Chow Town

July is National Horseradish Month

People tend to have strong feelings about horseradish: Either they love it or 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.

Homemade prepared horseradish is about twice as strong as store-bought versions, and lasts about 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

You can still use it after that time it just loses its pungency and will darken with age.

I remember as a child walking into the kitchen and knowing immediately what dad was doing. Tears would start and we would all be laughing until it was done. We always made lots of pints to consume or give away.

Our ground horseradish was added to distilled vinegar to stabilize the “heat.” If you did not add vinegar the pungent aroma would slowly leave. A pint jar of horseradish was always on our kitchen table.

Horseradish is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family and is more than 3,000 years old. In 2011, it was Herb of the Year for the Herb Society of America.

The benefits of horseradish goes on and on and has many curative properties: it increases blood pressure, and stimulates the body’s immune system. It is an antiparasitic, a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, and an antibacterial. It also has been known for aphrodisiacal properties.

The consumption of horseradish is not advisable to individuals suffering from gastric ulcers or should not be consumed by children younger than 4 years old.

Horseradish trivia:

• Horseradish is still planted and harvested mostly by hand.

• Sales of bottled horseradish began in 1860, making it one of the first convenience foods.

• In the south, horseradish was rubbed on the forehead to relieve headaches? (Some folks still swear by it.)

• Before being named “horseradish,” the plant was known as “redcole” in England and as “stingnose” in some parts of the United States.

Horseradish has only 2 calories a teaspoon, is low in sodium and provides dietary fiber.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim that the enzyme “horseradish peroxidase” removes a number of pollutants from waste water.

Germans still brew horseradish schnapps, while some also add it to their beer.

In you want to grow your own horseradish, 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 faster than you can say, “Hi-ho, Silver!”

But it will grow in any circumstances except deep shade or constant wetness. I wish I would have thought about this before I planted my root. It is sprouting up everywhere.

The recipe below I found on the Internet it is wonderful.

Fabulous Red Bean Relish Makes 12 servings 2 cups red kidney bean (canned, drained) 1 medium onion, ground 1/4 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons white horseradish 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1 dash Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper to taste

Wash beans well: drain for one hour. Chill. Mix all remaining ingredients. Add to dried beans and mix well. Serve with crackers or Melba rounds.


Donna Cook is the owner of Rabbit Creek Gourmet Foods in Louisburg, Kan. She is also a Master Gardener, Master Food Volunteer and on the board of directors of the Home Baking Association.