My husband loves our garden, but he’s not really interested in gardening in our garden. He’s more of an ‘observer’ than a ‘do-er’. That’s okay with me because, personally, I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to be married to another garden designer and have to share my garden. I remember reading an article about this once- two designers were married and literally divided their garden in half so they could each design with their own individual styles. Uggh!! I would end up in divorce court, for sure. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have someone gardening with me, so over the years I’ve figured out ways to lure him outside.
I’ve discovered that if it involves something to eat or drink, he’s all for it. For example: my previous article about grape stomping http://harmonyinthegarden.com/2009/09/13/its-grape-crush-time/ , or my recently planted blueberry bushes, where I can rely on him to go out and spend 20 tedious minutes picking the berries.
My husband’s latest adventure was with a dried up, boring looking horseradish tuber that a woman at a nursery gave to him. She obviously recognized he was a food-driven gardener and needed a bit of ‘encouragement’. He was so excited with his new score and took it home to promptly 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 mentioned my husband is a big Bloody Mary fan? So…we nursed this plant along all summer, and now that it’s Fall the time is here to see what we’ve grown! After reading various harvesting instructions from the internet, below is our photographic journey to the BEST BLOODY MARY WE’VE EVER HAD!!!
Okay – so the above photograph is the horseradish looking all green and upright and wonderful. This photo is of the horseradish plant beginning to go dormant (it’s November), with its leaves yellowish, riddled with bug holes, looking very tired indeed. Time to harvest!
First, a warning: horseradish is VERY invasive, like mint. See its roots poking out of the bottom of the pot? Wherever they touched ground, they began to sprout up new horseradish plants – and really, who needs that many horseradish plants? So you’d be wise to keep this plant contained!
Next – we gently broke apart its entangled roots, giving us 3 fairly puny looking horseradish roots. 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. Oh well. We carried on….
After cutting off the skinny roots, we then took the puny little horseradish tubers, peeled then pureed them in a blender for 3 minutes, until they were ground up to a smooth/somewhat grainy consistency. We also added 2 Tbs champagne vinegar and 2Tbs of water after the first minute, to temper the heat. If you don’t add these ingredients the horseradish just gets hotter and hotter…
I’ll warn you, 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 keep them wrapped up in a damp paper towel, then a dry one, in the refrigerator for a few weeks at a time. You can then use the root as needed, peeling the outer skin of the portion to be used.
After getting out all the ingredients, we made 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.
(p.s. our 3 little tubers made enough horseradish puree for about 8 drinks – NO we didn’t drink them all in one night!)
My husband was so pleased with his experiment, he quickly wrote down the recipe, which I’ll insert below, word for word.
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. good vodka.
3. Add in 1/2 cup bloody mary mix. 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 (sans seeds).
6. Add skewer and celery stalk to glass.
7. Hand glass to the person staring at you. Make another. Look other person in the eye while you toast (as my Italian brother-in-law always reminds me). Chink glasses and enjoy!
8. Don’t forget: this drink counts towards one of your daily requirements for vegetables. This is a lot easier than hiding them in your napkin.