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.