30 October 2016

Culinary adventures with hops

Last year I planted a hop plant in the garden. Hops used to be a common crop in Kent and East Sussex for centuries until the late 1970s, when big brewing companies started using imported pelletised hops. I liked the idea of growing something that was such a part of the agricultural heritage of my part of the world. Hops are mainly known as an ingredient in beer. I wanted to see if they had other culinary uses. When I was a student I had a summer job working on a farm where they grew a few hops, and I had done a bit of hop picking. I remembered the amazing smell that hops had - a bit like an IPA beer, but much fresher - and wondered if I could capture that flavour in food.