Hops To It
August Busch IV, or at least the Most Recent, was on my TV screen riffing about the quality of hops used in his family's beer products.
"What do you think," I mused aloud, "hops are used for except in beer making?"
When commercial pitchpersons talk to us about various ingredients used in their products, they're usually items we know can be used in a variety of ways. For example, TV pitchman Billy Mays loves to shout at us about his orange-tinged cleaning products. We also know oranges are used for one or two other things. But, hops?
I checked with the Purdue University Web site because it is a treasure trove of agronomy data. What I found out was that while hops is grown in many parts of the world exclusively for the brewing industry, and have been used in folk medicine for centuries, they can be used in ways one wouldn't normally expect. There is one German patent for adding hops to sausages as a "natural" preservative. Oil of hops also is used in perfumes, skin creams, cereals, mineral waters and -- uh, oh -- tobacco. The fiber part of the hops vine also is used for filler material in corrugated paper or board product.
Be the first on your block to serve an all-hops lunch: some of those German sausages; young hops shoots treated like asparagus (the Romans perfected that); young bleached tops used in a vegetable salad (very popular in Belgium); chopped very fine and dressed with butter or cream (a French thing), plus a few cold ones.
ON THE WEB
Using Hops In Home Brewing
Knowing Hops Varieties
Common Homebrewing Pitfalls
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Posted by William M. Dowd at 10:14 AM