Harvesting horseradish

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant that grows each year from the roots left in the soil after the previous harvest; our crop has reproduced itself year after year from a small piece of root given to us by friendly gardeners in the Hills and Plains Seed Savers group.

Once the tall spreading foliage of the horseradish dies back a bit in autumn

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we simply dig it up with a mattock, chopping the roots about midway down, and leaving the remainder to start next year’s crop. The tops are chopped off with secateurs and the roots scrubbed with a vegetable brush and presented to the cook in a bucket.

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Luckily for we Aussie gardeners, the cooks on this blog are both German, and our first published recipe for horseradish appears here.

In our house, horseradish is peeled then finely grated – this later process releases the potent chemicals that give horseradish its distinctive smell and taste. This should be done outside, wearing gloves, safety glasses and full-body armour... The grated horseradish is then just mixed with thick raw cream and served as a condiment.

One of the most memorable German dishes for me is slow boiled beef served with cranberry sauce and a b├ęchamel sauce made of horseradish, melted butter, flour, milk, salt and a little sugar.

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