Tuesday, January 23, 2018

More Horsing Around

I know, I know, I've already told you all about horseradish and what a wonderful thing it is.

But the other day it was time to make some more prepared horseradish, so I thought I'd let you tag along, show you the ropes, how easy it is to make your own prepared horseradish.

What you need for this are:
Horseradish root (well, duh!)
A good paring knife, preferably serated
A good vegetable peeler
A sturdy blender or food processor (we have a Vitamix)
Some water
Vinegar, I prefer cider vinegar, but use what you like
Jars to put the prepared root in

Back in November or December I dug a bunch of the root right before the weather turned bitterly cold. I didn't want to take the time to clean it, so I left it in a five-gallon bucket in our attached garage. I figured that would be like the refrigerator. I should have covered the horseradish to prevent moisture loss -- not tightly, but loosely -- as by the time I got around to cleaning it some of the thinner pieces had gone a little limp; but no worries, it was still good. To clean, I put the roots in a dish tub full of water and let them soak for a while to loosen the dirt still clinging to them. Then I scrubbed off the dirt and cut away any bits that were funky or too old or otherwise not usable. Then I but them in a crisper drawer in the fridge. They also can be put in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator. Just be sure you use them before they start molding.

Fast forward to processing day.

Peel the roots with your vegetable peeler and cut away any spots, discolored ends, etc.
Cut roots into small chunks, like about one-inch long pieces. Roots with a large diameter should be cut smaller. Put all your chunks in the blender or food processor. And add water. You'll need water or your blender will burn up. I think I put in enough water to go halfway up the root in the blender. You can add more, but my husband doesn't like his horseradish too juicy, so I used vinegar as some of the blending liquid. Because I knew that I would have at least three cups of prepared horseradish, I put in enough vinegar for that amount of sauce, and added more later when it became apparent how much I would have. Supposedly, adding the vinegar right away tames down the mustardy heat. I don't know. If this horseradish was tamed by the immediate addition of vinegar, I am glad I didn't wait.

So, how much vinegar?

Two to 3 tablespoons per cup of prepared horseradish. I lean toward the larger amount.

Now blend/process. Stop every couple of minutes or so to give the motor a rest. The Vitamix has some kind of sensor that will stop it before you completely burn up the motor. I managed to avoid that until the very end. You can ruin your machine if you don't give it a rest.

When it becomes clear how much prepared horseradish you will have, add the rest of the vinegar.

DO NOT PUT YOUR FACE DIRECTLY OVER THE BLENDER/PROCESSOR WHEN YOU OPEN IT. Unless you want searing pain in your eyes and sinuses. I do my blending on the counter next to my cook stove so I can run the range hood fan to exhaust any mustard gas fumes from the horseradish. Next I shovel the prepared horseradish into canning jars and cap them tightly. I got three pints and one half pint out of this batch.

Store in the refrigerator. Don't wait too long to use it, as its potency deteriorates over time. It's best to store fresh root in the refrigerator and process only as much as you can use in a couple of months. Eat frequently to get the maximum health benefits from it and because it really perks up food. I like mixing it with my homemade apple butter. I spread it on my baked salmon and even just eat the blend on its own. Maybe put some horseradish on your apple pie. Mash horseradish in with avocado. Mix in with mashed potatoes. Good food.

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