10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #7 – Hop Shoots

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

So, after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles and Coffin Bay King Oysters, we present a vegetable that definitely needs a mention. We are talking of the Hop Shoots that look a lot like asparagus and is available for €1,000 a kilo! We really can’t call that cheap, can we?

Why does it cost a bomb? Hop Shoots are rare, growing only in spring and don’t cultivate in an even row. So, you have to break your back hunching over each shoot while hunting for these. Besides this, these shoots are so tiny that one needs to pick about hundreds to fill a bag! Too much work for just some shoots!

#7 – Hop Shoots

A seasonal delicacy, Hop Shoots have some interesting trivia attached to them! When they begin to grow they are a deep purple in colour that changes into a perky green as soon as they morph into swirling tendrils or ‘tips.’ A flower known as a ‘burr’ is also produced by the feminine hops, and it is eventually these from which the ‘cones’ grow, that are harvested.

There’s a common practice that’s followed when growing these greens – you need to trim-off the first growth and wait for the second to come. This is done as the early ones grow very fast, and thus tend to be fragile and hollow. These, in turn, can prove to be less useful as well.

Enough said about the looks, its time for the main thing now – the taste. Epicureans around the world say that the taste of hop shoots ranges from mouth-drying, fibrous and astringent to a slight sweet, which is very asparagusish!

Nonetheless, they are quite tasty and come across with flavours that are subtle yet earthy! So much so that the Italians have a popular traditional dish of theirs dedicated to these expensive shoots – the ‘Risotto di Bruscandoli’ or simply the hop shoots risotto! Other ways to dish-up these greens are by simply sautéing or steaming them in butter with garlic and chives or you can use these to flavour your soups or make pretty garnishes or serve them with Worcestershire sauce glazed grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Divine!

Not to forget the health benefits – rich in iron and antioxidants, and are known to help fight cancer as well as ease menopause conditions. Looks definitely can be deceiving!

Make sure you don’t miss the chance to consume it whenever you get one!

As we move on to bring to you the next expensive ingredient to feature on this list, you can share your exciting recipes and foodie stories with us. We absolutely love receiving them, read about them and try them in our kitchen. Also, don’t forget to share, as sharing is caring!

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