Though I was originally told that the time to dig horseradish root is in the spring, before the leaves form, I have since learned that you can dig up horseradish any time of year, as long as the ground is not frozen. Therefore, I decided to make a batch of ground horseradish last week so we’d have some for Thanksgiving dinner.
Ingredients for Prepared Horseradish
- 1 cup peeled and cubed horseradish root
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tsp. white sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Since horseradish is not a particularly attractive plant, and because it spreads, we have ours planted behind the old chicken coop. Though I’m sure you can make bigger batches, we like to grind our horseradish as we need it.
I normally only dig up enough root to make a jar or two.
Brush the dried dirt off the horseradish root. Use a sharp vegetable peeler and paring knife to remove the (very) tough bark and expose the white horseradish root. As you clean the roots, place them in a bowl of cold water.
Next, chop the horseradish into smaller pieces. This makes the horseradish root much easier to process.
Drain the horseradish root and dump into the bowl of a food processor. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt. (Make sure you have plenty of room in the processor—I started this batch in my Black and Decker mini processor and ended up sloshing vinegar all over the counter.)
*Just a warning: Processing the raw horseradish begins rather violently. It is noisy and the food processor may shake a bit.
Process the horseradish mixture until it is finely ground and the pieces look uniform. Carefully remove the lid from the food processor and scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is processed; If the mix is too coarse, the finished product may taste bitter or woody.
*Another warning: Do not put your nose too close to that lid…this stuff is potent!
Once you’re happy with the finished grind, spoon the prepared horseradish into a 1/2 pint jar or small container; store it in the refrigerator for a day or two before eating.
(When you first grind the horseradish, it may not taste that great, but let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days and…wow!)
Serve the finished horseradish with ham, beef, or kielbasa, or try this recipe for creamy horseradish sauce.