Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thinking about the New Year

We attach significance to the turning of the calendar, and when the calendar turns to a new year, it means more than learning to change a digit when we write a check -- we’ve started a new chapter.  I was on yahoo today and there were a dozen articles about New Year’s resolutions and how no one can keep them.

I thought perhaps if we attacked them differently we might have different results.  So rather than a list of items that you should do because you want to be a better you --  like lose 50 pounds, stop smoking and such, all of which are hard and lengthy items requiring renewed motivation on a regular basis --  try this list on for size.

* Read one book you’ve wanted to read.
If you are a big reader, you already have a stack to read. Pick one and commit to getting it read. If you read less and don’t have a book in mind, talk to someone you trust and admire and ask them for a suggestion. It doesn’t matter what the book is; pick it, and read it.

* Make a list of the things you’ve learned this year. (I got this idea from a post on a yahoo group for The Essential Herbal)  Hopefully it is a long list! Don’t try to do this all at one time. Give yourself a place to write and a couple of days to allow your mind to find these nuggets.

* Identify the top five.
Review the list you made and pull out the five that are most important to you. Write them down and think about why they are so valuable to you and how you can benefit from them today and in the future.

* Spend one day in service to others.
Volunteer your day to a service organization. Go to a nursing home. Rake the neighbor’s leaves. Use your professional skills in a pro bono way. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it with a giving heart.

* Make a list of the most fun things you have done this year.
You will have fun making this list -- and yes, I do mean make a list!

* Identify why they were the most fun so you can do more of it next year.  This only makes sense. Once you have thought about your “most fun,” figure out how to get more of it into your life -- whether it is an experience, time with specific people or whatever.

* Choose one herb to get to know.  Read about it.  Find a photograph.  Get some seed and try to grow it.  Find ways to use it in cooking or other recipes.  Tell other people about it.  See where exploring this herbs takes you—Does it relate to other herbs?  Is it a companion to other plants?  Do you meet new people while exploring about it?  Does it taste, smell, look or otherwise remind you of another herb, seasoning or plant.

* Make a list of things you want to learn next year.
Some things in life we learn serendipitously, and those are precious indeed. But we can also determine what we want to learn and why. Make some of those determinations now before you turn your calendar to the New Year.  

Some of these items in my list are forward-looking tasks, some retrospective. That is intentional. It is important for us to consistently and regularly reflect while looking out at our future.  This action allows us to see where we have been as we look to where we are going -- and correct our course to get where we want to go.

Making a resolution does not have to be a chore.  Make it into an adventure instead.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Herb of the Week and Year -- Horseradish, part 2

The International Herb Association and the National Herb Society announced that Horseradish will be the 2011 Herb of the Year.  There is much unknown about Horseradish (which many people shy away from because if its strong flavor,) so I decided to dedicate two weeks to discussing its use, growth and helpful properties.

This is week two of  Herb of the Week -- Horseradish!

History, part 2
Last week I gave a brief history of the plant, this time I will share a few more historical tidbits.Click here to read last week's post.
Horseradish has been cultivated since antiquity. According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold. Horseradish was 0known in Egypt in 1500 BC. Dioscordes listed horseradish under Thlaspi or Persicon; Cato discusses the plant in his treatises on agriculture, and a mural in Pompeii showing the plant has survived until today. Horseradish is probably the plant mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History under the name of Amoracia, and recommended by him for its medicinal qualities, and possibly the Wild Radish, or raphanos agrios of the Greek. The early Renaissance herbalist John Gerard showed it under Raphanus.
Both root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages and the root was used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. It was taken to North America during Colonial times.
William Turner mentions horseradish as Red Cole in his "Herbal" (1551–1568), but not as a condiment. In "The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes" (1597), John Gerard describes it under the name of raphanus rusticanus, stating that it occurs wild in several parts of England. After referring to its medicinal uses, he says: "the Horse Radish stamped with a little vinegar put thereto, is commonly used among the Germans for sauce to eat fish with and such like meates as we do mustarde."
Where the English name horseradish comes from is not certain. It may derive by misinterpretation of the German Meerrettich as mare radish. Some think it is because of the coarseness of the root. In Europe the common version is that it refers to the old method of processing the root called "hoofing". Horses were used to stamp the root tender before grating it.

