A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
I'm new to the area and was wondering if anybody knew any great local spots for Sloe Berry picking.
I went walking along the New River Path at the weekend and noticed the abundance of blackberries so I'm considering trying my hands at Blackberry Whiskey this year. Sloe Gin is still a family favourite and and be happy to share my recipe or even go picking if a group if anybody would like to join me.
I think you'd have to venture a fair way further north, up the New River to find Sloes. Trent Park up at Cockfosters is good gathering territory.
The nearest places I know are two bits of former railway land - now both nature reserve Parkland Walk starting from Muswell Hill - and Railway Fields down Green Lanes at Harringay - both likely to be very popular and overpicked ... but beautiful places to walk in any event.
Thanks for the tip Richard - I might cycle up to Cockfosters and check them out once they're ripe.
I'm always up for a forage. Sloes are best picked after the 1st frost though, so a bit early for them. Blackberrying is something I used to do as a child, so I'd like to do that again....
I'm always up for some company!
I was hoping to go either late Sept or early October as I'm away for a large part of October. Does it really matter about the frost?
The real trick is to get them in time for your Sloe Gin to be ready for Christmas!! I'm not too sure how they're even looking this year.
There are loads along the New River path. You can start at the Myddleton Rd or Whittington Rd entrances and head north - especially up around Green Lanes. I was tehre last weekend and there's loads. We were eating them straight off the bush!
For sloes, the frost causes them to shrink to the size of raisins and also if they are picked before they have shrunk then they are not sweet. The frost causes the sugars in the sloes to sweeten. A short cut for sloe gin to create a liquer by using an equal weight of sugar and pricking then mixing the sloes with the sugar and sticking them in the fridge, giving the box a shake every day. Within about a week to two weeks there is a lovely pink syrup which can be added to drinks.
I think there are Sloes on the Pymmes Brook Trail (the path that runs from far end of Arnos Park up to the new southgate cemetry).
I've also heard that the frost improves flavour. In previous years I found that if you wait for the first frost in London, the birds have eaten all the Sloes! Frosts come that bit earlier further north and outside of urban areas.
My solution is to pick before the frost, then to pop the berries in the freezer. This has the benefit that they crack when you pour the gin onto the frozen berries, so you don't need to bother pricking them.
There are also lots of blackberries along the north side of Arnos Park and some along Pymmes Brook Trail.
Yes, sticking them in the freezer is a good alternative to picking after the frosts.