5 More Surprising Uses of The Common Hop – Did You Know?

Did you know that common hop is not only used for making beer? It has so many different uses I bet that you haven’t heard of even half of them! And the best thing? There are just so many ways you can use it in your home and kitchen. Ready to learn something new? Here we go!

Cannabaceae (Hemp Family)

Yes, You Can Grow Hops In Your Garden

Common hop (or the Humulus lupulus) grows naturally in the wild, and is cultivated on large-scale plantations mainly in the southern Europe, western Asia and North America. It is a perennial plant which blooms from August to mid-September depending on the location it’s planted in.

You probably have seen a lot of wild hops already, although you might have not noticed them. Wild hops are usually found in moist locations, such as coastal thickets, larger hedges, alder groves, as well as in some older parks and unattended gardens.

An interesting thing I noticed, is that common hop is very rarely planted in domestic gardens, which is a shame, because it is an excellent climbing and covering plant which can be incorporated into many interesting places outside of your house. It grows best in sunny and sheltered positions from strong winds in fertile, moist soil.

Fresh hop cones held in hands.
Growing hops in your garden is actually easier than you might think.

It can reach even up to 12 meters in the wild, getting way up into the trees which it grows next to. Despite that, it has a pretty complex and strong root system underneath the ground. In fact, if you’re planting hops for the very first time, the first cone yield will usually be much much smaller than the second one. This is because in the first growth period, the plant invests most of its energy into its roots, so that it has a foundation for further nutrition.

If you want to plant hops in your garden, you should know that due to its size, it usually requires strong supports when planted – without them, it won’t be able to grow upwards, and will instead cover the ground around the place you’ve planted it in.

During summer droughts, hop does require additional watering. Other than that, it can grow very nicely on its own, and believe me, it will take up much more space than you anticipate if you don’t cut it frequently.

How is Common Hop Used? – Besides The Obvious

The most common uses of hops.
Hops have a lot of uses besides beer production you might have not known about!

As you all probably know, common hop is primarily cultivated for its cones, which are used as flavoring additives in beer production, and are pretty much what makes beer taste like beer. If you’ve never squeezed a fresh hop cone in your fingers and experienced its distinct aroma, you’re missing out!

Hop contains volatile oils, B-group vitamins, tannins and various minerals, and it is used in many different ways including for making various types of extracts, tinctures, teas, and other kinds of beverages, not to mention the other uses that I’m about to tell you about.

1. Cooking With Common Hop?

For cooking and other culinary purposes you don’t really use the cones. Instead, you go for the young shoots that have not yet emerged from the soil. These can be eaten raw or cooked and can be added to a lot of common dishes such as omelets, scrambled eggs, various types of salads and soups.

Yes, hop shoots are considered an uncommon delicacy by many, and you can use them in many contexts you would not normally think of in the first place. For one, I do enjoy full hop shoots with pasta and parmesan. If you haven’t tried it, you really should!

2. Pickling Hop Shoots

Yes, the very same young shoots of hop can be pickled, and in many different ways – for instance in vinegar. This pickled hop can then be used to compliment different dishes, or enjoyed by themselves. They can also last you a very long time when stored correctly!

3. Homegrown Insomnia Treatment

Common hop growing outdoors in the wild.
Hops and valerian are used in many sleep quality supplements.

Paired with valerian, hops can be used to help you get a good nights sleep. Sleep-aid supplements which contain hop are widely available in many stores and pharmacies. It can also reportedly help with caffeine-induced anxiety, if you’ve drank one coffee too much before bed 😉

4. A Hop Tea To Calm The Nerves

Just as the common hop can be used to help treat insomnia and ensure a good nights sleep, it can be enjoyed to help you relax. In most cases, when its used as a way to calm one’s nerves, it’s served in a tea. It’s taste is really unique too.

If you don’t have access to homegrown hop, you can easily purchase many different kinds of hop tea online, for instance here over on Amazon. And after you’ve discovered its unique flavor and blissful effects, you better be sure to tell your friends that it’s not only good for beer-making!

Sparkling HopTea
Hop Tea Comes in many different forms, and this is definitely my favorite one!

5. Help With Menopausal Symptoms

As large doses of hops and hop based supplements are reported to have estrogenic effects, hops can also be used to help relieve some menopausal symptoms, which are caused among other things by low estrogen levels. This is yet another benefit from this rather inconspicuous looking plant, and the last one on this list!

Photos in this article sourced from: YuliiaKa, wirestock.

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