Monday, August 20, 2007

Drying Hops in the Microwave

I recently read a section of On Food and Cooking that described the microwave as the most effective way to dry herbs at home because it is quick and preserves the essential oils. I decided to give this method a try on this years crop of my homegrown hops. So after picking all of my second year cascades I put them into a plastic colander and put them into the microwave.

Every 30 seconds I tossed the hops to make sure they dried evenly. After a total of 3 minutes in the microwave the hops seemed completely dry. After a few minutes to cool I put them into a Ziploc bag for storage.

The dried hops have a pungent American hop aroma. In addition there is a slight seaside aroma, I have no idea where this perceived aroma came from. Hopefully this aroma is either in my head or it won't transfer to the beer. I used these hops in a batch of American Pale Ale, and I am pleased to report that it tuned out very well.


Mattias said...

Intersting idea. Do you know if anyone else has tried microwave hop drying?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

As far as I know, I am the only one who has tried microwave hop drying (I bet there are others out there though). I’ve had a couple people tell me that they may give it a try next year, but no one reported trying it this year.

You could give it a trial run, if you end up with some extra fresh herbs that are just going to rot in your crisper drawer try drying them in the microwave. Just use them like standard dried herbs and see how the flavor/aroma compares.