Sloe berries are the fruit of the Blackthorn plant and are more commonly known for the delicious sloe gin that is made from this bitter fruit. Historically, steeping sloes in gin was a way in which to disguise tainted alcohol. As the fruit is quite astringent it needs plenty of sugar to balance it out.
The sloe berry contains a number of components with believed health-boosting properties, including flavonoids, tannins, glycoside and rutin.
It is thought that sloe berries can help to detoxify the body. Thanks to the presence of rutin – thought to be a key component of healthy detoxification – it may help to remove toxic substances from the body.
It’s not just the whole sloe berries that may have benefits. The leaves and flowers of the plant are also considered useful for boosting skin radiance and in helping to relieve congestion thanks to expectorant properties.
Sloe berries make more than just great gin – they can also be used to make traditionally British jams and jellies. The fruit is generally ready for harvest between August and November.
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