One of the most wonderful things about Horseradish is the way it looks after itself. Although it's an herb which thrives best in areas where there are cold winters (to provide the required root dormancy) and long summers (to provide good growing conditions) I have grown it successfully in two quite different parts of the country. Horseradish is a member of the mustard family and I grow it for the thick, fleshy white roots as well as for its large, deeply green foliage, which provides a super backdrop in the flower garden for the border plants. Once you have an established plot you will always have it, as the little bits you leave during the harvesting will re-grow for you the following season. You can harvest Horseradish in the spring or the autumn but, at Middelmost, it has the tradition of being gathered as the leaves fall and I look on it as another step towards tucking up for the colder months.
The taste and smell of Horseradish is almost indiscernible until you grate, or grind, the root part. As the root cells are crushed, volatile oils are released and you use vinegar to stop, or stabilise this reaction. If you want a milder flavoured Horseradish, add your vinegar immediately or, for a stronger kick, wait according to your taste buds. The following recipes are my favourite ways of using the prepared root and they also show the amazing versatility of this special 'kitchen garden' plant...and if all else fails, as you run out of jars to put your handiwork into, rub a piece onto your forehead when you have a headache - for some people it works wonders.
TO PRESERVE HORSERADISH.
Scrub, peel and grate the Horseradish root. Pack into jars a layer at a time, pouring vinegar over each layer.
HORSERADISH SAUCE - for fish.
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Horseradish
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- one eighth teaspoon of salt
- one quarter cup chopped parsley
Whip the cream, mix in the Horseradish, then the lemon juice and salt. Add the parsley just before serving.
HORSERADISH SAUCE - for cold roast beef, cold corned beef or for ham.
Make a medium roux with 1 ounce of butter, half an ounce of flour and 1 cup of milk. Add a quarter of a cup of grated Horseradish (drained if you are using your preserved stuff). You can also add a bit of prepared mustard to this if you like.
HORSERADISH SAUCE - for hot roast beef.
- Quarter of a cup of cream
- 2 level tablespoons of grated Horseradish
- 2 teaspoons of prepared mustard
- half a teaspoon of salt
- a good grind of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat but do not boil. Serve in a separate jug, or pour it down the centre of a sliced platter of steaming hot beef carved into portion sized steaks.
Enjoy! Althea from Middelmost.