Bzzzz November 30th, 2009

Peo­ple gar­den for veg­eta­bles, herbs and fruits. Why not condiments?

This past spring I was sur­prised to find a horse­rad­ish plant at my local gar­den cen­ter. They only had one, but I grabbed it.

horseradish 2

Horse­rad­ish is a peren­nial in zones 2 through 9. In fact, it’s so hearty than the under­ground roots can become invasive.

Since my horse­rad­ish was only planted in the spring, I was fru­gal in dig­ging up just a few roots this fall.  They didn’t smell of much until I processed them.

Pro­cess­ing horse­rad­ish in large quan­ti­ties should be done out­side to avoid burn­ing of the eyes and nasal pas­sages. It involves peel­ing and then grat­ing the roots by hand or in a food proces­sor, adding a vine­gar and water mix­ture to pre­serve the horse­rad­ish. Fresh horse­rad­ish processed this way will keep for about six weeks in the refrigerator.

Since I only had a bit of horse­rad­ish, I threw cau­tion to the wind and processed it indoors rather than haul­ing my Cuisi­nart to the back porch. I sur­vived unscathed.

The fresh horse­rad­ish is amaz­ingly brisk and pun­gent, with a much cleaner aroma than the horse­rad­ish I buy in the stores. So far I have made a sauce for crab cakes and horse­rad­ish dev­iled eggs—because God knows I have plenty of eggs.

The fla­vor is so fab­u­lous, I’ll never be with­out horse­rad­ish in my gar­den again. I sup­pose that’s espe­cially true if it turns out to be invasive.

Posted In: Food and Recipes, Gardening

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Bzzzz February 3rd, 2009

No sooner had I posted about the chang­ing sea­sons in my back­yard when we finally had the first snow of the season.

My feel­ing is that if it’s going to be unbear­ably cold, it might as well snow. So I was thrilled to finally have a snow day. Even at the age of *hum­mmm*, I can still enjoy an unsched­uled snow day.

Not every­one here was happy though.

The chick­ens were quite put out and protested by spend­ing the day indoors near their panel heaters. Once in a while one of the chick­ens would mosey up to their exit win­dow to poke his or her head out before try­ing to get back in. Of course, chick­ens being chick­ens, all the other chick­ens had fol­lowed the leader up the ramp to also go and look out the win­dow. All day long there were a series of col­li­sions with one chicken try­ing des­per­ately to get back into the the warm chicken coop and all the other chick­ens try­ing to see what was so inter­est­ing outside.

Snow always man­ages to stoke my cook­ing instincts as well. I get the urge to bake breads, make cakes and bake cook­ies. I used the threat of the pos­si­ble loss of power to roast a chicken and make bis­cuits early in the day. Then I made more bread–just in case we needed sand­wiches, you see.

Ciao!

Posted In: Gardening Life

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