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Hop (humulus lupulus)

A hardy perennial climbing plant, growing to over 5 metres, native to Northern Europe, and now cultivated especially for its female fruit-heads, these are used as a flavouring when making beer.

If growing at home from seed, you won"t know the gender for 2 or 3 years, which is the time it takes before flowers are produced.

The shoots are a delicacy, and during their short April season sell for £45 for 225g - putting them in the running for the world's most expensive vegetable.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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