on the tv (Gardeners World?) last week advocating the juice as a substitute for verjuice.
Any green ones left over from the first frost I might try them in a curry...as this is T&C will have to take a snap of my finished curry. ;)
 

TheBigYin

Staff member
Messages
22,283
Name
Mark
Edit My Images
Yes
#76
look for "Tomatillo Recipes" - you can pretty much substitute green tomato's into anything originally with tomatillos - they make a cracking Salsa, and Chile Verde (coloquially "a bowl of green" in the SouthWest USA - as opposed to a traditional Chile - "bowl of red") is great as the slightly sour edge cuts through the heat nicely...
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#78
@Carl Hall this is a great thread! Brilliant idea and some cracking pics.

Can't believe I hadn't spotted it until now.
..and it encourages you to use your camera taking shots of your veggies and of course flowers etc
I've got record shots of front and back garden over 30 years and it's interesting (well for the family) on how it's changed.
 
Messages
1,608
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
#79
..and it encourages you to use your camera taking shots of your veggies and of course flowers etc
I've got record shots of front and back garden over 30 years and it's interesting (well for the family) on how it's changed.
And with veggies in particular if you include a shot of the label with time of sowing/planting it’s a useful indicator for what to do next year.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
9,572
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#80
And with veggies in particular if you include a shot of the label with time of sowing/planting it’s a useful indicator for what to do next year.
Hey a reason to use a digi camera o_O rather than waste lovely film to include a label which might ruin your shot ;)
 
Top