JANUARY HERB OF THE MONTH: HOPS
FUN FACTS ABOUT HOPS!
Hops – Humulus lupulus •
The female flower (also called a cone or strobile) of the hops plant, Humulus lupulus, is the part of the plant used to make beer and is responsible for the bitter flavor.
• The vine is referred to as a bine, the botanical term for a twining plant stem.
• Lupulin is the substance in the cone that contains the oils and resins which give hops their aroma.
• The hops plant is a fast growing vine which can grow over 15-30’ tall in one season and is hardy to zone 5.
• Planted as a rhizome, hops prefer a sunny, moist location. It is dioecious, which means that male and female flowers occur on separate plants.
• There are many varieties of the hops plant and each has a distinctive flavor.
• While the brewing of beer with hops was first recorded in 822 AD, it is believed that beer brewing began thousands of years before that with spices and fruits instead of hops.
• Hops flowers can be used in cooking and can infuse flavor into a dish much like a bay leaf, or the flower can be grated and sprinkled on top of a dish. The stalks and leaves are edible too. • In addition to culinary uses, hops are used in sleep pillows as well as fresh and dried flower arrangements.
• The bitter resins in the female hops flower are a sedative. This is why both regular and nonalcoholic beer make people drowsy.
• Hops historically have also been cultivated to treat anxiety, restlessness and sleeplessness.
• The antibacterial characteristics of hops also served as a preservative
• Americans have been growing hops since colonial times. Initially production was centered in the Northeast. Today Washington state leads the production in the United States.
• Up to two pounds of hops can be harvested per vine.
Read more about Elder, including recipes here: Hops