Preserving Your Horseradish Harvest

Armoracia rusticana

History of Horseradish

Horseradish is thought to be one of the original traditional bitter herbs, along with Coriander and horehound, used in the celebration of Pass Over. It was extremely popular in Germany and Scandinavia and was served with meat and fish dishes instead of prepared mustard. By the 17th century the French were using "moutarde des allemands", or German Mustard, with a sorts of dishes.

Culinary Uses of Horseradish

Today, it is very popular with meat dishes and sandwiches and is a main ingredient in tartar sauce, served with shrimp and other cold seafoods. Horseradish makes a very pungent sauce when grated and mixed with vinegar, and is used as a sauce to flavor all sorts of meats, including pork, seafood and salads and salad dressings. Cooking the horseradish root will only decrease the flavor, which practically disappears when the root is cooked. This is why the root is always grated and used raw.

Medicinal Uses of Horseradish

Grated Horseradish has a very pungent odor that is said to clear the sinuses if the fumes of the freshly grated root are inhaled. Beware, though, that the smell is quite harsh and can also irritate the sinus membranes and the tissues around the eyes. It is much more effective at making your eyes tear than onions could ever be, so be careful when you grate the root. It is reputed to be a powerful circulation stimulant and is said to be effective in lung and urinary infections.When taken internally is has been used to treat gout and rheumatism. A poultice can be made with the freshly grated root and applied to stiff, sore muscles or rheumatic joints will relieve the pain.

Aromatherapy Uses of Horseradish

There are no specifically mentioned uses for horseradish that I can find other than the ability to clear sinuses in a single breath!

Harvesting Horseradish

Horseradish has a long, white tap root that is what is used most often in the making of sauces, but, the fresh young leaves can be harvested to put in salads or steamed.

When harvesting horseradish, make sure that you lift the roots up out of the soil carefully by loosening the soil around the root with a garden fork and gently pulling up around the root of the plant. If you have a large, mature patch, the roots can be harvested any time, but, if you have planted the shoots for the Fall harvest, then wait until September or October to dig up the roots.

Preserving Your Horseradish Harvest

Drying Horseradish

Horseradish can be dried either sliced or grated, as outlined below:

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Food processor with a slicing attachmentOR

Cutting board and a good, sharp kitchen knife

OR A strong cheese grater

Vegetable Grater

Trays for drying the Horseradish:Outdoors:

Wood with wooden slats placed close together, for outdoors

Indoors in your oven:

Metal cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for your oven

METHOD:

1. Slice the clean, peeled horseradish root, either in the food processor or with the knife and cutting board, into uniform thickness.

NOTE: You can also grate the Horseradish in preparation for drying.

2. Spread out in a single layer on the wooden racks or parchment paper on the cookie sheets and place in either heat source. If using an oven, set the temperature at the lowest temperature, or, in the event of a gas stove, the pilot light heat should be sufficient.

3. Place the trays in the sun or in your oven and check occasionally to turn and check on the dryness of the Horseradish pieces.

4. When the Horseradish pieces are dry the discs will be brittle to the touch. Remove from the heat source and allow to cool. Store in a dark container or in a dark cupboard or pantry in a tightly sealed jar.

NOTE: If you have a vacuum sealer, the dried horseradish can be sealed into a vacuum bag and stored in the freezer, or, if your sealer came with a jar sealer, place the dried horseradish into a jar with the appropriate lid and vacuum seal the jar. Place the screw ring onto the top of the lid and tighten to "finger tight". Store in a dark cupboard or pantry away from direct light.

Freezing Horseradish

The best way to freeze Horseradish is with the use of a vacuum sealer, which will seal out the air and help retain the savory oils that make this root so famous.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Vacuum sealer with appropriate bags material

Fresh, whole Horseradish Root

METHOD:

1. Wash and trim the Horseradish roots in preparation for freezing.

2. Make a bag large enough to hold the roots by sealing one end of a piece of bag material to form the bottom seal and label the bag with the content and date.

