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Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Posted by soilent_green 4b MN (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 3, 12 at 12:01

Here is a photo journal of my annual fall horseradish project for your enjoyment. The project occurred on Friday November 02. The pictures are a bit dark as it was a cold cloudy November day - the classic horseradish day.

Freshly dug horseradish roots with crowns:


Topped roots soaking in cold water prior to peeling:


Peeled roots soaking in clean water prior to chopping:


Chopped roots ready for grinding:


Equipment setup ready for grinding of root chunks:


Grinding of root chunks in progress:


Grinding of root chunks completed:


The finishing process which consists of mixing sugar, salt, and vinegar with the horseradish and processing the mix down to a finer texture. The container at bottom holds the final product.


The final product which consists of three quart jars of freshly ground horseradish (YAY!):


This yield was from only a quarter of my horseradish bed. I traded the other three quarters to a group of hunter friends in exchange for fresh venison summer sausage, assuming a successful hunt. They are going to process their horseradish during the off-hours at the hunting cabin. Way more horseradish than I would ever need or use anyway, so it was a good trade.

The project took approximately eight hours total, from digging roots to bottling.

This entire project is always done outside. Processing this much horseradish is just too noxious to do indoors, and it would overwhelm anyone foolish enough to attempt doing this in the house. We know - we tried it ONCE a long time ago. It seems that everyone has to make this mistake once in order to see how bad it truly is. Believe me this mistake is never made twice by anyone.

Good stuff. It can be used just as it is as a garnish, or it can be used as a base for other recipes like creamed horseradish. It goes great with prime rib or pork tenderloin. I like it for breakfast with ham and eggs. I also love it mixed with Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce or mixed with ketchup for the classic cocktail sauce. I also mix it in with some of my homemade hot sauces for an added punch. So many delightful ways to use it.

All that is left to do is to replant the crowns and the rejected root pieces back in the bed and water them. This will ensure a decent harvest for next year.

Dad taught me how to do this project when I was a kid. I took over back in the 1990s. This family tradition has been kept alive for almost fifty years now. This is the first year that he is no longer around to reminisce about his horseradish experiences, and I really missed that.

We give most of the horseradish away as early Christmas gifts to family and friends who we know enjoy it and appreciate the effort that goes into making it.

Have a good one, folks.
-Tom


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

The only problem I had with horseradish was my family did not know how much stronger and better tasting it is fresh. Store bought is so mild there is no comparison.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Soilent, is it better to replant every year, or use roots that have been growing for a couple years? Your pictures are wonderful. We too just aquired an apprciation for fresh. So much better.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

I think that two year old roots would be fine to work with, but roots that have been growing for a couple of years or more, while certainly edible, get large, woody, and gnarly, and often have a brown discoloration/rot down the center. They can most certainly be used but are harder to clean and process, and more waste occurs. If you have an old bed and want to process some horseradish, I say go for it because there will be smaller roots in the bed that you will be able to use as well.

I replant crowns and scrap root pieces and harvest from the same bed every year. Between those growing and the broken roots below ground sprouting there is always a full, lush bed growing by midsummer. The bed has been in its location a bit too long now so I have been fertilizing the plants a couple times a summer. I do not know if it absolutely needs it, but I do it anyway. I just completed planting a new bed in a new location so I can see if I get an improved harvest next year. This new bed will be only the fourth one in almost fifty years.

I prefer roots that are in the range of half inch diameter to one inch diameter because they are the easiest to process. The smaller diameters may seem a hassle but they peel, chop, and grind very easily.

Horseradish has a serious spreading habit so by harvesting every year I keep the bed size in check, another benefit of yearly harvest.

I got all my crowns and root pieces replanted and watered yesterday. We had a nice little rain overnight which was nice to see. The project is now fully completed.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Thanks for the pointers. I suspected the older plants might get woody. We planted our first bed at what we thought would be the end of the garden. We since extended it and the roots keep getting dragged around by the chisel. I never know where it is going to come up! Good news is, that although pesky, it is a tasty root!

Have you ever frozen the finished product? We tried this, using baby food containers.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Thank you sooooo much for sharing your procedure! The pics were really helpful, and a fun thread!!

kudos!


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

t-bird - Thanks for the kind words. I hope this thread will get some folks to give horseradish a try. So many good things can come from our gardens.

rockiecarol - Yes, spreading around root chunks by working the soil near a horseradish bed can be problematic. Tilling or plowing a bed under can create an absolute nightmare. It can take many years to get rid of an old bed organically, even several years using chemicals. It is a tough plant that must be respected.

