Sunday, October 16, 2011

Horse's Radish

 If you've ever watched any of the Lauren & Hardy shorts, you probably remember the routine in Twice Two (1933): "Would you go to the kitchen and get the horse's radish?" Stan Laurel asks his wife. "You go get it yourself!" she answers.
 "Hmph! Horse's radish!" she says.
 Well, horse's radish is something we grow and we've been waiting several years for our two current plants to mature enough to dig some of the root. Mom has been talking about making homemade horseradish for years.
 We've made it before, fiery hot horseradish that requires you treat it with some respect. Don't hold the spoon too close to your eyes when you add a dab to a sandwich.

 I'll show you the finished product first because you'd never think that a handful of roots (tubers, actually) would make something so snow white and delicious. But behind that meek exterior is the heart of a monster. We used a variation of this recipe. I'd say the liquid mentioned in the recipe is inadequate, though. Other recipes we've used call for up to 3/4 cup of vinegar. You can add liquids (vinegar and water) until the horseradish suits your taste. Without enough liquid, it won't grate properly in the blender, of course.

 Here's a picture of the roots I dug and washed. I just sit down on the ground and use the hose to wash the tubers while I rub them with my fingers. Pretty ugly things, huh?

 The roots are cut into convenient lengths and then a carrot peeler is used to remove the outer brown layer. You have to be careful to keep your fingers away from your eyes as you work with horseradish. After the roots are peeled, we cut them into small diagonal chunks.

 Looking down into our Waring blender, the roots are ready to be finely grated. Remember to add enough liquid to complete this step.
 Caution: When you remove the lid, stand back. The fumes which rise will cause your eyes to burn! I can't stress enough to be careful at this stage.
 We place the finished product in a small glass jar and refrigerate it. If you feel you need more vinegar or more salt, it can be added and stirred into the finished product. Though the recipe says it will keep for weeks, we've found the time it can be kept in the refrigerator much longer. Use common sense.
 Today, horse's radish. Tomorrow, a sandwich!