Monday, November 7, 2011

Making & Storing Horseradish

 The photo on the left shows the biggest or gnarliest pieces of horseradish I pulled from the ground. I tucked away more then enough root stock to replant some fresh in the spring, and have been making batches of horseradish here and there with different meals. It's a ridiculously easy process. If you are use fresh dug horseradish I recommend peeling the larger pieces and rinsing them small ones as best as possible.
Horseradish root is really interesting. If you manage not to pierce the outer skin of the root you will barely notice an aroma. Once you cut, grind, or expose the root it starts to breakdown and the cells release an extremely pungent and flavorful oil we know as horseradish!

diced horseradish ready to be ground
Homemade Horseradish:
3 oz horseradish root. cleaned and diced.
white vinegar I used 2.5 tbls
Place diced horseradish into food processor or mixer & grind and chop until the desired consistency is achieved. Add vinegar to neutralize the smell. The longer you let the ground horseradish sit before adding vinegar the stronger 'horseradish' flavor there will be. For a light flavor add more vinegar right away & for a strong flavor wait 4-6 minutes and add less vinegar.(note: make sure you are in a well ventilated room with a fan going and a window open, as the aroma given off is EXTREMELY strong. Strong enough that, like an idiot, when I disregarded this warning and took a big huge whiff off the lid of the grinder after running it, and resting it for 3 min. I instantaneously let out a huge yell and ran from the room. My sinus' haven't been that clear since my disco days!) Once vinegar added briefly process again. Pour off excess liquid and refrigerate.  The longer the horseradish sits the 'weaker the taste will be. However the 2-3 months at most it will be in the refrigerator shouldn't see much loss of flavor. It's great to mix with a favorite mustard or mayo to give it that extra zing!
result: 1 full jar + some extra
I store the extra horseradish wrapped in some newspaper in the freezer. When I need some I pull it out, peel  and dice what I need and return the rest to the freezer. I also have more then enough 'seed stock' to plant some of my own and pass a few off on others. I planted 5 of those things in a really small space, probably where I should have planted 2 or 3 tops so I got a good mix of big and small pieces. I cut some down to size and set them aside as seed stock after we initially harvested the 4 plants. 1 more is over wintering under straw in the hopes that I can dig some up fresh in April for Passover!
I cannot stress enough the warning that you should be in a very well ventilated room and preferably wearing a mask or dishtowel over your mouth and nose. When I got a big whiff of just the cap I screamed holy fuck that is hot and ran away in real pain. don't be like me, at least cover your mouth and nose with a t-shirt. you will smell the horseradish but it won't be nearly as painful.


Mike said...

I loved your post! My wife's family makes horseradish every year and last year was our turn to make it. It came out awesome. Her family adds a pinch of sugar along with the vinegar. I can relate to the STRONG smell. I used to bounce at a club in the Hamptons and have had the luxury of getting pepper sprayed while doing my job. I can say that a whiff of fresh horseradish isn't that far off from a whiff of pepper spray!

Fred said...

Mike - I left one of the bigger horseradish plants to overwinter and will be making some red horseradish (with beet juice) for my Russian family! I can't wait to present them with some!
The smell was truly painful and a good reminder for future horseradish making endeavors!

Diana said...

Mmm, homemade horseradish! Soooo good! LOL about the "holy f*** that is hot" part - true! We try to process it outside. I've never saved roots over the winter to replant in spring; they over-winter fine in the ground here in zone 5. (N. Illinois) Plus, no matter how carefully I dig, thinking I got the whole plant, there's *always* some bit that gets left behind and re-grows on its own! You can't hardly get rid of the stuff! Some people think it's a pest for that very reason. I disagree - just eat it! [Grin.] I currently have a batch of tomato juice on the stove that I'm going to add some horseradish and other goodies to, and can homemade bloody mary mix.

Fred said...

Diana - homemade bloody mary mix sounds like a really great idea!
We froze a shopping bag full of striped roma tomatoes because we didn't have time to cook them down for sauce. I will have to try some bloody mary mix along with the ketchup I plan on making with these bonus tomatoes!

Alyssa... said...

That's just how I make horseradish and it comes out awesome. So much better than the store bought kind.

Marit said...

Standing on line at the grocery this September, I complemented the woman in line behind me on the heady fragrance of her dill. She explained that she was making Polish dills but had not been able to find horseradish leaf at the store. By the afternoon she was harvesting leaves from my patch, plus cherry leaves from the orchard. The key to quality Polish dills as it turns out.

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