Horseradish, Armoracea rusticana
A wonderful herb that packs quite a punch!
I was given a small clump of horseradish to plant in my garden a few years ago. After a year, I decided I didn’t like where I had planted it, so I moved it about 2 meters to the right… Now I have two clumps of horseradish, the original one that I had planted, and the second one about 2 meters to the right! Believe me when I tell you not to plant horseradish in your garden, but to cultivate it outside of your beds in a special place all on its own. It seems the more you try to dig it out, the more it comes back.
Thank goodness it is such a wonderful ally to have in our diet. Not only does it add flavor and bit of a kick to pork, sauces, and as a condiment, it also stimulates digestion, is good for bladder and lung infections, and is great for clearing out the sinuses. I have a friend who, when suffering from severe congestion, digs horseradish root to gnaw on to clear out her sinuses. It really works!
Initially I was distressed about the tenacious nature of horseradish, but now I feel happy and blessed that such a strong and beneficial plant exists in my garden. I happily dig a pile of the roots out each fall and process them to store for use over the winter.
So, what do you do with them? First, dig your roots, late fall is best. Scrub and wash all the dirt off and chop them into fine pieces (or use a blender, do a few quick pulses to get the roots down to the size of coarse salt). Put the chopped root in a jar and cover it completely with apple cider vinegar. Cap the jar and store in the fridge. Now you have a ready made condiment that you can add to pork and other meats. Try adding a tablespoon or two to sauces (its sharpness will diminish as you cook it). Here is a great recipe for Dresden Sauce that I found in Kathy Kevilles Encyclopedia of Herbs:
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. horseradish fresh if possible
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine ingredients and serve with main course.