How to Both Grow and Make Your Own Horseradish Sauce
Horseradish has been around for a very long time when it comes to
garden vegetables or herbs.
In fact, we have records that say the Egyptians used this plant before
1500 B.C. and it is one of the "bitter" herbs used in Passover
Believe it or not, it was also used as an aphrodisiac (mind you, the
Romans used just about everything as an aphrodisiac).
The roots of this plant are what we grow and they are planted in the
springtime as soon as you can work the ground.
Plant roots four to six
inches deep and one foot apart (it has a vigorous top growth).
grow horseradish in almost any soil except very heavy clay.
Do not let them dry out too much in the heat of the summer; mulching is
a good idea (mind you, mulching is a good idea for almost all vegetable
I've always found the horseradish roots to be pest and disease free and
grew from year to year with no work on my part. This plant is easy
to grow in full hot sunshine and once you have it, you won't lose it
(although it doesn't spread unless you leave roots in the ground)
Because that's one of the keys to this plant. Plant it where you expect
to grow it for a few years. I always found that I could seldom get all
the roots of every plant so every bit of root I left in the ground
became a new plant the following year. If you're a more thorough digger
than I am, leave a six inch long chunk of root wherever you want a
plant for the subsequent year when you harvest in late summer or early
I always love those recommendations that call for thinning horseradish
roots by pulling up the extras. I think I could thin mine with a 100
horsepower backhoe (about the same size as the one I used to dig the
This is simple gardening. Dig them up. You'll never get all the root so what you leave is next year's crop. If you think you managed to dig the entire root up, then simply chop off a six-inch long chunk (or two) and replant properly. You'll have lots next year.
Note: this is generally considered a tough plant to eliminate from the garden.
Heat Value of Horseradish
Now, the heat value of the root is not evident until you grate or grind
up the root. It is at this point that the volatile oils (called
isothiocyanates) are released.
For mild horseradish, add vinegar immediately after grinding. For
hotter sauce, wait a bit to add the vinegar. (it is hard to tell you
how long to wait to get the heat you want because the roots are
different depending on the variety and the growing conditions - keep
sampling till you get what you want).
The longer you wait to ad the vinegar – the hotter the sauce will be as
vinegar stabilizes the production of the oils.
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Grind in Well Ventilated Room
When you grind it, do so in a well-ventilated room. This stuff is as
potent as very hot peppers. I like using a blender to whip it up and
then leave it for a bit to get the heat I want.
I wash the roots before I grind as I'm a little fussy that way. Sand in
the teeth just does't cut it! I just chop the roots up so they don't
stick and bridge in the blender. I add a little water to get the
consistency I'm looking for. I'm told that the recipe calls for two to
three tablespoons of vinegar and a half teaspoon of salt for every cup
of vinegar. A friend told me she uses lemon juice instead of the
vinegar. (I'm a measureless-cook when it comes to this stuff - a dash
here, a splash here and away I go.)
Store in a refrigerator until you use it. And you can use it all over
the place (not just on roast beef).
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