I currently have a first year centennial that I think has cones that are ready to harvest. Most feel papery, and when compressed go back to their original shape almost immediately. I know there is tons of stuff on the web, but was curious for everyone’s insight. BTW, I live in coastal South Carolina. Thought it was early, but who knows.
My Centennial’s are damn near ready to harvest as well, my Willamette’s and Zeus are just spurring now. Anyway, dry and papery is a good place to start, feel each because chances are they all won’t be ready exactly at the same time. Just as long as they don’t start browning heavily leave them until a worthy amount are ready. This is what I have been doing and this will be my 4th year and I’ve been happy with my results.
Grab a cone, rub it between your fingers until it breaks apart. You are interested in the feel of the spine of the cone and the moisture content left on your skin. If the spine feels rubbery you are going to have a lot of moisture on your fingers(too young but almost there). When the spine feels more rigid, scales are opening more, lupulin present on the exterior of the cone, more aroma, and not as much moisture is the best indicator that your hops are ready. This is what i was taught by a commercial hop farmer, hope this helps because it has done me wonders on when to harvest :cheers:
I always put off the harvest until the cones are turning yellow or brown. The longer you wait the better. Be patient.
Thank you for the replies everyone!
How long is too long to wait? I just harvested some Mt. Hood last night that I felt I was a week or two late on. Hard to get out there as hot and humid as it has been.
Too late is when they turn crispy brown and fall off. Even then, they’re great. Too late I guess is when the wind blows them away. No worries. When in doubt… wait!
Sure seemed like these had no real aroma when squeezed… Maybe I am used to Chinook
I have had excellent success with my homegrown Hallertau hops waiting until they all turn yellow to light brown on the edges. The ones at the top that get the most sun are always the biggest and most aromatic. Conversely, when I’ve picked them too early when they seemed to be ready, they were far less aromatic and much more grassy and herbal in character. I don’t grow Mt. Hood, but based on their similarities and relatedness, I would guess the two should be very similar in this regard.