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Ingredient Spotlight: Horseradish

 

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Whenever we approach “Maror” at the Passover Seder, I see my little cousins cringe at the prospect of having to eat the bitter herb to remind us of the bitter work the Egyptians forced on the enslaved Hebrews. The horseradish we consume can even bring tears to your eyes if you have too much. By the end of the two Seders, there is usually enough horseradish to last for 3 or 4 more Passovers or preserved to be used with gefilte fish for the whole year.  The sale of bottled horseradish began in the 1860′s, but there is nothing like making your own.  Here are 2 different methods for preserving.

Drying:
1. Set oven to the lowest possible temperature.
2. Either slice the horseradish into uniform thickness, or grate using a box grater (this is how my leftover horseradish usually is anyway)
3. Lay out the horseradish in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven to dry. Check occasionally, until they are brittle to the touch. (**note–I don’t know how long this actually is)
4. Once fully dried, store in a dark airtight container on a dark shelf. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal the horseradish and store in the freezer. Mark with the date and discard after 6 months.
Grated:
1. Grate the horseradish with a box grater. Be careful not to put your head too close or you will feel a rush of the released horseradish oils that will make your eyes tear.
2. Take a small clean jar that can hold 1/2-1 cup. Fill halfway with quality red, white, or light balsamic vinegar (1/4-1/2 cup).
3. Spoon the grated horseradish into the jar. Gently swirl with a bamboo skewer to make sure all pieces have been coated with vinegar.
4. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Note: Homemade horseradish is usually stronger than store bought especially if you make it when it is very fresh and pungent.
Here are some more ideas for how to use horseradish:
-Sniff it when you have a cold–it will clear your sinuses right up!
-Slice thinly using a mandolin and serve in salads. There are many varieties of horseradish, including a watermelon horseradish, which look beautiful when sliced and served this way.
-Boil or steam the horseradish and eat it like you would a turnip or steamed carrots. The cooking process eliminates the pungent flavor of the horseradish, so for those who don’t like the flavor, this can be a great way to still benefit from the nutrition of the root vegetable, which is a great source of fiber.

Gefilte Fish Cakes with Horseradish Sauce

Sources:

http://www.horseradish.org/history.html

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About Jessica Levenson

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Jessica is currently a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in religion, and actively involved in Jewish life on campus. She is from West Orange, NJ and attended Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. Jess aspires to one day be a chef in Israel.

 

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2 Responses to Ingredient Spotlight: Horseradish

  1. Looks like a lot of people make their own – our friends on Facebook had some tips.

    1. Elizabeth Bolton Winkelman said “Best made outside or when you want the kitchen to yourself. :) ” The fumes are strong.

    2. Batsheva BeSeven literally was knocked across the room when she took a whiff one year.

    3. Terri Seibech says “If your horseradish loses its “heat”, just add a few grains of sugar to the jar, stir and leave it alone, in the fridge for a couple days before serving again!”

    another friend says freezing also works but then you have to remember to defrost it.

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