Hops can be found all over Europe, usually in cooler areas and in fertile soil close to water.
While it is most famous for its flower, that gives beer its mildly bitter taste, in many regions of Italy it is valued for its spring shoots.
WHERE CAN WE FIND THEM?
- On the banks of rivers and streams
- On the edges of forests
- In cooler areas without much wind.
WHEN TO PICK THEM
Shoots of about 20cm are cut from the tips of the plant in spring, from March to the end of May.
USES IN THE KITCHEN
- They are incorrectly called “wild asparagus” in many regions of Italy. Like asparagus though, hops is delicious, and easy to cook.
- As a side dish: steam and season with salt, oil and lemon juice.
- As a main course: toss in a pan with evo olive oil and a clove of garlic, blanch in hot water and add a nugget of butter and an egg per person; whisk the egg and season with salt and pepper.