Horseradish Hot Head…

May 26, 2008

Horseradish I looooooove me some horseradish. Yes, I'm a hot head. The hotter the better. I know, I'm well aware I also have a short fuse, but that's not what we're talking about here! I harvested some horseradish from the garden yesterday - it's not the right time of the year to do this, but with the bizarre stink bug outbreak I've had on the horseradish this spring, they're not really putting out lots of new growth. So, I chopped off all the leaves, along with the stink bugs, and relocated them to the compost pile...I'm hoping they will stay there. I've put a couple of praying mantis egg sacs out in the garden in hopes they will hatch and eat all the heads off my stink bugs, buutttt the timing probably isn't right at this point. I'm sure they'll be lots of other things for them to eat when they emerge.

In any case, one usually harvests horseradish when plants are more dormant - early spring and late fall is best. You lift the plants with a sturdy garden fork (plants are strongly rooted in) and chop off the long healthy roots. Then immediately replant the main crown in the same spot. Horseradish plants are pretty tough and can actually be invasive in some climates. If you want to keep them from spreading you can grow them in containers. They prefer a sunny spot but will take some afternoon shade. I provide mine no special treatment and minimal waterings and they are usually pest free.

Off season harvest aside, the flavor on these roots is great. I ended up with about a 16 oz. jar of processed horseradish from a handful of roots. It's so hot I can't even put my face anywhere near the jar. Whoohooo! That's the good stuff.

So you want to process some horseradish? It's easy. Lift a plant and chop off some long healthy roots - replant your crown (cut off the leaves when you replant if it has any). Scrub the roots clean and then peel with a potato peeler. Make a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 cup 5% vinegar. Chop the roots into small pieces and place in a food processor. You can decide how hot you want your horseradish to be by grinding it a little or a lot before you add some of the vinegar mixture. Grind it a little, then add some liquid, and it will be more mild. Grind it longer and it will be hotter. I grind mine pretty fine, till there is a lot of grind built up on the sides of the processor, then add a little of the vinegar mixture. This blends the grind back together and "stops the hot". Keep processing till your horseradish has the texture you want. The finer you process it after you've added the liquid, the easier it will be to mix with other foods. Then pack the processed horseradish into a small glass jar. Keep processing until you have what you need. You don't want too much of the liquid in your storage jar, so if it seems too watery, simply strain some of the liquid out. The jar will keep in the fridge for about 4-6 weeks.

Hmmm, what will I make...horseradish mayo? relish? horseradish risotto? Definitely some Jezebel sauce. MMMMMMMMMM. Yum.

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