Sloes (Prunus spinosa) are also known as oat plums, sour plums, blackthorns or sow thorns. Birds, small animals and insects love the impenetrable shrub as a habitat and food source. The plant, which belongs to the wild plums, produces dark blue berries from which tasty jams and liqueurs can be prepared. The wild plant is known as a medicinal plant. Are sloe berries poisonous raw or is it safe to eat?

The ingredients

The concerns are justified, because the seeds of the sloe berries contain amygdalin. After consumption, this substance is converted into hydrocyanic acid in the human organism. However, the amygdalin content of sloes is lower than that of cherry, plum or apple stones. Even from these fruits there is no danger. However, you should be careful when consuming apricot kernels and bitter almonds, which have a significantly higher amygdalin content.

Raw sloes can be safely consumed by healthy adults. The flesh and skin of the sloe are free of amygdalin and therefore non-toxic. The substance contained in the kernels provides the popular bitter almond aroma.

The taste

How do the dark blue berries taste? This question is not so easy to answer, because the taste depends on the ripeness. In autumn, before the first frost, the skin is hard, the berries taste sour and a little bitter. This taste makes it clear why blackthorn is also known as sour thorn. The sloes contain a lot of tannic acid, which causes the sour taste and increases the impression of inedibility. However, the fruits are not poisonous even in autumn.

Anyone who has ever enjoyed sloe liqueur or sloe jam will remember the tart taste with a hint of sweetness. This sweetness comes with the first frost. The low temperatures cause the tannic acid to be converted into sugar. Without frost, the berries do not acquire this pleasant, aromatic taste. After the first autumnal frosts, the skin of the fruit also becomes beautifully soft.

Tip: If there is no frost, the sloeberries will remain sour. If you still want to process them, you can create the frost artificially. One night in the freezer is enough to reduce the tannic acid and develop the sweetness.

Astringent and laxative effect

Not only the suspicion of poison, but also the concern about the astringent and laxative effects keep people from enjoying the raw sloe berries. These fears are unfounded. Some foods, such as nettle, buckwheat, rhubarb , quince , and sloe, have an astringent effect. That is, they cause the vessels to contract. This property is used in naturopathy, especially to combat skin impurities. The astringent properties of the fruit help curb bleeding gums.

Sloeberries can have a laxative effect. However, this property only causes a problem with above-average consumption. Those who suffer from constipation can eat the tasty berries of the sloe and do without chemical laxatives.

Note: If you want to eat blackthorn fruits raw, you have to be quick. The birds also love the sweet berries, which provide them with important energy before the onset of winter.

Healthy power packs

The blackthorn’s dark blue berries are not poisonous. On the contrary, they are very healthy. They contain a lot of vitamin C as well as important minerals and trace elements. they seem

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidative
  • appetitanregend
  • stomach calming
  • digestive

You can eat the berries fresh or process them into tasty dishes:

  • Schlehenmarmelade
  • Schlehengelee
  • Schlehenlikör
  • Schlehensirup
  • Schlehenpunsch
Tip: Not only the berries, even the white sloe blossoms can be used. You can prepare a tasty tea from the fresh or dried flowers. Two cups of sloe tea a day are said to help relieve gout and rheumatism. A teaspoon of dried sloe flowers is enough to make a cup of tea. Oil prepared with sloe flowers is suitable for rubbing the feet or as an additive to relaxing foot baths.

Did you know that people used to plant blackthorns in front of their houses to ward off witches, storms and fire? Today, the thorny shrub is rarely found in residential areas. Even if nobody believes in the power of the plant to avert disaster, you can always eat the sloe!

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