Culinary Uses, part 2

Prepared horseradish is the grated root mixed with vinegar.  Horseradish sauce is made by blending the prepared horseradish with cream or mayonnaise. In the USA, prepared horseradish is a common ingredient in Bloody Mary cocktails and in cocktail sauce for seafood.  It is also used as a sauce or spread on meat, chicken, and fish, and in sandwiches.  Last week (to see the other post click here) I explained how to prepare Horseradish, this week I thought I would mention some special places Horseradish is used with food.
In Middle and Eastern Europe horseradish is called khreyn (in various spellings) in many Slavic languages, in German in Austria and parts of Germany, and in Yiddish. There are two varieties of khreyn. "Red" khreyn is mixed with red beet (beetroot) and "white" khreyn contains no beet. It is popular in Ukraine (under the name of хрін, khrin), in Poland (under the name of chrzan).
Having this on the Easter table is a part of Christian Easter and Jewish Passover tradition in Eastern and Central Europe.  In Ashkanazi European Jewish cooking beet horseradish is commonly served with Gefilte fish. Red beet with horseradish is also used as a salad served with lamb dishes at Easter in Romanian regions.
Horseradish (often grated and mixed with cream, hard-boiled eggs, or apples) is also a traditional Easter dish in Slovenia and in the adjacent Italian regions.
Even in Japan, horseradish dyed green is often substituted for the more expensive wasabi traditionally served with sushi. The Japanese botanical name for horseradish is seiyōwasabi or "Western wasabi".

Medicinal uses
Horseradish contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, along with volatile oils, such as mustard oil (which has antibacterial properties.) Fresh, the plant contains average 79.31 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of raw horseradish.
Known to have diuretic properties, the roots have been used to treat various minor health problems, including urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sinus congestion, ingrown toenails and coughs. Compounds found in horseradish have been found to kill some bacterial strains.  It is currently being used in microbiology as a way of preserving study slides.
If you don't have access to a garden plant, you can often find the roots at markets such as Whole Foods. Homemade prepared horseradish is about twice as strong as store-bought versions, and lasts about 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Recipes to Try
 (I went a bit overboard but worth scrolling all the way to the bottom for the sauces)

Bloody Mary on Horseback
1 oz. Vodka
Lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. grated or prepared Horseradish
1 tsp. A-1 sauce
Lime wedge
Celery seed
Tomato juice
Place ice in a shaker, sprinkle lemon pepper, celery seed, horseradish (use more if more heat is desired), A-1 sauce and vodka over the ice. Fill with chilled tomato juice, shake vigorously to blend and pour into a chilled mug. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and garnish with celery stick, chilled cooked shrimp, pickled mushroom or whatever you desire.

Horseradish Potato Salad
Serves: 6
Fennel, horseradish, and mustard lend interesting flavors to red potato salad tossed in a creamy vinaigrette. Plan on 1 hour refrigeration time.

2 pounds red new potatoes, cut into eighths
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish or horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds fresh fennel or celery, trimmed and diced (about 3 cups)
1/2 bunch green onions (about 3), trimmed and thinly sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling lightly salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; refrigerate 1 hour.  Whisk olive oil, wine vinegar, garlic, sour cream, mustard, horseradish, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  When potatoes are cool, add dressing along with fennel and green onions. Toss to combine.

Potato Cakes and Horse Radish
Serves 4 to 6
Fresh horseradish gives extra zing to potato cakes seasoned with chives and served with sour cream. These are not overly spicy because the cooking process mellows out the horseradish.

3 baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 medium onion, grated
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbls. finely grated fresh horseradish (use a microplane for better consistence and less clean up)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped fresh chopped chives
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 Tbls. vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbls. butter
Salt to taste
Sour cream for accompaniment

Boil whole potatoes for 5 minutes. Let cool, peel, and coarsely grate. Toss grated potatoes, onions, and flour in a large bowl to mix well. Stir in eggs, horseradish, lemon zest, chives, salt, and pepper until well-combined.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mixture into the hot oil for each cake. Fry about 4 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. (You will need to fry the potato pancakes in batches.)  Season cakes with additional salt, if desired, and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Buttered Horseradish Mostly Mashed Potatoes
Serves: 4- 6
4 Lg. Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on and cut into bite sized chunks
4 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
4 Tbsp. sour cream
1/3  cup milk
5 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. each of:  onion powder, garlic powder and dried onion
½ Tbsp. oregano
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Place potatoes in water and boil until soft.  Drain.  Place in large mixing bowl.  Add all other ingredients.  Mash contents in bowl together with masher or heavy duty mixer until well combined and potatoes are mostly mashed.  For even better version: top with cheddar cheese and put until hot broiler until cheese starts to bubble.