3. Place the Horseradish roots into the bag and seal the loose ends of the bag to form a vacuum seal.

4. Store in the freezer until ready to use.

Storing Horseradish Whole

The easiest way to store Horseradish is to stick the roots whole into a box of dry sand and place in a cool, dark place through the winter, using the root fresh throughout the winter season.

STORING WHOLE:

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Large, strong box of wood or heavy cardboard

Dry Play Sand

METHOD:

1. Fill the box three-quarters of the way to the top with clean, dry sand.

2. Stick the whole Horseradish root, small side down, into the sand, making sure that there is a void of sand in between each root.

3. Slowly pour more sand over the tops of the Horseradish to cover and place the box in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for the winter.

STORING IN VINEGAR:

Large, clean jar with a mouth large enough to fit the roots through

A lid and Screw ring to fit the jar

Fresh, clean Horseradish Root with the tops trimmed off

Vinegar, Usually Apple Cider or White Wine Vinegar

METHOD:

1. Fill the jar half way to the top with vinegar.

2. Place the whole root into the large jar and pour the rest of the vinegar into the jar to within 1 to 1/2 inches from the top and seal.

3. This is an excellent way to store Horseradish, especially if you intend to grate it later. The vinegar can be used to flavor salad dressings and marinades, especially for pork and poultry.

Horseradish Infused Vinegar

Cold Method

This method uses the bottle that the vinegar is purchased in, so be sure to buy a high quality vinegar with an attractive glass bottle.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

1 bottle of good quality apple cider or wine vinegar

Small bowl

Food Processor fitted with either a slicing or gating bladeOR

Wooden Chopping Board and Sharp Kitchen Knife

Vegetable Peeler

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of grated or sliced fresh Horseradish root

1 clove garlic, optional

3 or 4 pepper corns, optional

METHOD:

1. Peel the Horseradish root and prepare the Horseradish by either manually slicing or grating the root with the cheese grater OR slice or grate with the food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade and process the root.

2. Pour a small amount (approximately 1/2 cup) of the vinegar into a small clean bowl to reserve for later use after the herb sprigs have been added.

3. Place the fresh grated or sliced horseradish root in the bottle of vinegar.

4. Top off to fill the bottle with the reserved vinegar and seal tightly.

5. Place the bottle on a sunny window sill for two weeks, gently shaking the bottle every day or so to mix the flavors of the herbs.

6. Soak off the manufacturer label and relabel with a decorative label.

STORAGE: These herbed vinegars are quite attractive and can be stored on the counter top, pantry or kitchen cupboard.

USES: This flavored vinegar is great in marinades for meat and poultry, in salad dressings and many other recipes requiring vinegar.

Horseradish root vinegar makes a great natural rinse to lighten and add shine to your hair!

Hot Method

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Small Bowl

Wooden Spoon

1/2 cup of freshly grated or sliced Horseradish

Chopping knife and chopping board or heavy cheese graterOR

Food Processor fitted with slicer or grater blade

Vegetable Peeler

Large clean wide mouth jar with tight fitting lid

Sheet of plastic wrap

Medium stainless steel or enamel sauce pan

Good quality apple cider or wine vinegar

Cheese cloth

Funnel

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of apple cider or wine vinegar

1/3 to 1/2 cup of grated or sliced Horseradish Root

METHOD:

1. Prepare the clean Horseradish Root by peeling the root with the vegetable peeler and either manually slicing or grating the root with a heavy cheese grater or process in a food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade.

2. Measure 1/3 to 1/2 cup and place the prepared Horseradish and garlic clove into the bowl.

2. Heat one cup of the vinegar until warm, but do not boil.

3. Pour hot vinegar over the Horseradish in the bowl and stir to mix well.

4. Crush the Horseradish a little to release the oils.

5. When cooled, add the remaining cup of vinegar and pour into a large jar and cap tightly.

6. Place on a sunny window sill and shake every day or so to distribute the flavors for two weeks.

7. Store by pouring the vinegar through a double layer of cheese cloth into a funnel over a clean decorative bottle.

8. Add a few slices of Horseradish and the pepper corns into the bottle for decoration and identification purposes.

9. Label and store in the pantry, cupboard or counter top.

Horseradish Infused Oil

Cold Method

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Medium bowl

Wooden spoon

Vegetable Peeler

Large wide mouth jar

Good quality extra virgin olive oil

Freshly grated or sliced Horseradish Root

1/4 or 1/2 dry measuring cups

2 cup liquid measuring cup

Cheese cloth

Funnel

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated or sliced Horseradish Root

2 cups of extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

1. Wash the freshly dug root of Horseradish and dry with Kitchen Towels.

2. Peel the root with the vegetable peeler and process the Horseradish root by either manually slicing or grating the root with a heavy cheese grater OR process in the food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade.

