The best time to pick sloes


DEAN MORLEY - Credit: Archant

I’d like to make sloe gin, but I need advice on the best time to pick the sloes... our expert Jonny Crockett replies, debunking the common myth about “the first frost”

Q: It’s nearly the time of year for picking sloes for sloe gin. Do you have any advice about when they could be picked?

A: JONNY CROCKETT replies: Leave it as late as possible. The old adage was to wait until the first frost. Some people try to jump the gun here and think that by picking and then freezing them at home that they’ll get the same results. However, the first frost was actually a measurement of time and nothing to do with temperature. The first frost was often in late October, early November (until the climate changed), and after that it was considered that there would not be enough sunlight to further ripen the fruits. The longer you can leave them the better they will be as they’ve had more time to develop flavour.