Flat Horse Chicken
Serves: 4 to 6

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or cutlets or boneless, skinless thighs)
2 Tbsp. white prepared horseradish
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 more Tbsp. of unsalted butter (very cold)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Pound the chicken to ¼-inch in thickness.  Season with salt and pepper.  Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a frying pan large enough to hold all the chicken.  Add the olive oil.  Sauté chicken on medium high heat on both sides, 3 minutes per side.  Remove from frying pan and place on a serving dish.  To the frying pan, add orange juice, balsamic vinegar and horseradish and turn the heat up till sauce bubbles.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the very cold butter.  Stir constantly till the sauce becomes velvety.  Return the chicken to the pan to heat, about 2 minutes per side. 

Great Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground chuck (or a combination of beef and pork)
2 egg whites (slightly beaten)
1 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. prepared horseradish or horseradish sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 c. ketchup

Combine all ingredients but meat in a medium bowl.  Then add bread crumb mixture to mean and mix thoroughly (using hands works best.)  Form into a loaf.  Bake in foil-line loaf pan in oven at 350 degrees for one hour. You can substitute ground turkey/chicken for ground meat or use skim milk instead of whole milk.

Ham and Horseradish Stromboli
Serves: 4-6

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed and risen
¼  lb. Deli ham
¼  lb. Swiss cheese
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Prepared Horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll loaf into a 20" by 8" rectangle. Place the rectangle on a greased baking sheet. Combine mayonnaise and horseradish and spread in a strip down the center of the rectangle. Layer on ham and Swiss cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Fold long sides of dough up towards filling and pinch ends to seal. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Horseradish Crusted Salmon
Serves: 4
4 6-9 oz. Salmon fillets, no skin
1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish
12 Small Red bliss potatoes
8 Broccoli spears
2 Medium Sprigs of rosemary

Bring a pot of water to a boil, lightly salt the water. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and blanch broccoli. Shock in ice water. Reserve. Mince rosemary leaves, not stems. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Top each salmon fillet with freshly grated horseradish. In a hot sauté pan, sauté both sides of salmon, starting with the horseradish side down first. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook in a 350º preheated oven until done, approximately 10 minutes. While salmon is resting, place potatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet, season potatoes with butter, minced rosemary and salt and pepper. Bake for a few minutes to heat up and melt butter. Cook broccoli in boiling water until tender. On a warm plate, arrange 3 potatoes and broccoli in the center. Place the warm salmon on top with horseradish facing up.

Horseradish Sauce for Meat
Makes 1 2/3 cups
This heavenly horseradish sauce goes great with roasted fish, beef, and chicken.

1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep warm.

To make the horseradish puree: Place the horseradish, vinegar, and cream in a blender. Puree until smooth, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Scrape into a bowl and reserve.  

Place the egg yolks in a slightly larger non-reactive saucepan. Whisk in the water and the salt. Place over medium-low heat. Slowly pour the warm butter into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. After all the butter has been incorporated, continue whisking approximately 3 to 5 minutes over the heat, until the sauce is light and fluffy and has almost doubled in volume. Remove from heat and continue whisking until the sauce is skin temperature.

Whisk in the reserved horseradish puree. Serve immediately. Good with roasted fish, beef, and chicken.

Creamed Horseradish Sauce Dip
Makes ¾ cup
For me, creamed horseradish sauce is a must with prime rib or any rare roast beef. If you don't like your horseradish too hot, make the sauce a couple of days in advance and refrigerate. Horseradish loses its punch with age. Prepared bottled horseradish doesn't work as well due to the vinegar. This version is a copycat version of the tiger dill sauce served at Outback Steakhouse restaurants.

