Hops are the female flower clusters, shaped like small cones, of the plant Humulus lupulus. They are primarily grown for their properties of flavoring and stabilizing beer. Hops impart a crisp, bitter flavor, which has become favored over using other herbs in beer-making, due to their antibiotic effect that works with well brewer’s yeast at the expense of less desirable microorganisms.
It is believed that the traditional herb combinations that were once used for ales hundreds of years ago in Bavaria were abandoned when hops recipes proved to be better tasting and less susceptible to spoilage.
The dried hops were then put in FoodSaver bags, and the oxygen was removed to prolong their storage. And yes, we do sell FoodSaver machines and bags in the "Food Storage" section of our Amazon General store. These bags can be stored on the shelf for about a year, or placed in the freezer for even longer. This is a nice method to use for the small hops grower as all of the tools and equipment necessary can be used to dry tomatoes and other garden produce. All in all, it looks like hops is a great plant to grow if you have the space and take the time to establish a support and watering system for the vines.
Now then, what to do with the hops…