Homemade Horseradish Sauce
Having your own horseradish plants is a great way to save a little money and spice up your meals. Homemade horseradish is much stronger than storebought, so a little will go a long way. I like having extra horseradish sauce in the freezer to thaw and use in the winter on roasts, ham, and burgers.
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The best time to harvest horseradish is in the spring before the leaves start to grow, or in the fall when the weather cools down. During the summer the roots get rather woody and tough. Be sure to dig down deep with a shovel to get as much of the horseradish root as you can. These plants have very long tap roots and I never get them all!
Rinse the roots off and trim away the leaves before you bring them in the house. Open a window before you start working with these pungent roots. If you aren’t careful, the fumes will cause more tears than a bushel of onions!
Peel the roots and chop into chunks. You may grate the root with a hand grater or whiz them through a blender or food processor. I put about a cup of roots in my blender and add enough white vinegar to cover them. Once these are processed very fine, I add a few more chunks and run the blender again. Add vinegar as the mixture becomes thick to make it easier on your blender. Blend in a small amount of lemon juice to help prevent browning.
Storing Horseradish Sauce
Store your fresh horseradish sauce in a glass jar in your refrigerator. I’ve read that you should use your horseradish sauce up in 3 or 4 weeks but I’ve kept my homemade horseradish sauce in the refrigerator for up to a year and, although it did get a little brownish, it still tasted fine. The flavor was definitely not as strong, but that’s not a big issue for me. I have also put the extra horseradish sauce in my freezer, then thawed it out and used it without any problems.
You may also clean the horseradish roots and store them in a jar of vinegar in your refrigerator. Pull the root out, chop some off, and make enough sauce to last a month. Keeping the root in the vinegar will retain its pungency. I think that a nice cold root cellar would be another great way to store your horseradish roots. Keep the roots in cold, damp sand at 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to use.
Spread horseradish sauce on sandwiches, burgers, roasts, and chops. Make your own creamy horseradish sauce by draining the vinegar off a tablespoon or two and mixing into mayonnaise. I also like using a little horseradish in soups and stews for extra zing. Be creative! Just don’t overdo it, especially if someone in your family isn’t particularly fond of this zesty root. (Ahem…not that I know anyone like that.)
An All Natural Medicinal
Horseradish is reputed to have antibiotic and diuretic properties. It will also help to break up and expel mucus from your lungs and sinuses. Mix horseradish with honey and take by small spoonfuls to replace cough drops.
Horseradish is great to grow in a corner of your yard. Be sure to plant it where it won’t take over your garden. Having this old fashioned perennial vegetable on hand is sure to warm up your winter meals and chase away the nasty cold bugs!
Free Greens in Spring, Too!
You can also harvest the young tender leaves early in the spring to add to salads and sauteed greens. They have a very zesty flavor, mildly reminiscent of horseradish root, so try a little before you heap them up on your plate!
Do you have any special tips for preparing, storing, or using horseradish root? What is your favorite way to use horseradish? Leave a Comment!