Peo­ple gar­den for veg­eta­bles, herbs and fruits. Why not condiments?

This past spring I was sur­prised to find a horse­rad­ish plant at my local gar­den cen­ter. They only had one, but I grabbed it.

horseradish 2

Horse­rad­ish is a peren­nial in zones 2 through 9. In fact, it’s so hearty than the under­ground roots can become invasive.

Since my horse­rad­ish was only planted in the spring, I was fru­gal in dig­ging up just a few roots this fall.  They didn’t smell of much until I processed them.

Pro­cess­ing horse­rad­ish in large quan­ti­ties should be done out­side to avoid burn­ing of the eyes and nasal pas­sages. It involves peel­ing and then grat­ing the roots by hand or in a food proces­sor, adding a vine­gar and water mix­ture to pre­serve the horse­rad­ish. Fresh horse­rad­ish processed this way will keep for about six weeks in the refrigerator.

Since I only had a bit of horse­rad­ish, I threw cau­tion to the wind and processed it indoors rather than haul­ing my Cuisi­nart to the back porch. I sur­vived unscathed.

The fresh horse­rad­ish is amaz­ingly brisk and pun­gent, with a much cleaner aroma than the horse­rad­ish I buy in the stores. So far I have made a sauce for crab cakes and horse­rad­ish dev­iled eggs—because God knows I have plenty of eggs.

The fla­vor is so fab­u­lous, I’ll never be with­out horse­rad­ish in my gar­den again. I sup­pose that’s espe­cially true if it turns out to be invasive.

Robin

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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