Passing Pleasures: more on hops shoots

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Two posts ago I wrote about learning to use spring hops shoots as a vegetable, and a couple of weeks after my first taste, they are nearly over for the year. I hit a tiny second harvest by breaking off the tips when the vines were as tall as I wanted. These “upper shoots”have even more of the wild, feral, slightly bitter flavor than the first emerging growth has, and are quite addictive. My favorite preparation so far is to cut them into segments about an inch long, sizzle them in butter or olive oil over medium-high Heat until the stems are crisp-tender and the infant leaves are fried crisp, salt to taste, and crumble the yolk of a hard-boiled egg over the top. The egg yolk smoothes the bitterness beautifully. This method works well with bitter greens as well.
Incidentally, the only thing I dislike about hops shoots is that there aren’t all that many of them. I have five large hops hills and only get enough shoots for my husband and I to share them a couple of times. I’m thinking of planting more hills just for the shoots. The vines are fairly handsome and almost indestructible, and will cover an ugly fence ( summer only) within a couple of seasons.

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