Sloes are small, green-fleshed, inky-skinned, wild plums that are the fruit of the Blackthorn. They are in the same family as plums and cherries. Sloes are bitter to eat raw, but once cooked they have an intense plum taste, and can be flavoured with orange zest, cloves, cinnamon or almond essence. Other ways of using them are preserved as sloe gin, sloe wine, sloe jelly, sloe syrup, and sloe plum cheese.
The number of sloes you will find on a blackthorn bush or tree each year is linked to the weather during the previous spring and summer. Too dry and the sloes will be small and shriveled. Too wet and cold and they will not develop at all. A good crop of plump, well-ripened sloes needs the perfect balance of warmth and water.
Magical properties of sloes –
Protection, exorcism, divination, healing, dispels negativity, Crone magic, death and rebirth, transformation, shadow work, combating fear, depression, anger.
Planet: Mars, Saturn
Element: Earth, Fire
Zodiac: Aries, Scorpio
Symbolism: The balance between light and darkness.
Stone: Black Opal, Agate, Bloodstone
Colours: Purple, Black, Red
Folk Names: Sloe, Sloe Plum, Wishing Thorn, Faery Tree
I wanted to try something different with the glut of sloes we have this year. My friend Ness kindly shared her recipe booklet and viola! sloe jam (although in the booklet it is called Sloe Cheese).
Ingredients for Sloe Jam: