How to harvest:
After a season of caring for your plant, it's time for the benefits of your labor!
- When the leaves have been killed by frost (late fall in warmer zones) loosen the soil around the horseradish with a pitchfork then lift out the root.
- Shake off any remaining dirt. Wash and dry the root.
One-year old horseradish root, dug up & leaves removed.
Same root, divided into 4 pieces -big one to use & 3 to replant for next year's horseradish crop!
- Sections of root that are around 3/4 inch in diameter and approx. 10 inches long can be replanted for your next year's crop. Cut the top of the root off square, trim the bottom of the root at an angle, so you remember which end is the bottom!
Left end is cut at an angle, indicating bottom of root for replanting
How to Prepare:
- Dormant roots have the most flavor! If the root has a greenish tint or leaves are sprouting there will be very little flavor. If this is the case, place the root into a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 weeks before processing. The flavor of horseradish diminishes rapidly with time, that's why it can't be stored very long once processed. After you dice or grate the root, cover it with white vinegar to prevent oxidation of the flavor. Timing is important here ... the longer you wait to add the vinegar, the hotter it will be! For less-hot horseradish add the vinegar 1-2 minutes after processing, for more-hot wait up to 6-8 minutes. You will not taste much of the vinegar.
- The whole root can be grated at once and stored in a jar filled with white vinegar but it will not retain full flavor for too long. It is better to grate an inch or two off the bottom of the root as needed. Otherwise prepare as your recipe requires.
- Be sure you stay upwind as you grate, the fumes are quite strong! Try to go outside or work near an open window.
- Store any unused portion of root in the fridge in a loose plastic bag, or it will turn green and grow leaves.
- For a simple cocktail sauce, mix to your taste with chili sauce and serve with seafood. Mix with sour cream for a chip dip; add to any mustard for Dijon style; serve grated with meats, or as your recipe specifies.
Food always tastes better ... when you grow it yourself!