Heavenly Horseradish

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Heavenly Horseradish

My husband loves our garden, but he's not really interested in 'gardening' in our garden - he's more of an observer than a doer.

That's okay with me, because personally I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to be married to another hard-core gardener and (gasp!) have differing opinions when it comes to the creative process! Sometimes, however, it's nice to have someone gardening with me, so over the years I've figured out ways to lure him into the garden.

I've discovered that if it involves something to eat or drink, he's all for it. For example, I can rely on him to go outside and spend 20 tedious minutes picking blueberries, or spend a few hours with our daughter stomping grapes to make grape juice.

My husband's latest adventure was with a dried up, unattractive looking horseradish tuber that a woman at a nursery gave to him on one of our visits. (She obviously recognized he was a food-driven gardener and needed a bit of 'encouragement'). He was so excited with his new freebie and couldn’t wait to plant it. I must admit, I was excited too as I had never even seen a horseradish plant, much less tasted it fresh.

Oh, did I mention my husband is a big Bloody Mary fan? So, we lovingly tended this plant throughout the summer and fall, let its leaves dry up and fall off, and brought the pot into the garage for the winter. Now that it’s early spring, the time is here to dig it up and see what we’ve grown!

We dug up the tubers (saving a few for this year’s new crop) shook off the dirt, and washed them off.

Below is our photographic journey to the best Bloody Mary we’ve ever had!

This is our horseradish plant in its prime, looking all green and upright and wonderful.

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This is our horseradish in November, where it’s beginning to go dormant- its leaves yellowish and riddled with bug holes, looking very tired indeed. After a few months in the ground, we’ll begin harvesting the tubers.

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First - a warning: horseradish is VERY invasive. See its roots trying to escape out of the bottom of the pot? Wherever they touch ground, they’ll begin to sprout up new horseradish plants (and really, who needs that many horseradish plants?) So you'd be wise to keep this plant contained!

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Next - we gently broke apart its entangled roots, giving us 3 fairly puny looking horseradish tubers. To be honest, at this point we were beginning to doubt our success at growing this plant - thinking we might need to use a much larger pot next year. We were wrong.

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After cutting off the skinny, useless roots, we then took the little horseradish tubers, peeled then pureed them in a blender for about 3 minutes, until they were ground up to a smooth/somewhat grainy consistency. We also added 2 Tbs. champagne vinegar and 2 Tbs of water after the first minute to temper the heat. If you don't add these ingredients the horseradish just gets hotter and hotter.
Another warning - don't lean in to take a deep whiff of the freshly ground horseradish. It'll clear your sinuses for a week!

If you're lucky enough to grow really large tubers, you can store them by wrapping them up in layers; a damp paper towel, then a dry one, then a damp towel, and another dry one. You can then use the root as needed, peeling the outer skin of the portion to be used. They’ll store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

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And the end result? The best Bloody Mary's we've ever had! You simply must try fresh horseradish - it's so much better than the stuff you buy in a jar. By the way, our 3 little tubers made enough horseradish puree for about 8 drinks. (NO we didn't drink them all in one night!)

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Tom's Best Bloody Mary Ever:

  1. Rim the glass with celery salt.
  2. Mix 1 tsp. (plus/minus to taste) horseradish with 2 Tbs. vodka.
  3. Add 1/2 cup Bloody Mary mix and stir well.
  4. Fill glass with ice and stir again.
  5. Skewer 1 garlic-stuffed olive with 1 cube of bread & butter pickle & 1 pepperoncini (without seeds).
  6. Add skewer and celery stalk to glass.
  7. Enjoy!