I remember my mom making horseradish. It’s a vague memory, but there were large roots, vinegar, a blender, and a pungent scent. Horseradish meant fresh kielbasi, and I loved fresh kielbasi. I still do. Smoked, not so much.
I planted horseradish last fall for the first time, and it is thriving, so I thought I’d dig up just a small piece of root and try my hand at this delicious condiment. Instead of using vinegar, though, I decided to try lacto-fermenting it so that it would be probiotic rich, just like the honey mustard I made recently. I took a cue from that recipe and used whey in my horseradish.
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Horseradish is a hardy, easy to grow perennial grown from root cuttings. Farmer’s Markets often carry horseradish in the fall, or ask a friend who’s growing it for a piece of root. Plant your cutting in loose soil with some added compost. The top of the root should be about 2″ below the soil. Keep it watered during dry spells; mulch helps to conserve moisture. Wait for a frost to kill the leaves before harvesting the next fall. Ok, I admit it. I couldn’t wait and harvested mine after only a light frost. I also only took a small piece of root to allow the plant to gain a strong foothold. Horseradish can be invasive, so plant it in an area where it won’t choke out other plants.
Of course, if you aren’t interested in growing your own horseradish, you can still make your own by purchasing roots from a Farmer’s Market. Some grocery stores even sell the root. I made my horseradish on my back porch so that I’d have good ventilation. I remember how pungent it was when my mom was making it. Here’s how I did it:
Homemade Lacto-Fermented Horseradish
- 1 cup of scrubbed, peeled and chopped horseradish root
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1/4 c. whey (strained from yogurt or milk kefir)
Process the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. (If you’re looking for a food processor, I highly recommend this one because it’s so powerful). Add more whey if needed to keep the ingredients moving. Place in a jar, and cover tightly. Cover with a dishtowel and allow to ferment on your counter for 2 – 3 days, and then refrigerate. It’s ready to use on meats, in deviled eggs, or mixed with ketchup for a cocktail sauce.
Have you ever made your own horseradish? What’s your favorite way to use it?