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Hops


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Hi all,

Aside from the fact that eating hops may not taste so good, is there any other reason not to eat them, for example, as an herb in cooking? I looked around online, and all that I managed to find were a number of sites that said hops are poisonous for dogs to eat, even spent hops. Of course, what is poisonous for dogs is often safe for humans, and since hops play quite a role in beer I'd assume that it would be clear by now if there were any potentially hazardous compounds in them. However, one never knows.

Any insights into the issue? Are there any food recipes that are made with hops? Perhaps some regional specialties?

Thanks in advance,

Alan

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I've heard (but never had the chance to try for myself) that hop shoots are eaten like asparagus. I don't imagine that the flowers that are used in brewing are much fun to eat, insofar as they're very tough. You're not going to get tender vegetable properties out of them.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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The hops in your tisane shouldn't be the source of the bitterness... their bitterness doesn't come out until the alpha acids are isomerized by boiling in a the presence of the right catalyst molecules.

Wormwood, on the other hand, doesn't need to jump through any hoops to bring tons of bitterness.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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The hops in your tisane shouldn't be the source of the bitterness... their bitterness doesn't come out until the alpha acids are isomerized by boiling in a the presence of the right catalyst molecules.

Wormwood, on the other hand, doesn't need to jump through any hoops to bring tons of bitterness.

Good to know. Thanks. :smile:

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I've heard (but never had the chance to try for myself) that hop shoots are eaten like asparagus.  I don't imagine that the flowers that are used in brewing are much fun to eat, insofar as they're very tough.  You're not going to get tender vegetable properties out of them.

The early hop shoots are indeed similar to asparagus- and, like those first spears of asparagus, I've never gotten around to gathering enough to cook them, since they always seemed to get eaten raw before I made it back into the house.

Tho' I once brewed at home, my hops were mostly "ornamental" (I'd gotten the rhizomes from "wild" hops found up in the Finger Lake area- tho' they may have been volunteers from the hop industry that once thrived in upstate NY, pre-Prohibition). Still, when working in the garden or simply walking past them, I often grabbed and chewed a cone or two. It would add a bit of extra hop bite to whatever beer I was drinking at the time. Kinda a "portable Randall" before it's invention. I later read that the late Bert Grant (founder of one of the early US craft breweries- Yakima Brewing & Malting Co.) used to carry a small vial of hop extract for the same purpose.

There are very few "other" uses for hops, much to the chagrin of the industry.

Edited by jesskidden (log)
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  • 5 months later...

I once tried a little nibble of amarillo hops we were using. It's not an experience I will soon try again, or forget. The very first second was just a fragrant taste much (obviously) like what the hops smell like. Then it exploded in my mouth, bitter and overpoweringly strong. I haven't tried young hop shoots or whatever, but I would advise eating brewing-ready hops with extreme caution. Science and catalyst molecules aside, they were very bitter.

"Alternatively, marry a good man or woman, have plenty of children, and train them to do it while you drink a glass of wine and grow a moustache." -Moby Pomerance

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I've tried hop pellets on a brewery tour before. While we were invited to try the wort (broth after the mashing process, without hops), with the guide telling us that some people particularly enjoyed it (tasted like meaty porridge), we were instructed that we 'would not like hops'. So while his back was turned, I put one in my mouth.

Pretty bitter. A very strong piney taste that lingered. I don't know how these differ from the hop shoots, but I wouldn't say there was any asparagus to them.

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Hops used to be used a lot in making yeast - there are lots of recipes for it in eighteenth century texts. Those of you who make your own bread might enjoy making hoppy yeast. I'll post (or PM) some recipes for it if anyone is interested.

Another interesting thing is that in England, gooseberries and hops were ready at the same time of year, and for some reason it was popular to preserve gooseberries in syrup "in imitation of hops" for use as a condiment. I have no idea how this idea came about, and have not seen any recipes for hops themselves preserved in this way (but I havent specifically looked either)

Also, of course, the hop shoots as asparagus.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book has info on how to prepare hop shoots (for eating as a vegetable) and she gives two recipes - one with Bechamel, one with mushrooms.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I've tried hop pellets on a brewery tour >snip< I don't know how these differ from the hop shoots, but I wouldn't say there was any asparagus to them.

Oh, indeed- the hop "shoots" being discussed (which are the new growth that comes up every spring- the plant sends up many new shoots that are traditionally thinned out to let only one or two to grow into "bines" for the hop harvest) are MUCH different than the pelletized hops you tasted, which are simply compressed hop "flowers".

Sorry for the confusion- it'd be like the different of eating beets and beet greens, I suppose- or maybe an apple and an apple tree leaf. :cool:

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I don't know about eating them straight as a vegetable course (along with fiddleheads, perhaps?), but I like the taste of bitter hops in other things.

Popeye Beer Club in Tokyo did great sausages that had been hopped up. Scud and I ate a lot of this, and suffered no ill effects (okay, maybe a headache, but that might've been the beer and barley wine).

:smile:

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How about

A Soup with Hop-Tops.

Blanch your hop-tops, tie them in bunches, and put them over the fire in a kettle or earthen pot, either with some thin pea-soup, or juice of onions, or soaking broth. When done, put some crusts in your soaking broth, and your soup being enough, dish up, and garnish your dish with the hop- tops; put a large crust of bread in the middle, and pour over the broth of the hops, and serve your soup up hot.

The Practical Cook, English and Foreign, by J. Bregion and A. Miller (1845)

Hop Salad.

In Germany a very nice salad is made from young hops, which are grown very extensively in America and Germany, as English brewers are well aware. The hops are picked when quite young, before they get leafy; they are then boiled till nearly tender. They can be dressed in the English fashion with oil and vinegar, or in the German fashion with vinegar and sugar.

Cassell’s Vegetarian Cookery (1917)

Janet

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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And for an Italian perspective: From The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy by Giacomo Castelvetro,1614, translated by Gillian Riley

"I start with hops, the first shoots to appear at this time of year [spring]. We never eat them raw, but serve them as a cooked salad. We wash the hops thoroughly and then cook the desired amount in water with a little salt, drain them very well and serve them in a clean dish seasoned with salt, plenty of oil and a little vinegar or lemon juice, and some crushed, not powdered, pepper."

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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  • 11 months later...
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