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Hops to help you sleep

When the hop plant was first discovered in Egypt in the first century, its first use was as a medicinal herb! Over the years the hops have been used as cures for many things in herbal medicine but its most popular use has been in hop pillows for the relief of insomnia. The potential sleep properties of hops were first discovered when hop-pickers started to fall asleep on the job and for a long time this was known as Hop pickers fatigue! The bitter acids and volatile oils of the hop flowers (or cones) produce a sedative effect which calms the nerves, relaxes you and helps you to fall asleep - as revealed by Kew-trained botanist James Wong on the BBC hit show Grow your Own Drugs. Three to four handfuls of hop cones in a breathable organza bag, with an equal measure of lavender to sweeten the scent slightly, make the perfect natural sleep aide. As the lupulin in the hop flowers can stain it is best to slip the organza bag into a purpose made mini pillow to protect your best bed linen! Give it a squeeze before you pop it under your pillow for a relaxing night’s sleep

Sleep Stones

Each colour stone contains a different blend of hops and lavender to allow you to tailor the scent to fit your mood. These beautifully soft handmade felt balls are filled with hops and lavender that are ready to squeeze before you rest your head.

Hops in Recipes

Hop shoots, that emerge from the plant in April/May are a culinary delicacy - prepared like asparagus, they are served with seasoning and butter.

Buttered Hop Tops

8 oz hop tops

1 ½ oz butter

Melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Carefully mix in the hop tops. Cover them and cook gently for 10 minutes. Serve as a garnish for chicken.

Buttered Hop Tops with Lemon

Cook as above. Adding a squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper to the pan for the last two minutes of cooking time.

Buttered Hop Tops with Cheese

8oz hop tops 1 ½ oz butter 3 oz cheddar cheese 2 tblsp chopped parsley Cook as for the buttered hop tops. Put a bed of the grated cheese on each of four small plates. Arrange hop tops on the cheese and scatter parsley on top. Serves 4.

Cauliflower & Hop Top Sauce

1 large cauliflower

4 oz hop tops

2 oz butter

Juice of 1 lemon

2 x tablespoon chopped parsley

Freshly ground pepper

Steam the cauliflower whole for 20 minutes so it is just tender. Cook the hop tops in half the butter for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the butter in small pieces. When it has melted, add the lemon juice, parsley and pepper. Let the sauce come to simmering point. Put the whole cooked cauliflower into a warm dish and spoon the sauce over the top. Serves 4.

Baking Powder substitute

Grind dried hop flowers to a powder. Use 1 tablespoon to 1 lb plain flour.

Hop Top scramble

8 oz hop tops

8 oz button mushroom

8 eggs

2 oz butter

Cut hop tops into lengths and simmer in lightly salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. Thinly slice the mushrooms and beat the eggs. Melt butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Put in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the hop tops and cook for 1 minute more. Carefully stir in the eggs until they set to a soft scramble. Serve with jacket potatoes or on toast. Serves 4.

Hop Top Tart

Wholemeal pastry made with 8 oz flour

8-12 oz hop tops

6 oz cooked ham

4 oz curd cheese

4 spring onions (finely chopped)

4 x tablespoon chopped parsley

Oven reg: 6/200celsius/400F Make pastry and chill. Cut hop tops into lengths. Simmer in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain. Chop ham. Put in curd cheese. Beat 3 eggs into cheese. Stir in onions, parsley and season. Line a 10" tin with pastry. Put in hop tops & ham & pour on egg mixture. Bake 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Hops for Brewing

Hops for brewing

Traditionally grown in the counties of Kent and Hereford, brewers prefer UK hops as our farmers usually grow seeded varieties that are best suited for real ale or beer lager beers use a different seedless hop grown in other countries in Europe.

It is the hops that add the bitterness and aroma to beer.

Kent is known for two famous breweries, Whitbread Fremlins and Shepherd Neame, both used hops grown locally on their own hop farms around Sittingbourne and Faversham. Whitbread closed its Faversham brewery in the 1990’s but Shepherd Neame has been brewing continuously since 1698 longer than any other brewery in Britain.

To buy loose dried hops to add to your brew

Before we started Essentially Hops, all the hops grown on our farm were supplied for brewing...... most of our hops went to Bass Charrington and Truman beers. Now that we specialise in growing hops for decoration, less of our crop are sold for brewing but we do have a limited supply of plump unpressed dried hop cones that we "liberate" from the kiln at hop picking before they get pressed into hop pockets.

Dry hopping, with loose hops will give more flavor and aroma to your final beer.

We sell these plump, unpressed hop cones in small 100g bags or by the Kg

Hops for Medicinal Purposes

Hops for Medicinal Purposes

When we first started in business in 1990, we were inundated with interest from people who thought what we were attempting to do was wonderful. We raised awareness of the demise of the English hop growing industry and so many people came to visit us with fond memories of their childhood and days hop picking, when the industry was at it greatest. People were so generous we were given family momentos, photos and memorabilia to display. One lovely lady provided us with a handwritten list of recipes, which are detailed below:

Tinctures were created using hops that were supposed to help reduce painful swelling, bruises and boils. Compresses that would reduce neuralgia & rheumatic pains. Various tonics that would purify the blood, reduce nervousness, and hysteria, as well as stimulate a sluggish liver and stimulate the appetite. Hops are also said to also help with diseases of the chest & throat.

For nervousness, hysteria, insomnia.

Infuse ½ oz dried hop flowers in ½ pint boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey and drink the whole amount hot at bedtime. For insomnia Sleep with your head on a pillow of dried hop flowers. This will help diseases of the chest and throat.

A general tonic to purify the blood

Infuse ½ oz dried hop flowers in 1 ¾ pints of water (boiling) for 15 minutes, strain. Sweeten with honey. Drink a glass full three times a day

To stimulate the appetite

To 1 bottle of sherry add 1 ½ oz dried hop flowers. Leave to macerate for 24 hours. Strain. This can be taken as it is, in a sherry glass or diluted with hot water before the main meal of the day.

For difficult digestion Take one cup of the above infusion three times a day after meals.

(Essentiallyhops disclaimer – these recipes have been posted here as examples of traditional uses of hops from the 19th and 20th Centuries. This information is not intended to detail recommendations, advice or clinically proven remedies, treatments or cures. We recommend seeking professional medical advice for any condition detailed above and Essentially Hops accepts no liability relating to the information set out here.)