No I haven’t gone mad. Jerusalem Artichoke, Collards, Okra and now Horseradish.
I have made a concuss decision to blog about some of our less well known garden vegetables.
Lets face facts, many thousands words have been published by bloggers about Tomatoes, Peppers and Potatoes. But who will defend the lowly Jerusalem Artichoke or Horseradish?
Just because these plants are not in every home garden does not make them less worthy of your consideration for your 2014 vegetable garden. Plants like Jerusalem Artichoke, Collards and Horseradish are almost never fail crops and require very little garden space for enough plants to supply you and your family for an entire season.
Horseradish is attested in English from the 1590s. It combines the word horse (formerly used as an adjective meaning “strong, large, or coarse”) and the word radish.
Caution Despite the name, all parts of this plant can be poisonous to horses.
Horseradish has been cultivated since antiquity. According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold. Horseradish was known in Egypt in 1500 BC. Dioscorides listed horseradish under Thlaspi or Persicon; Cato discusses the plant in his treatises on agriculture, and a mural in Pompeii(before 79AD) shows the plant.
Horseradish is perennial in hardiness zones 2–9 and can be grown as an annual in other zones, although not as successfully as in zones with both a long growing season and winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy. After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, dig the root and divided.
The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year’s crop. Horseradish left undisturbed in the garden spreads via underground shoots. Older roots left in the ground become woody, after which they are no longer culinarily useful, although older plants can be dug and re-divided to start new plants.
Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root and vinegar or sometimes mixed with mayonnaise or mustard is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom, United States and in Poland. In the UK it is usually served with roast beef, often as part of a traditional Sunday roast, but can be used in a number of other dishes also, including sandwiches or salads. A variation of horseradish sauce, which in some cases may substitute the vinegar with other products like lemon juice or citric acid, is known in Germany as Tafelmeerrettich. Also popular in the UK is Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and grated horseradish originating in medieval times and mentioned by Shakespeare. A very similar mustard, called Krensenf or Meerrettichsenf, is popular in Austria and parts of Eastern Germany.
In the U.S. the term “horseradish sauce” refers to grated horseradish combined with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Prepared horseradish is a common ingredient used as a sauce or sandwich spread.
Horseradish contains volatile oils, notably mustard oil, which has antibacterial properties due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate. Fresh, the plant also contains average 79.31 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of raw horseradish.
Don’t try to store Horseradise for more than 2 or 3 weeks. Dig and process roots as needed.
1. Use a sturdy shovel to dig up an 8-10-inch long tuber of horseradish. (You can’t pull it up.) The plant once established, propagates with tubers, and is very hardy. Remove the leaves from the root and rinse the dirt off of the root.
2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off of the tuber. Chop root into pieces.
3. Put into a food processor. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Process until well ground. At this point be careful. A ground up fresh horseradish is many times as potent as freshly chopped onions and can really hurt your eyes if you get too close. Keep at arms length away, and work in a well ventilated room. Strain out some of the water if the mixture is too thin. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Pulse to combine.
Note that the vinegar will stabilize the level of hotness of the ground horseradish, so do not wait too long to add vinegar to the mixture.
4. Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer the grated horseradish to a jar. It will keep for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
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