I’m always interested in creating new flavourings and seasonings. I use them mostly for charcuterie but you can use them for pretty much anything. When it comes to deciding what to make it really just comes down to personal preference. In this case I thought beer and charcuterie go really well together so why not and combine the two?
Because salt is an essential ingredient in charcuterie I decided to infuse my salt with hops. I had several varieties of dried hops I had sourced a while back; each variety of hops brings its own unique flavour profile. Hops are the flowers or cones from the hop plant. Hops have a lupulin gland which contains resin and essential oils – this is where the flavour and aroma comes from, so this is what I wanted to collect. As with most charcuterie related projects, this does take some time so allow for about a month before your salt will be ready to use.
2 Cups rock salt/Course salt
Hop cones (Cascade, Galaxy & Super Pride)
Hop resin (Cascade, Galaxy & Super Pride)
or any other hops varieties you can get
Place the hops inside a ziplock bag and squeeze the air out to make it airtight as much as possible. Oxygen is an enemy of the hops as oxygen can cause the hops to oxidize and lose its bitterness and also take on a old funky ‘cheesy’ aroma. Gently roll the bag around to break up the hops. The hops will separate and the resin will fall to the bottom of the bag.
The sticky golden substance at the bottom of the bag is the resin. Use a spoon to scoop it out of the bag.
Place the rock salt into a screw top jar and sprinkle the resin over the salt and add in a few hop cones. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously to mix everything up. Place the jar in cupboard to avoid exposure from the light. Light is another natural enemy of hops; hops exposed to the light will break down rapidly and cause ‘off’ flavours.
The idea behind this was that the salt would absorb the hops flavours by pulling out the liquids and oils from the resin and hop cones. Leave for a minimum of 2-3 weeks to infuse and every time you walk past give the jar a shake (I left mine in for 1 month).
One month later, there you have it, hops infused salt. You can definitely smell and taste the aroma of the hops in the salt (it smells of hops and tastes of salt!) with a hint of bitterness. You can use the mixture as the salt component of a cure, use in a spice grinder to get a finer grain if that takes your fancy and even use it as a seasoning in place of normal salt.