Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Horseradish

I was recently gifted horseradish. What, I wondered, does one do with horseradish root? Aside from make it into ground horseradish root, pickled with vinegar and salt. A quick internet search returned the result "not much." One can also make it into a relish with beets and onions, apparently, or turn it into an apple soup. But mostly it acts as a flavor enhancer and is used moderately sparingly. The apple soup uses 1/2 cup (pretty impressive--maybe I'd make it if I had apple juice around and let you know how it is). But generally, it isn't meant to be the main flavor.

That's not too much of a surprise. Horseradish is super-hot in the same kind of flash-in-the-mouth way of wasabi--not too much of a surprise, since they're in the same family, Brassicaceae and are used (and prepared) in moderately similar ways.

A couple of fun facts about horseradish:

  • It will tarnish silver.
  • 10 tablespoons fresh = 6 tablespoons dried, powdered
  • The young, tender leaves of the horseradish plant are edible and can be used in salads.
When I was in my early 20s, a friend gave me horseradish from her garden--horseradish to transplant, not to eat. She advised me to put it in a large container, rather than in the ground, because apparently horseradish spreads pretty crazily (at least if allowed to go to seed). A quick google search turned up close to 140,000 results. I did this and not long after had a lovely horseradish plant. I didn't know what to do with it though and after it chocked out the lettuces I'd planted along with it, I just let it die in its container. That being said, I don't think most people will need as much horseradish as is easily produced, so if you're considering planting it, you might also consider who you want to give it to when its ready to be harvested come autumn!
Horseradish about to be pureed
I pureed the horseradish with a little water, salt, and vinegar. I'm not reposting the recipe I used, because nothing was an exact, measurable amount. But basically, these are things that every "make your own horseradish" recipe called for, a pickling amount. Because that's, in part, how you preserve horseradish root--by pickling it.

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