Prepared Horseradish – Easy to make!

Making prepared horseradish is quite easy. The best benefit is you only have the ingredients intended without chemicals, preservatives, added colors or flavorings.

Label of commercially prepared horseradish

Label of commercially prepared horseradish – see all the added ingredients?!

I am campaining to stop buying processed foods and to process any foods we use myself. Horseradish is one of those staples we always have in our fridge.

We use it in Bloody Marys. Robert makes the best mix! He’s kind enough to share his recipe below.

We use prepared horseradish in a mix with brown sugar and mustard as a glaze for salmon, we mix it with sour cream or mayonnaise for a side with roasted or braised meats.

I like to mix prepared horseradish with orange marmalade and lemon juice for a dip for shrimp or spring rolls or chicken fingers and to add punch to salad dressings.

Armoracia rusticana

Armoracia rusticana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have to be careful of fresh horseradish because it can clear even the most stubborn sinuses. This is why it is combined with other things rather than eaten straight.

So when you do look for fresh horseradish, you need to locate a good solid root. No soft spots or mushy places. The root should be firm and solid.

It will have dark brown skin and the flesh underneath is pure white. Discard the outside peel and any leaves or shoots coming off the root.

If you grow horseradish, be prepared, you cannot simply pull the plant out of the ground. It gets fully established and spreads. You have to cut a section of root out with your shovel, don’t pull it up.

Prepared Horseradish

Keeps up to 2 months in the refrigerator

  • 1 8-10 inch piece of fresh horseradish root
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water, if needed

Measure the vinegar into a small bowl, add the sugar and salt; stir until both are dissolved. Set aside.

Scrub and then peel the horseradish root. Chop it coarsely and place it in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.

Cut the horseradish into chunks to process in the food processor

Cut the horseradish into chunks to process in the food processor

If you have a shredding plate on the food processor, you can shred the root instead of chopping it by hand.

Pulse the food processor until the horseradish is roughly processed, Drizzle the vinegar, sugar and salt mixture into the bowl to form a loose paste. Add water if needed to thin. Process until the texture of the chop is as you desire.

CAUTION!

When removing the lid from the work bowl, do NOT put your face directly over the bowl! Horseradish is quite “pungent” like mustard is and can be used in crowd control sprays.

The aroma could cause severe eye, nose and throat irritation.

Avert your face while opening the bowl and work in a well-ventilated room, under the stove vent or near a fan would be best.

Adding the vinegar as soon as possible after the food processor processing is important as it “sets the heat” of the horseradish. So what that means is finish once you start. Don’t go answer the phone and get into a conversation for 30 minutes. You’ll lose all the heat in the horseradish.

The entire process can be completed and cleaned up within 15 minutes.

Once you have finished processing to the desired texture, place the mixture into glass jars and store in the fridge. It will keep up to 2 months. We use it up so fast, I don’t really know how long it would last!

Prepared Horseradish

The sugar in the mix helps counter the bitter quality often found in horseradish prepared without it. Can you leave it out? Yes.

Can you substitute honey? Sure, but no artificial sweeteners because they also contribute a bitter quality, especially with the vinegar.

Can you leave out the salt? Not advised but if you want, you can cut it back a bit.

Can you use different vinegar? Yes, make sure it has between 5-7% acidity. Really, there is no need to use anything other than a simple white vinegar.

To make it pink, add some shaved beet or beet juice while processing.

So, now it’s time for a Bloody Mary!

Robert’s Bloody Mary Mix

  • 1 32-ounce bottle Low sodium Hot and Spicy V-8 Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon prepared Horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Texas Pete Hot Pepper Sauce to taste

Shake everything together well. Store in the refrigerator. Use as is or add vodka and ice as desired.

Sprinkle  a few celery seeds on top of finished drink, garnish with celery stalks.

Prepared Horseradish

Prepared Horseradish

Basic Knowledge Every Cook Should Know: Part 1

These are some basic points of knowledge I believe every cook should know.

Knowing how to do these things can make your food more flavorful, easier, cheaper and lots of fun.

In no particular order:

Make your own creme fraiche, yogurt and sour cream

The procedure is basically the same for each.

Yield: 1 quart

1 quart heavy cream or half and half (for sour cream and creme fraiche) or milk (yogurt)

1/3 cup starter culture:

Creme fraiche – buttermilk

Sour cream –  sour cream

Yogurt –  yogurt, plain

Place the dairy product into a non-reactive pot and bring to 185°F. Remove from heat and cool to below 75°F.

