First up in the garden this year, the horseradish is making an April debut.
The plant, a perennial, comes up every year on its own and tends to spread over time via underground shoots. It looks like we will have a bumper crop this year.
We are planning to dig some of it up to replant outside of the fence. Horseradish is a deer resistant plant so we are going to free up some of the valuable space in the garden for another crop. Maybe broccoli or cabbage as they are actually from the same family.
By the end of May the horseradish plants fill in with large waxy leaves.
It is the roots that we want. Horseradish Belongs to the Brassicaceae family which in addition to the fore mentioned cabbage and broccoli also includes mustard and wasabi. The root itself is fine until you peel and shred it. This is the moment it gains in pungency and spicy strength. The gas that the peeled root emits will irritate your eyes and nose so make sure you are in a well ventilated place when handling it. To stop the burn, you need to add vinegar. Once the vinegar is added, it can be stored in a clean jar in the refrigerator or freezer.
Used as a condiment, horseradish adds interest to many dishes including cream sauce for roast beef, dipping sauces for vegetables or fish, or with a little beet shredded in for a traditional addition to Gefilte fish. Mixed in your favorite mustard or mayonnaise, it will bring excitement to ham or deviled eggs.
With the Easter and Passover holidays coming upon us in the next few weeks, it is good to take stock of what we can add to family dinners to spice them up. Found in the oldest European kitchens, horseradish is a great condiment for the holiday table. It is also one of the easiest plants to grow in a home garden.