1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill weed

Place grated horseradish, heavy cream, and salt into the bowl of a small food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until thickened to the consistency of stiff whipped cream. (Do not over-beat or you will end up with butter.)  Scrape into a bowl and fold in dill weed. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to let flavors meld. 

If you want to make a quick spread or dip, the Backyard Patch has two herb mixes you can try!  Click here to view them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Protecting your Skin from Moisture Loss with Herbal Essential Oils

The low humidity in winter air depletes the moisture in your skin. This leaves the uppermost skin cells without enough moisture to keep them healthy. The result is itching, peeling and scaling of dead skin.  I find walking outside on a winter windy day can really zap the moisture from my legs and face.  There are several ways to combat this.

First I suggest increasing the humidity in the air of your home. Simmering spices on the stove adds moisture and freshens a room with delightful aromatherapy scents.

Use a glycerin or olive oil based soap, they have fewer chemicals and are less drying.

Next, remove dead skin cells by exfoliating with a textured soap or a salt scrub. Make your own sugar scrub with my favorite recipe. Your skin will feel great and be soft and supple!

Exfoliating Sugar Scrub Recipe:
Combine ¼ to ½ cup sugar and 2 Tbls. almond oil with 10 to 30 drops lavender essential oil for stress relief and 10 to 30 drops lemongrass oil for invigorating the mind and/or 10 to 30 drops of grapefruit oil an
uplifting and refreshing scent which is also slightly astringent. Shake to mix.
After bathing while skin is still wet and you are still in the tub or shower, use one tablespoon to gently massage skin. Avoid sensitive areas, like your face. Rinse well. Pat dry and lock in moisture with your favorite body lotion. Lavender lotion will effectively heal and moisturize dry winter skin.

If you would like to try a Sugar Scrub, the Backyard Patch makes one along with a number of other bath items for keeping away dry skin like an assortment of Milk Baths .  To see these and any other of our more than 250 different items, see us at

Friday, December 24, 2010

On Christmas Eve...

On Christmas Eve my thoughts always turn back to my favorite holiday gatherings.  For years and years while my husband was Farm Manager for an 1890s living history farm called Kline Creek Farm in Winfield, Illinois, we would celebrate the night by having the volunteers over to our home for an open house then a trek down to the farm at midnight to see if the animals talked.  It was a pleasant way to spend the evening in conversation with friends.

On those nights we would enjoy serving mulled cider, exchanging a few handmade gifts, and eatting some light appetizers.

One year I did an “animal theme” set of refreshments.
            Chicken Feed (a trail mix)
            Carrots with Dip (it’s a horse thing)
            Oats - meal Cookies
            Apple Nut Cake

Here are the two unique recipes if you want to try them.  Both are older family recipes.


½ cup butter or margarine
2 T. Brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cup flour
1/3 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
¾ cup grated coconut

Cream together margarine and brown sugar replacement.  Beat in egg, water and vanilla until fluffy.  Add flour, baking soda and cream of tartar, beating until smooth.  Fold in coconut until completely blended, Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. 

Apple Nut Cake

4 cups coarsely chopped apples
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Peel apples and chop or dice.  Add sugar, stir well and set aside.  Beat eggs slightly.  Beat in oil and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix and sift flour, baking soda, Cinn-ful Dessert Blend and salt.  Stir into egg mixture alternating with apple/sugar mixture.  Fold in the nuts.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13” pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes – watch closely – or until done.  Cool cake.

You can frost it or serve with powdered sugar mixed with seasonal spices (or ½ tsp. Cinn-ful Dessert Blend).  I made a Lemon Butter Frosting that is perfect to add a tang to the apples.  Combine 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, 4 Tbls. soft butter, 2 Tbls. lemon juice, 1 to 2 Tbls. water and 1 tsp. dried lemon balm.

* An exclusive Backyard Patch product.

Do you have a Christmas Eve tradition to share?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Herb of the Week and Year - Horseradish, part 1

International Herb Association and the National Herb Society have announced the Horseradish will be the 2011 Herb of the Year. They recommend that everyone try to grow or use this wonderful herb!  Many people know little about this unique and strongly flavorful herb, so I decided to dedicate two weeks to discussing its use, growth and helpful properties.

