Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gifts from the Garden, Atomic Horseradish Sauce

My friend Jeff has many talents. A great artist, master gardener, he is also a talented cook. I always enjoy fresh from the garden gifts, don't you?

According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold. It has long been used in Europe as a condiment. The origin of the name is unclear because ironically, it is poisonous to horses.

Today I learned how easy it is to make your own fresh and pungent horseradish sauce. If you don't arleady have horseradish root growing, it's easy to grow. Buy some root at the grocery store and soak it for 2 days in water. Cut it up into pieces 1 1/” to 2' long, and plant it with the wider end up. Sandy soil is best with at least ½ day of sun. Now you will have to wait 2 years before you can harvest your roots.

You will see big leaves, about 3 feet tall, then it's time to dig your roots. Save the crown where the root meets the leaves, these can be re-planted and will grow more roots for you. Wash the roots well and scrape off the outer layer with a sharp knife. You may have some harder parts of the skin which you will have to cut out. Cut the roots into pieces that will pulverize in your blender or food processor.
Jeff likes to use equal parts cider vinegar and vodka. You must put the cut pieces into the vinegar immediately to preserve it's pungency and white color.  The cider vinegar is has health benefits, the vodka helps kills any bacteria that may be lingering. You can also add a bit of salt if you like. As you are pulverizing, also add water as needed to liquify the mixture.

This wonderful pungent mixture will keep for about a month in your refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. If you are adding it to a cooked sauce, wait until the very end, and do not cook it more than 20 minutes. Jeff finds if you cook it any longer than 20 minutes it starts to lose it's zip.

What an easy and wonderful gift from your garden to your friends..... Don't forget to make a cool label for the jar!