I have heard of freezing it but have never tried doing that. Don't know why, just have always considered it a treat, something to look forward to enjoying while it is in season.

You also reminded me that last year I dehydrated and powdered horseradish as an experiment and it worked out great - much better than the stuff you can buy from the spice aisle at the store. I was going to do a bunch this year but completely forgot! I guess the horseradish projects are not over this year. I actually have a small backup bed that I can go dig up. I will dry some and will also grind some for freezing to give that a try.

Another GW member I have been in contact with harvests the leaves and uses them for cooked greens. I look forward to trying them next season. Always something to learn from folks on GW. :)

I am down to one quart jar remaining. Anyone who wants some gets a full jelly jar with a Christmas bow on top, to remind them that this is an early Christmas gift from me. First come first served basis until it is gone (with a few exceptions) . When word gets around that the horseradish has been processed, friends and neighbors start knocking on the door and the phone starts ringing LOL.

-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

This is great! I'm getting into more intense flavors in my life, and HR is one of those!
Is it possible to grow some in a pot? How large of a pot would we be talking? I have tried a small root in a small pot, but it got forgotten in a corner =(
1 Gal, 5 gal???? There are only 2 of us in the house. We don't need huge amounts. Nancy


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

It just so happens that all last summer I had a couple of pots each with one horseradish plant in them. The person who wanted them never came and picked them up. As they grew they kept drying out very quickly and the roots ended up circling around the bottom of the pots. I do not know how well they would grow in pots with the intention of harvesting. I know that a container would need to be deeper more than wider, but wider would allow several plants to be planted. Maybe someone with more experience regarding your question can post to give you better information.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

:) you forgot the picture of your gas mask. My parents make fresh horsradish every year, and I have fond memories of the incredibly potent smell processing large amounts of horse radish can produce! My bed is coming along, but I forgot to harvest any. Maybe next warm spell...


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

A couple questions if you dont mind? I like horseradish and grew it awhile ago, never amounted to much. Question #1) How large a bed did you need to get that much finished product, #2) Did you buy the root stock from a seed catalog or did you use grocery store roots and #3)can you tell us the recipe you use (ratios) #4) whats the shelf-life for the product and process BWB or Pressure canner? Thank you in advance, and I loved the step-by-step photos


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

I'm bumping this interesting thread with hope that Solient can answer G'man101's questions. Starting a new garden and have always wanted to grow horseradish. Thanks!


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Bumping this also hoping for a reply to gardenman101 question....


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 18:33

My horseradish is not spreading like I was told it would in my 7b/8a zone. The sites I viewed said it was a weed that would take over my garden, if I was not careful.
So I have not Fertilized it in the 3 years I have had it.
I am not big on horseradish, but some of my friends like it.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 18:33

My horseradish is not spreading like I was told it would in my 7b/8a zone. The sites I viewed said it was a weed that would take over my garden, if I was not careful.
So I have not Fertilized it in the 3 years I have had it.
I am not big on horseradish, but some of my friends like it.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Sorry for the delay. Here are responses to gardenman101's questions.

1.) "How large a bed did you need to get that much finished product?"

My main horseradish bed measures approximately 5 feet be 8 feet. The three quarts of finished product shown in the photo is from approximately one quarter of the bed. The last time I harvested and processed the entire bed I got two gallons of finished product. The math does not work out because the bed has gotten larger than it used to be.

2.) "Did you buy the root stock from a seed catalog or did you use grocery store roots?"

I do not know from where my father originally got the root stock as he was growing it before I was born. Also, I do not know whether grocery store roots are viable or not. I assume they would be viable as long as no growth inhibitor is applied to them.

3.) "Can you tell us the recipe you use (ratios)?"

Many recipes and instructions available on the web. Just search using keywords "prepare horseradish" or "process horseradish". The recipe I have always used:

2 cups ground horseradish
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar

4.) "Whats the shelf-life for the product and process BWB or Pressure canner?"

I have never had a problem storing it for up to six months but IMO it is much better to enjoy it when it is fresh, within two months. I do not use any canning process, I simply store the finished horseradish in the refrigerator in glass canning jars. When putting finished product into jars, pack tightly and remove air pockets. As the horseradish is consumed I reduce the jar size in order to have as little air in the jar as possible.

As discussed previously, freezing the finished product is another storage option. I have never done this, and I did not get to try it this year but look forward to trying it next harvest.

Note that processing horseradish is time sensitive. The vinegar and other ingredients should be added within ten minutes of grinding the roots. If not, the horseradish will start to discolor and possibly turn bitter. Storage life may also be affected.