For yogurt, add 1 cup dry milk powder and 1 tbsp honey or other liquid sweetener such as agave syrup or maple syrup while heating.

Add the starter cultures after cooling; stir it in well.

Cover and leave in a warm spot overnight or for 12-18 hours. The product is ready when it has thickened.

To make a Greek style yogurt, pour the thickened yogurt into a quadruple folded cheesecloth. Tie the corners so the yogurt can hang from a wooden spoon suspended over a bowl to catch the dripping whey. Overnight is usually sufficient to thicken the yogurt to  “Greek” style thickness.  The key to a thicker yogurt consistency is using dry milk powder.

Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Learn to make Half Sour Pickles

These are considered a “fresh” pickle

Ingredients for half sour pickles

Yield: 1 quart

1 quart wide mouth canning jar with new 2-piece lid. Sterilize the jar in the dishwasher, NOT the 2-piece lid

2 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into spears or leave whole if desired

Brine:

1/4 oz dill sprigs

2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed

1 bay leaf

1 quart water (32 ounces)

3 ounces salt

4 ounces white vinegar

Boil enough water to cover the 2-piece lid. Place the 2-piece canning lid in a mixing bowl. Pour boiling water over the canning lid.

Set aside until ready to use.

Place the dill, garlic and bay leaf into the bottom of a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar. Pack the cucumbers on top.

Bring the water, salt and vinegar to a boil and pour directly over cucumbers. Place the canning lid on the jar; turn upside down and cool. Refrigerate.

Allow pickles to steep 24 hours before eating.

They are good until they are gone, which won’t be long.

Make your own “signature” butter

1# butter (European style preferably)

1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite combination of high quality dried herbs. Using dried herbs, garlic and onions are essential here due to a food safety standpoint.

Mix the butter (soft, of course) and the herbs all together in a mixer. Begin with the lower amount and add more, adjusting to the taste level you like.

Form into a log using parchment paper. Wrap in cellophane or package into small plastic food storage containers and refrigerate.

Use the butter for saute, on bread, rolls, over vegetables, gnocchi, pasta, potatoes, steaks, seafood and so much more.

This alone will give your food character and a flavor profile that will identify you!

For food safety reasons, please use dried herbs and spices for this. However, you can use fresh citrus zest but keep the product cold!

Make your own Seasoning Salts

Seasoning Salts

Use 1 cup of salt. The kind of salt does matter. Do NOT use iodized table salt. That kind of salt should be used for driveways in the winter. There are so many better choices. Not sure about what kinds of salt there are? See my article on Salt.

To make your seasoning salt: Choose your favorite herbs, spices or citrus zest. Mince them fine and stir them into the salt. Allow to mellow a day before using. The salt will “dry out” the seasonings so it is alright to use fresh flavorings here, but not in your butter.

Use these seasoning salts as finishing salts, to top your loaves of bread or rolls, to season a crisp radish or to top a grilled steak or baked potato.

Simple, easy, and the flavor enhancement really goes a long way. Don’t spend the money on gourmet salt blends when you can make your own, have better quality and  all that is much more friendly on your wallet.

Make your own unique fresh ground pepper blends

Every serious cook has a pepper grinder to use for fresh pepper, right? If not, go get one. Fresh ground pepper is necessary.

Instead of just adding plain black peppercorns to your grinder, add whole allspice, white, green, pink and Szechuan  peppercorns. Add broken cinnamon sticks, a clove or 2 or 3, fennel seeds, whole cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds to the mix as well.

This will create a wonderful complex flavor enhancement whenever you crank a few rounds from your grinder.

Grow your own fresh herbs

Thai basil

Having access to fresh herbs is not only wonderful, but a great time and money saver as well. See my article about growing your own herbs here. There is a lot of information and links to buying herbs and other products from trusted sites.

Make perpetual vanilla extract

I posted an article about how to do this recently. You can access “How To Make Vanilla Extract”here.

making vanilla extract

Doing this is so easy and the flavor of this extract is far better than anything you can buy, even the best vanilla extract out there.

Just be sure to start with quality ingredients and be patient for 6 months. You will then have a lifetime supply.

Coming in Basic Knowledge Part 2:

  • Learn to make a simple loaf of bread
  • Make flavored vinegar and infused oils
  • Create your own favorite Fresh Vinaigrette to use for salads, marinades, or dips

And much more.

Is there anything YOU want to learn about? Leave a comment and let me know.