at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Pickled Hop Shoots - A Delicious Appetizer!

picked baby hop shoots
At the back of my perennial garden is a special garden space that really belongs to Tom. This is where his hops grow -- with the bines growing up twine that reaches to the roof of our garage where they can then expand out sideways. Hops grow fast. Really fast. The shoots come out of the ground pretty early in the spring, too. You're only supposed to let a few of the shoots grow on each plant in order for them to be the most productive. We learned last year that the young hop shoots are edible and are sometimes called "poor man's asparagus".  That said, I also read recently that hop shoots are the most expensive vegetable in the world to buy. Perhaps because you only have a few days a year to harvest them before they get too large. Anyways, I never did anything with ours last year, but I wanted to try cooking them this year. Many people recommend sauteing them like you would asparagus. Then I found a couple of recipes for pickled hop shoots. Now, pickling isn't normally my thing, but for some reason, I wanted to try this. I found this recipe that I adapted mine off of.

Just simmer for 5 minutes and you're done!
I was really unsure about cooking the hop shoots with leaves on them, not to mention the fact that the shoots are prickly. I wouldn't recommend using shoots much longer than 6 inches, and next time I think I would chop them first into 2-3 inch pieces just to make them easier to eat. There was no problem with the pricklies or the leaves once cooked, though! They were very tender and were the perfect addition to the cheese plate I made for Tom's brew day where he had a few other guys over to brew beer together. I served them the day after making them and they tasted great.

Cheese platter #1 - the store bought stuff
The other important addition to the platter was some homemade cheese.  I've been using the cheesemaking book that Tom bought me for Christmas and the recipe I've gotten down and like best so far is the English Farmhouse Cheese -- which is a pretty fresh cheese, taking only a day and a half until it's ready to eat. I had more cheese than would fit in my big mold this time, so I made a mini cheese wheel.  I served this with some homemade baguette slices, roasted red peppers and the pickled hop shoots.

Cheese platter #2 - Pickled Hop Shoots in the top left corner
And now, here it is -- the best way to eat pickled hop shoots. Take a slice of baguette, a slice of cheese (if you're not lucky enough to have your own homemade English Farmhouse Cheese, I bet a smear of goat cheese or some Gouda would be good-a!), a slice of roasted red pepper and then top with a pickled hop shoot! These made a delicious (and pretty) appetizer!

Pickled hop shoots atop a baguette with homemade cheese and roasted red peppers. YUM!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!