Bumper year for sloe berries thanks to the bad weather: Glut of the fruit appear months earlier than usual due to downpours and low temperatures

  • Poor conditions throughout August have led to bumper harvest of berries
  • Cooler temperatures and above average rain both key contributing factors
  • The tiny purple berries are usually ripe for picking in October or November
  • Once harvested the bitter-tasting sloes are mixed with gin and sugar to make a tasty liquor

Foragers are heralding a bumper year for sloe berries after a glut of the coveted fruit appeared on trees months ahead of schedule thanks to the unseasonably wet August.

The tiny purple berries are usually ripe for picking in October or November when foragers rush to collect them to make sloe gin.

And while sunseekers are ruing the washout that much of the country has enjoyed over the past month, foragers are delighting because the deluge of rain and seasonally low temperatures have ‘tricked’ sloes into fruiting early.

Scroll down for video 

The tiny purple berries are usually ripe for picking in October or November when foragers rush to collect them to make sloe gin

The tiny purple berries are usually ripe for picking in October or November when foragers rush to collect them to make sloe gin

Foraging experts are now predicting a bumper haul of the berries, which are the fruit of the blackthorn shrub.

Once harvested the bitter-tasting sloes are then mixed with gin and sugar then left for several months to make a delicious liquor.

James Feaver of Hedgerow Harvests, who runs foraging and wild food courses in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire, said: ‘Sloe is a very popular berry to pick and many people do so to make their own sloe gin.

‘But the real challenge each year is knowing when to pick them - they start off green and turn to blue as they ripen.

‘Normally you wouldn’t pick them until autumn, and some people wait until the first frost, but we have had a very wet summer and sloes are turning blue already.

Once harvested the bitter-tasting sloes are then mixed with gin and sugar then left for several months to make a delicious liquor

Once harvested the bitter-tasting sloes are then mixed with gin and sugar then left for several months to make a delicious liquor

‘In warmer locations they are showing good signs and the colour looks good so they could be picked early.

‘Some years you can’t could hardly find a sloe for love nor money but it looks like it will be a bumper year for wild fruits, which means lots of people can get out there and enjoy the autumn harvest.’

Blackthorn shrubs, Prunus spinosa in Latin, are often used to form hedges because of their prickly thorns and can be found across the country.

The berries don’t usually start to emerge until late September when summer temperatures start to drop.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now