Slånbär (Prunus spinosa, knwon as blackthorn or sloe in English) is a shrub that grows in southern Sweden’s Gotland, Öland, and Uppsala counties. Slånbär’s fruits ripen in late summer and are typically harvested between October and November, when the shrub’s leaves fall and the temperature remains below zero for multiple days.
Slånbär fruits are rich in tannins and hard to digest, and have an excessively acidic taste. Exposure to prolonged frost helps sweeten them. Once harvested, the fruits are soaked in boiling water or alcohol to reduce their acidity and improve their palatability. They are frequently made into spirits or schnapps traditionally consumed during a meal.
Slånbär was once widely used in Swedish cuisine. Most slånbär-based products, especially alcoholic beverages, are homemade and rarely for sale. Wild fruits, including slånbär, are decreasing in popularity in Sweden and few people still use them in the kitchen.