Sustainability Sunday - It's foraging time!
Gin Fans, it’s foraging time! Autumn hedgerow fruits are now at their very best. There’s an abundance of ripening fruits throughout our countryside right now with hedgerows laden with ripening sloes, elderberries and blackberries.
Sloe harvests are directly linked to the quality of the weather occurring in the spring and summer: too dry and sloe berries will be small and shrivelled, too cold and wet means berries will be few and far between. The balance between warm weather and rainfall gives the best conditions for an epic harvest! Luckily, the weather conditions over the summer months have been favourable, with a mix of rain and sunshine. This means the hedgerows are currently bursting with sloes.
Traditionally, you’d wait until the first frost to pick your sloes, however, by taking advantage of hedgerows laden with fruit now, foragers can pick and freeze sloes to encourage the sloe berries to burst earlier and allow you to get cracking with this year’s batch of your Sloe gin.
It’s a great activity for you to get outside with friends and family and connect with nature, check out a great guide to foraging here
Did you know…?
Sloes come from the Blackthorn tree which is a common hedgerow species that can live up to 100 years! It has long thorns which originally evolved as protection for large grazing herbivores. Although this makes foraging a nightmare, this provides protection for nesting birds. In the spring, the blossom of the blackthorn is a critical source of pollen and nectar for our solitary bee pollinators. Check out some more fun facts on Blackthorn trees here.
Happy foraging Gin Fans!