I have always thought that horseradish is something I could really like. I kind of like the prepared stuff you can buy in jars, but often find them a bit vinegary. I love wasabi though, so I figured that if I grew horseradish I could taste the real thing. Foolishly I did no research whatsoever, bought a small pot and bunged it direct into the herb bed. This was a bit silly on two levels:
- The plant is quite big and the leaves swamped my lemon thyme plant fairly quickly.
- I have now read that the plant is really hard to get rid of from the garden because it grows so easily from root cuttings. You dig out the roots during harvest and given they go very deep and off at all angles it is really difficult to get the plant up without the roots snapping – these snapped off roots all have the potential to become new plants.
The picture above shows horseradish leaves, albeit slug damaged ones.
How I grew it:
Growing horseradish was pretty easy – as I mentioned I planted it direct in the herb bed and pretty much left it to get on with things. I do water the bed but the soil is fairly depleted in terms of nutrients and I dont tend to fertilise particularly often. It seemed to cope fine with this. The bed gets about 4-5 hours sun a day in summer.
I bought the horseradish in a 10cm pot and planted it out in Spring. I harvested in Winter, by pulling the plant and as much root as I could get out, after the leaves had died back in June. After harvesting I put one large piece of root into a pot filled with potting mix for next years crop. The rest I have processed or saved to use fresh. As you can see in the below picture some of the roots are already shooting again so I was perhaps a little late in harvesting. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference to the end product though.
I found a recipe on the ABC online site which I adapted a bit. You can find the original at: http://www.abc.net.au/tasmania/stories/s1797999.htm
- 2 tblspns milk
- 3 tblspns apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup washed and cut up horseradish
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
I then put all the ingredients except the vinegar into a food processor and processed it into a paste. In the original recipe it says to add half the vinegar at the initial stage but I didn’t add any. This is because I had read that; the point you add the vinegar is important in terms of the heat of the end product. For a milder horseradish add the vinegar earlier, for a stronger horseradish wait 3 minutes after processing and then add the vinegar. Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge. Be careful when opening the lid of the food processor as the fumes are really strong.
I have been really pleased with the end product – hot, horseradishy and without the vinegary processed taste of the jars that you can buy. Good stuff.