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 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.
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.
Posted In: Gardening Life