2014 First-Season Hops Harvest

By late August, I had to start thinking about harvesting the hops. Farmers apparently just cut the whole bines down. This would be efficient on a farm but probably give a few cones that were unripe, a few overripe, and plenty that were ideal. Being a two-hop kind of guy, I have the chance to take several harvests of whichever cones are ripe, separated by a couple of weeks.

Here the hops are tussling with their roommates, the kitchen herbs.

Cascade hops, first season, mid-August

They are lovely little beings to have decorating the walls of the garden.

Cascade hops, first season, mid-August

I invited a friend over to help with the harvest. Although I had done a bit of research on ripeness, I was concerned that they might go too long and be unusable. The first season might be hard to judge, but I probably erred on the side of underripe. It was a cold and rainy day.

First season Cascade hops harvest, mid-September

We got a little less than a pound if I recall, although they were wet from the rain. Only one of the two rhizomes produced cones the first year.

I used a dehydrator to knock them down to about three ounces of dry hops and threw them in the freezer for future use.

First season Cascade hops harvest, mid-September

The second season, I learned a bit more about harvest timing.