This week's Herb of the Week is Horseradish!

People either love horseradish or they hate it. One bite of pungent prepared horseradish is enough to clear out anyone's sinuses. Hotter than the popular Japanese version of wasabi, horseradish is easy to grow and easy to prepare.

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicacae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. The plant is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, but is popular around the world today. It grows up to five feet tall and is mainly cultivated for its large white, tapered root.

The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down to produce mustard oil, which irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if not used immediately or mixed in vinegar, the root darkens and loses its pungency and becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.

How to Grow
Horseradish is perennial in hardiness zones 2–9 and can be grown as an annual in other zones, though not as successfully as in zones with both a long growing season and winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy.  
Buy plants or roots at the nursery (horseradish is rarely grown from seed) for planting after the last frost in spring.  Choose a site for location rather than growing conditions - a spot far removed from any other plants you care about. Left to its own devices, horseradish will stampede through your garden. But it will grow in any circumstances except deep shade or constant wetness. 
Ensure the straightest, plumpest roots by tilling the soil to at least 12 inches, amending it with plenty of compost and removing all rocks and other obstructions.  Set plants or roots 9 to 18 inches apart, with the crown (the top of the root and the start of the top growth) about 4 inches below the soil surface, and water thoroughly.  Mulch to retain moisture and discourage weeds if you want to, but it's not necessary - horseradish thrives on neglect.  Dig horseradish roots anytime from midsummer on, but for best flavor wait until after the first frosts.

Commercial production
Although grown in many regions of the world, Collinsville, Illinois, is the self-proclaimed "Horseradish Capital of the World" and hosts an annual International Horseradish Festival each June. Collinsville produces 60%, and the surrounding area of southwestern Illinois 25% of the world's commercially grown horseradish. Other major US growing regions include Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Tylelakem, California. Apart from these US areas, horseradish is also produced in Europe and South Australia.

Pests and diseases
Widely introduced by accident, "cabbageworms", the larvae of Artogeia rapae, the Small White Butterfly, are a common caterpillar pest in horseradish. The adults are white butterflies with black spots on the forewings that are commonly seen flying around plants during the day. The caterpillars are velvety green with faint yellow stripes running lengthwise down the back and sides. Full grown caterpillars are about 1 inch in length. They move sluggishly when prodded. They overwinter in green pupal cases. Adults start appearing in gardens after the last frost and are a problem through the remainder of the growing season. There are 3 to 5 overlapping generations a year. Mature caterpillars chew large, ragged holes in the leaves leaving the large veins intact. Handpicking is an effective control strategy.

To Use
After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, the root is dug and divided. The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year's crop. Horseradish left undisturbed in the garden spreads via underground shoots and can become invasive. Older roots left in the ground become woody, after which they are no longer useful for cooking, although these older plants can be dug and divided to start new plants.

Culinary Uses
Cooks use the terms "horseradish" or "prepared horseradish" to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in color. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will start to darken, indicating it is losing flavor and should be replaced. The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten, and are referred to as "horseradish greens".
Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root, vinegar and cream is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom. It is usually served with roast beef, often as part of a traditional Sunday roast, but can be used in a number of other dishes also, including sandwiches or salads. Also popular in the UK is Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and grated horseradish originally created in medieval times and mentioned by Shakespeare.
In the U.S., the term Horseradish Sauce refers to grated horseradish combined with mayonnaise or white salad dressing (like Miracle Whip). Most grocery stores sell this type of Horseradish Sauce.

How to make Prepared Horseradish
   8-10-inch long piece of horseradish root
   2 Tbsp. water
   1 Tbsp. white vinegar
   Pinch salt
1.      If you have access to a garden horseradish plant, use a sturdy shovel to dig up an 8-10-inch long tuber of horseradish. (You can't pull it up.) The plant itself, once established, propagates with tubers, and is very hardy. Remove the leaves from the root and rinse the dirt off of the root.
2.      Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off of the tuber. You want to get off the brown parts.  Chop into pieces.
3.      Put into a food processor. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Process until well ground. At this point be careful. A ground up fresh horseradish is many times as potent as freshly chopped onions and can really hurt your eyes if you get too close. Keep at arms length away, and work in a well ventilated room (I actually go to the trouble of getting an extension cord and dragging all my tools outside to do this step so my house does not absorb the smells.)
4.      Strain out some of the water if the mixture is too liquidy. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Pulse to combine. Note that the vinegar will stabilize the level of hotness of the ground horseradish, so do not wait too long to add it to the mixture.
5.      Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer the grated horseradish to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. It will keep for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. (I store mine upside down so no additional oxygen gets into the jar to help hold the flavor.) It can be frozen.

