Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 5 - "Hops"

Botanical name : Humulus Lupulus

Common name : Hop / Hops

Physical appearance : A large climbing plant which can grow up to 6 metres in height. The leaves are toothed and have five lobes. The female flowers grow in rounded clusters (what we commonly think of as hops).

Edible parts : Very young leaves and stems.

Best places to find : Wasteland, scrub land, hedgerows, woodland edges.

Time of year : Best harvested between July and August, for beer making. For eating, the young shoots and leaves should be harvested no later than May.

Serving suggestions : The young shoots and leaves can be cooked and prepared in the same way as store bought asparagus. Can also be used as a replacement for asparagus in dishes.

Nutritional value : High in vitamins B, C, E and A.

Other uses : Mature female flower clusters can be made into beer through the process of fermentation.

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure!