Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tasty, pungent horseradish

Do you like horseradish?

The pungent condiment really spices up your food.

If you use too much, it seeps up your nose and brings tears to your eyes.

Horseradish is a member of the mustard family, and is categorized as an herb.

Grow it yourself in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard.

It’s best confined to a raised bed if possible, because it can becomes very invasive. The one- to three-feet-tall plants will come up every year for your use.

The plant is practically disease-free.

A specific flea beetle may eat a few holes or white rust may appear in the leaves enormous leaves, but very seldom is any treatment necessary.

The Horseradish plant is known to deter the potato bug, so plant a few roots in the corners of your potato patch.

Rich in vitamin C, it was grown for medicinal purposes long before it was popular as a food item.
A massage oil can be concocted to relieve muscular aches and pains and to help break up congestion, by steeping a small amount of freshly grated root in some cold-pressed oil such as wheat germ, sesame or olive oil.

My dad always had several horseradish plants in a far corner of our “north-forty” patch.

It was the duty of the women to grind it and bottle it with white vinegar.

Dad would dig the roots, wash them clean and then it was our turn to complete the process. When we were grinding it, the tears would run down our cheeks; we always tried to do it out-of-doors, where the fresh air would soothe our burning eyes. It was a wonderful spring tonic that we used year-‘round.

You can make your own cocktail sauce by mixing several spoonfuls of horseradish with catsup and whatever other ingredients you want.

Mixing ground horseradish with vinegar and a dash of salt for a pungent taste or mix with stewed apple to make a sharp but sweet sauce for duck and goose.

Add yogurt, mayonnaise, and a splash of lemon, lime and grapefruit juices to some grated horseradish, mix well and serve with beef or fish.

We grew our horseradish for the root, but used the leaves in sauerkraut crock. Large grape or horseradish leaves are important to make good kraut.

Today, I buy creamy horseradish sauce at the supermarket to put on coleslaw, hot dogs, fish and sometimes baked chicken.

Horseradish is just one of many foods that can supplement your food budget.
While horseradish has to be planted originally, dandelions come up by themselves every year.

While many homeowners who spend hours removing those pesky weeds don’t appreciate them, many other people await the warm weather so they can dig them, clean them and cook them up for a spring tonic and free food to serve the family.

Seasoned with butter, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and herbs, they make a tasty and healthy addition to the evening meal.

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