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Old 06-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
hopmomma
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Default hop storage

Ill be dehydrating my first hop harvest. I am planning on getting mason jars for canning other things. Would it be better to dehydrate hops and can them? Or should i (unwillingly) invest in a vacuum sealer for storage?

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Old 06-26-2012, 03:19 AM   #2
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how would you can something solid like hops, without heating them? heat will caused the lupilin to degrade, so you can't heat your hops... how else would you "can" them?

two things that damage hops: heat and air. so the perfect solution: remove air (via vacuum... most easily achieved by a vacuum sealer) and then store at low temps - like in a freezer.

as far as i know, you can't remove air from a mason jar. you could pack a jar really, really full to limit how much air gets in there - but there will still be air. i'm unaware of any technique using mason jars that is better than using "food-saver" type vacuum sealers.

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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: citra saison
Fermenting: a hop-bursted APA w/ Conan, a citra farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend.
Aging: a bunch of belgian and soured stuff.
Up next: either an imperial stout or something to use up my homegrown hops... TBD.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:41 PM   #3
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There are ways to do this, from expensive vaccum sealers to something cheap like this: http://www.instructables.com/id/The-...Vacuum-Sealer/. YMMV...

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Old 06-26-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
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The biggest question you need to ask yourself is "How long do I need these to keep?"

Here's the data we put out as far as how long you can store under given conditions before there is a noticeable decrease in product quality (i.e. degradation of alpha acid levels, oil loss):

Frozen, gas flush in UV barrier bag: 14-20 months
Frozen, non-flush in UV barrier bag: 7-12 months
Frozen, non-flush in non-UV barrier bag: 5-7 months

Room Temp., gas flush in UV barrier bag: 10-14 months
Room Temp., non-flush in UV barrier bag: 3-9 months
Room Temp., non-flush in non-UV barrier bag: 1-3 months

UV barrier bag means bag that is impervious to light. Most cheap vacuum bags are not UV impervious. Even some aluminized bags aren't.
Gas flush means the pack is filled with nitrogen, purged and then sealed of filled with nitrogen again and sealed.

So if you are going to use them relatively quickly, the packaging doesn't matter as much as long as they were completely dried.

Don't use heat to can them. Anything above 100F will cause oils to boil away. Above 140F causes degradation of the alpha acids (bittering). If by "can" you mean put them in an air tight can...go ahead but then throw it in the freezer.

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Old 06-26-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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I was only planning on using the jars in the same way you would jar spices after they are dried. No additional heat application. Im not sure how much we will have, do to this being the "first year" harvest. Id like to try using hops in so other recipes besides homebrew, though i doubt the master brewer of our house will allow any hops to escape the wort. It does seem as though it would be best to buy a vacuum sealer. Thanks everyone for input.

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Old 06-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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First year? You won't have enough to worry about storage. They will be used up in the first brew or two. So storage isn't a big issue.

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Old 06-26-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopmomma View Post
Id like to try using hops in so other recipes besides homebrew, though i doubt the master brewer of our house will allow any hops to escape the wort.
What other recipes? I've tried making bread with them, but once you get enough hops in to taste, the heat of the oven isomerizes that alpha acids and the bread become bitter bread. I've been trying to get some teamaker (very low alpha acid) but the few we have in our fields are being dedicated to propagation, not my kitchen.

I did find rubbing hops on chicken or throwing a few in the can shoved inside a chicken to make "beer can chicken" or "beer- butt chicken" tastes pretty good.

I've also sprinkled them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping bread. They nicely offset the sweetness of the vinegar.

The folks at foothill hops make an awesome hop mustard for pretzels and such.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GVH_Dan View Post
I did find rubbing hops on chicken or throwing a few in the can shoved inside a chicken to make "beer can chicken" or "beer- butt chicken" tastes pretty good.
I should mention, I usually use Mount Hood hops. While they still have the bittering, their flavor is akin to Juicy Fruit gum and adds a pleasant flavor. Though the citrus of cascade works, too.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopmomma View Post
I was only planning on using the jars in the same way you would jar spices after they are dried.
(...)
It does seem as though it would be best to buy a vacuum sealer.
indeed it would be best. the problem with just stuffing the dried hops into a jar is the amount of air that they are exposed to. freezing will limit the impact of this air.

you might get a big harvest this first year, it's happened to others before but in general a first-year harvest is rather limited especially if you started your hops from rhizomes. expect a much better crop next year. this year, the plants concentrated on strengthening their roots, so they could make it through their first winter. next year they will be able to dedicate more energy to flowers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GVH_Dan View Post
UV barrier bag means bag that is impervious to light. Most cheap vacuum bags are not UV impervious. Even some aluminized bags aren't.
UV barrier bags are important only if you expect the bags to be exposed to UV. they're meaningful for farmers and retailers since the product may be exposed to light while be transported, shelved, etc. for the homebrewer, UV protection is meaningless unless you're stupid and leave your hops on the windowsill. an hour's exposure to the lightbulbs in your kitchen aren't going to harm your hops.
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: citra saison
Fermenting: a hop-bursted APA w/ Conan, a citra farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend.
Aging: a bunch of belgian and soured stuff.
Up next: either an imperial stout or something to use up my homegrown hops... TBD.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #10
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First year hops can produce a considerable crop. It's really dependent upon your setup. The first year I had hops, I planted them in 18-Gallon plastic storage totes with miracle grow soil and holes drilled in the bottom for proper drainage.

My first year hops easily passed 15 feet tall and produced almost what I'd consider a full harvest. It was also my first year of homebrewing. I didn't own a dehydrator, I didn't own a vacuum sealer, I didn't know anything about using wet hops back then. I just let them go and never harvested them because I was unprepared. (Now I feel like I should be punished for such a terrible act.)

I have 2 plants - centennial and nugget. My current procedure is to brew somewhat of a random IPA the day I harvest, use wet hops right off the vine, then dehydrate and vacuum seal the rest. IMO, you can't beat having a vacuum sealer for hop preservation / storage. I feel it's pretty much a necessity if you ever want to buy hops in bulk.

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