Hope this helps. Things are getting a bit busy with the holiday season upon us but I will try to respond to future questions a bit faster.

Happy Holidays,
-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

jolj - Sorry to hear of your lack of success in growing horseradish. I have no experience growing things in your zone but I wonder if that has something to do with your struggles - maybe your climate is too mild? Hopefully someone from your region can address your problem or offer advice by replying here.

The horseradish up here thrives after going through our typically brutal Minnesota winters. It sprouts soon after the snow melts off the bed, while the ground is only thawed at the surface. They are incredibly hardy plants. I understand why some people do not like them but they serve my purposes well.

-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

I enjoyed the photos and wondered about the specifics of your grater. I use a cheese grater for preparation of what I need for the evenings meal. The process is noxious and I take comfort in knowing that I do not need very much. I store the intact roots in my refrigerator until needed. I spent a bit of money on horseradish from Nourse Farms and received three small stubs. I looked at the large root that I had bought at the supermarket and figured I would cut that into sections for planting, too. The supermarket variety grew much faster compared to the Nourse stock. At harvest time I could not see major differences between the two varieties.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Tom
Thank you so much for the info. I guess i will start off with a bed half the size you have, as i do not think gallons would be consumed in a 6 month period...lol. I will attemp to find a way of canning if I wind up with to much. I may even try dehydrating and pulverising to see the viability of that. I guess it is time to start looking for root stock. Thanks again

Mark


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

You had a response to your post, but it didnt make it in here, so i am cut and pasting it in here for you:

Posted by sconticut 6b (My Page) on Sun, Nov 18, 12 at 9:54

Your photos brought back many memories. We followed the same annual ritual right down to the hand grinder. In later years we found a food processor cut the time and the tears significantly. Never did add sugar, though. We did not hot process the product but just stored it in the fridge where it lasted for a considerable length of time. I do not think that there is any bacteria that would DARE to attack it!
Great stuff.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

As a follow up to freezing: we took out a container last week. It tastes fine, but turned darker and is a lot runnier than the original. The up side is that my MIL eats it so fast she doesn't notice the color. I thawed it on the counter, so next time will leave it in the fridge to see if that makes a difference in the color.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Well, I bought a horseradish root at the grocery and decided to plant some. Just wondering if any of you can post photos of what your horseradish bed looks like? Should I hide it in the back or show it off...... If I cut up this root into sections, should I just lay them in the soil sideways or plant 'up and down' in the soil. And how long should the sections be when cut up?


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Being that it is that time of year again I thought I would bump this old thread of mine back to the first page.

Sorry for not responding to the last few posts. As far as planting roots, I cut root scraps into two inch lengths and just put the pieces in the ground willy-nilly, but I do try to space them out consistently on approximately an eight inch by eight inch spacing (don't ask me why, it doesn't really matter). The stuff grows like a weed, so do not worry too much about doing anything right or wrong. A piece of viable horseradish root + soil contact = a plant. :-)

The only thing horseradish does not seem to like is competition from grasses, so keep grasses out of the bed, especially a new bed. Removing weeds is helpful too as you will get better quality roots, the bed looks nicer, and it will be easier to dig the roots in fall.

By chance I did take a picture of my old established horseradish bed this last summer. The picture was taken around the last week of August or the first week of September 2013. To get some idea of scale, the horseradish leaves are around three feet tall. I have two other beds now as well, for backups or trading. One of those beds is one year old, I do not remember how old the other bed is.

I estimate I have enough horseradish growing to make around 4 to 5 gallons of finished product, not that I would. :-)

Have a good day.
-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

When I was gardening in GA, I planted some HR, from store bought. Just 2 or 3 tuber pieces. The first year, I checked, the roots were too thin to be used. The next season, in the fall I harvested some. The following year they kept spreading like crazy. That year also I harvested more than I needed. Then I moved from GA.

I like the heat of HR. It is very similar to Mustard . The heat is intense but short lived.. I still have some of my HR sauce in the frig.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Lots of folks do not like growing this plant because of its spreading habit, but I have found it easy to control by simply harvesting it every year. Another method of control would be a sunken border for the bed using some kind of non-decaying material. It would have to go fairly deep, though. For a few plants a person could simply remove the bottom of a large black nursery pot and bury it.

For me horseradish processing is a notable tradition because it is the very last thing I harvest from the gardens, and it closes down my gardening season for the year. No playing in the dirt for the next four months. :-)

-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Late September my horseradish rather suddenly died. Dug up some roots and they looked like rotten rope.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Tom would you trade or sell some? I have been thinking about growing it.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

For you minnie, no problem. Free or trade, I do not sell stuff. I am planning on harvesting this coming Tuesday so this is good timing, can send you a bunch of decent sized crowns. I have done this successfully in the past so I know they travel well. Just get them in the ground immediately upon receipt, then mulch and keep moist until freeze-up. Uncover in spring. Email me so we can discuss details privately.

