Sloes are the berries of the buckthorn, note the inch long thorns.

I trimmed the blackthorn (not buckthporn as previously stated, cheers Stedders) in my mother’s garden earlier than recommended so I could pick the sloes for sloe gin and jam. For gin I the sloes overnight, half fill a bottle, top up with gin, leave, add strain and add sugar to taste. Put the gin filled sloes in a tart.