Horseradish Cooking Tips and Measures (many retrieved from
• Horseradish is best used freshly grated and raw.

• Scrub with a stiff brush and peel off the dark skin before using horseradish.

• In larger roots, the core may be fibrous and bitter. Remove and discard the core, along with any green spots.

• Horseradish is like the onion family -- the finer it is chopped or grated, the more pungent the flavor.

• Fold 1 Tablespoon fresh grated horseradish into stiffly-whipped heavy cream and salt to taste for a classic horseradish sauce to accompany beef dishes. Dill weed is also a tasty addition.

• Add 1 Tablespoon fresh grated horseradish to 1 cup applesauce for a piquant condiment to pork dishes. See below a recipe for Horseradish Apples.

• When serving horseradish, do not use silver. Horseradish will tarnish silver.

• If you grow your horseradish, the young, tender green leaves are edible in salads and may also be cooked.

• If you want to retain the spicy zing of horseradish in cooked dishes, add it at the end of the cooking process, after the dish has been removed from the heat.

   Horseradish Measures, Weights, and Substitutions
• 1 Tablespoon grated fresh horseradish = 2 Tbsp bottled prepared horseradish
• 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish = 1 Tablespoon dried + 1 Tablespoon vinegar + 1 Tablespoon water + salt to taste
• 10 Tablespoons prepared horseradish = 6 Tablespoons dried powdered
• 1-1/2 pounds fresh root = 2-3/4 cups peeled and grated
• 1 8-ounce bottle prepared horseradish = 1 cup

Recipes (look for even more next week!)

Horseradish Butter
Use this as a spread on pork or beef sandwiches

8  Tbls.  (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2  Tbls. prepared horseradish
1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt

Place the butter in a small bowl. Add the horseradish and salt and mash with a wooden spoon to combine. Chill the butter until needed, but allow it to come to room temperature before spreading.

Horseradish Salsa
The perfect spicy condiment to go with beef

1 jar (16-ounce) mild salsa
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 Tbls. prepared white horseradish

In small bowl, mix salsa, parsley, and horseradish until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or up to two days.

Horseradish Vinaigrette

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup horseradish sauce
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp. pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, olive oil and black pepper. The dressing should come out a little creamy but not too thick.

Horseradish Apples
Naturally sweet from the apples with a bit of zing from the horseradish, this no-cook sauce is excellent served as a condiment for pork dishes.

4 Granny Smith apples
2 Tbls. cider vinegar
2 Tbls. fresh horseradish, grated
1 tsp. paprika
1 Tbls. white wine

Grate the apples and moisten them with vinegar. Add the horseradish and paprika. Thin to the desired consistency with the wine. Yield: 1 pint

Horseradish Stuffed Roast Beef Serves 4-6

2 lb. Roast beef
Salt, pepper
2 Tbsp. Flour
4 Tbsp. Oil
4 Tbsp. Prepared horseradish
6 Tbsp. Sour cream
2 Eggs
3 Tbsp. Breadcrumbs

Rinse and dry roast. Rub with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Brown in hot oil in a Dutch oven. Add 1 Cup water and braise covered for 1 hour. Add more water as necessary. For filling, mix horseradish, sour cream, eggs and breadcrumbs. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Remove the roast from pan, let cool, cut in 1/2 inch slices nearly to the bottom. Spread filling between slices. Tie lengthwise with sting. Return meat to the Dutch oven and braise 15 minutes. Before serving, remove string and pour pan drippings over meat.

Come back next week when we will go a bit deeper into the history, provide a number of other recipes, and discuss the medicinal aspects of Horseradish. 

If you want to try a couple of dips and spreads with powdered horseradish, visit our eBay store  
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