Sorry folks, this is a special deal. I am simply too busy to do any other trades. Maybe next year.

-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

That is really neat to see the process from harvest to final finished product.

Thanks for posting the photos :)


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Enjoyed as well. Thanks to all.
Mick


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Couple more pics. Top shows the box of crowns saved from the 2013 harvest for replanting. Bottom shows the finished product for 2013, completed on November 06. Yield was one gallon plus one pint, from half the harvested roots. The other half were traded away for venison. Image shows two 2-quart capacity jars plus one pint.

Extrapolating that information would mean that the horseradish bed in the previously posted summer photo yielded at minimum two gallons of finished product. My unharvested backup beds can probably produce a gallon each, so that means an approximate total of 4 gallons could be produced from what I have growing on site.

The total time for the project from digging to bottling was nine hours.

It was a brutal year for doing the annual horseradish project, one I will not forget any time soon. Dug the roots in mud and as a result had to soak and scrub all the roots prior to peeling. Did the grinding and finish processing on the porch with the thermometer reading 20 degrees. Needless to say that was pretty cold on the hands. Had to work quickly so the ground horseradish would not freeze before mixing. There is three inches of snow on the ground, hopefully it will melt so I can replant the crowns. Would much prefer to get those crowns replanted, but it would not be the end of my world if it does not happen.

I am glad the project is done. My gardening season is officially completed.

-Tom


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

Thanks so much for this. Gives me some ideas for my crop. I've been attempting to re-locate my roots and this gives me hope. For those new considering HR, just chose placement carefully. A 2x2 or 3x3ft raised bed is ideal and not terribly difficult to keep contained as the large leaf bunch, 3-5 leaves, are easily identified if a stray comes up beyond your bed. I did not plan well years ago and do have a large root attached to the base of a blueberry bush that i have just left alone and harvest the smaller roots that appear nearby. I had the best blueberry harvest ever so maybe i have a companion, ; )... I do not intend to disturb either plant for fear of losing the blueberry. A mistake in planting without research. (they have been together for over 5 yrs now)

I've had success freezing the roots. Peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks, a full strength vinegar soak for and hour or so, then into food saver shrink bags. I can then process a good size cup or two later. I too had a very chilly weekend dealing with last harvesting in snow flurries. Dealing with storage of carrots, celery roots and fennel etc today, so the HR needs to wait...

I did make a lovely early fall soup with misc greens and root crop. When some greens are slowing down and not producing enough for a side dish of their own...kales, chard, celery leaves and their small stalks, etc, and added a couple thin sliced horseradish leaves to a smoked chicken stock broth.
(white beans and a few roasted tomatoes). The HR leaves are delish just added the last 5-8 min to soups. I used all the small baby leaves that kept coming up with such a warm september-oct. Most seasons those beds would have been cleaned up by mid sept. Even had a new batch of baby zucchini and cukes.

So thanks again for your pics. I've got a good spot to re-plant the crowns if i can stand the mud and cold to harvest the last of the roots.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

I was inspired by this thread and dug up one of my clumps.

It was pretty woody in the middle, but plenty of smaller roots. I put up two jars of the recipe above.

Thanks for the inspiration, now I need some roast beef.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

I think HR is in the mustard family, isn't it? As such, I wonder if it is attacked by ICM in those regions infested, like here.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

sleevendog - You stated, "I've had success freezing the roots. Peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks, a full strength vinegar soak for and hour or so...". I am curious what the purpose is of the vinegar soak: Is it to halt the enzyme action from cutting the roots into chunks, or does it help preserve the chunks and maintain the nice white color, or some other purpose?

Your fall soup sounds delicious!

greenmulberry - Great to hear that this discussion inspired you to harvest and process some of your own horseradish. So how do you like it?

pnbrown - Pardon my ignorance, but what is "ICM"? Did some searching and nothing came up related to plant issues.


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RE: Annual Fall Horseradish Project

SG, 'ICM' is imported cabbage moth, the major brassica pest in the eastern states. Many years it completely wrecks my kale crops. Cabbage, broc, and cauliflower can only be raised in fair condition by careful timing of sowing and setting out and perfectly timed application of bt. ICM will attack mustardy cultivars as well and even some mustard-family weeds if there is nothing else, so I suspect that HR would be prey, but perhaps much less severely.


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