3. Place the grated or sliced Horseradish and the garlic clove in the bowl and crush slightly with the back of the wooden spoon to release plant flavors.

4. Pour half (1 cup) of the oil over the bruised Horseradish.

5. Stir and crush again slightly to release more of the plant oils.

6. Add remaining cup of oil and stir well to blend.

7. Pour into the large mouth jar and cap tightly.

8. Set on a sunny window sill for two weeks, shaking gently every day or so to mix the flavors.

9. Strain oil slowly through a double layer of cheese cloth set into a large funnel in the opening of a clean decorative bottle and cap tightly.

10. Add a few fresh slices of the Horseradish into the bottle, along with the pepper corns for decoration and identification purposes and label.

STORE: Keep the flavored oils out of direct sunlight after the seeping process in a kitchen cupboard or pantry. Oils tend to go rancid if left in the sun too long. The shelf life of flavored oils is approximately six months.

Hot method

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Medium kitchen bowl

Wooden Spoon

Food Processor OR Wooden Chopping Board and Sharp Kitchen Knife OR

Heavy Cheese Grater

Medium stainless steel or enamel sauce pan

Vegetable Peeler

2 cup or larger liquid measuring cup

1/4 or 1/2 cup dry measuring cup

Large wide mouth jar

Cheese cloth

Funnel

Decorative bottle

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 to 1/2 cup of freshly grated or sliced Horseradish Root

2 cups of extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

1. Wash the freshly dug Horseradish Root and wipe dry with the kitchen towel to dry.

2. Peel the root with a vegetable peeler and slice or grate the root, either manually or in the food processor, and measure 1/3 to 1/2 cup, depending on the intensity of the flavor desired.

3. Place the prepared Horseradish, along with the garlic clove and pepper corns, if desired, into the bowl.

4. Pour one cup of the oil into the sauce pan and heat, but do not boil.

5. Pour heated oil over the Horseradish in the bowl and stir with the wooden spoon to mix well.

6. Slowly add remaining oil into the bowl and stir to mix.

7. Once cooled, place in the large mouth jar and seal tightly.

8. Place jar on a sunny window sill for two weeks, gently shaking the bottle every day or so to blend the flavors.

9. Slowly pour the liquid a little at a time into a funnel lined with a double layer of cheese cloth set on the top of a clean decorative bottle and cap tightly.

10. Add a few fresh slices for decoration and identification and label, including the date.

USES: Flavored oils can be used in almost every recipe that uses oil, from meat, poultry or fish marinades, sautes, sauces, herb flavored mayonnaise, and salad dressings.

STORAGE: These oils will store up to six months in a dark cupboard or pantry.

Traditional Grated Horseradish

I try to keep a small jar of this in the refrigerator at all times. It keeps well for three or four weeks and is great in everything from Bloody Marys to cocktail sauce for cold seafood dishes.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Food Processor or Heavy cheese grater

Small clean jar (1/2 cup or so) with tight fitting lid

Bamboo skewer

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh Horseradish Root

Good quality vinegar, including white or red wine or light balsamic vinegar

METHOD:

1. Peel the Horseradish root and prepare by either grating the root manually with the cheese grater or processing in the food processor fitted with a grating blade.

WARNING: Resist the urge to bend down close and check the progress of the grating as you will experience an intense "cloud" of Horseradish oil and odor that will make your eyes water and your nose run! Use caution when leaning near freshly grated root!

2. Fill the clean jar half way with the vinegar and spoon the grated horseradish into the jar until full. Stir with the bamboo skewer to mix well.

3. Cap tightly and store in the refrigerator.