Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hop Shoots - The New Asparagus

After the first year a hop rhizome has been planted, most people thin out the shoots to maximize their yield. This allows the hop to use less energy to feed its bines and hops. What do you do with all those shoots? Throw them into the compost pile? Well, not no more! Why not eat them? The Romans were the first to use hop shoots in culinary and Egyptians were the first to use them for medicine. They were used to help liver disease and digestive pains. In modern days, the Belgians consider the shoots a delicacy and use them in gourmet dishes.

Hop shoots are best picked between 6-8 inches. If there was a current frost it may make them woody and tough. I've read hop shoots taste like a cross between spinach and asparagus. Every article I've read says to boil or steam them like asparagus and top them with butter and lemon or hollandaise sauce.

I thought this would be a good time to bring up hop shoots. It's that time of year!

Hope everyone enjoys!

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