Horseradish: Passover and Harvest

L’Chayim! (Sorry, didn’t mean to spit in the screen.) It is time to harvest the horseradish. Do you know how I know that? Because it is almost Passover.

Horseradish is one of the things that is traditionally served in the Passover Seder. It serves the purpose of Maror or the bitter herb which represents the bitterness of the Jews slavery in Egypt.

But I am not Jewish, so why do I care that it is almost Passover. Well, first because I like to be a culturally aware and sensitive gal, at least as much as one can be when one has been brought up in the Midwest.

Second, because the date of Passover (where they eat horseradish) normally falls around the time that is good to harvest horseradish. It’s that whole circle of life… or something. Anyway, horseradish should be harvested in early Spring and the date of Passover reminds me that it is time to harvest.

I headed out to the horseradish tub to harvest this year’s crop. Yes, I said tub. I buried a big plastic tub in the ground before I planted my horseradish. Horseradish is invasive and near impossible to kill once it is established. So unless you want to have a horseradish garden, you have to treat the stuff like mint. Tasty but dangerous.

I dug up a few roots and left others to grow for next year. To tell the truth, I could have dug up all the roots and it still would have come back for next year, but I don’t need that much horseradish.

I then used a blender to process my horseradish. Just a note, fresh horseradish needs to be processed with the windows open. Holy goodness and mercy on us all, this stuff is potent. The zing of horseradish comes from a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate which is produced when the chemicals sinigrin & myrosin combine in water. Horseradish has sinigrin and horseradish has myrosin, but it doesn’t keep them in the same place so the heat and hop does not exist until you chop the root up.

To any Jews who may be passing through, happy Passover. May the reflection on your history show you the blessings of your life.

2 thoughts on “Horseradish: Passover and Harvest
  1. Shari on

    So how can I KILL horseradish plants? Hubby’s father used to smother their meals with horseradish as a punishment. We bought our home from a man who loved the stuff and the plants are everywhere! The smell is nauseating my Beloved. Have tried for 3 years to dig them out (broke 2 pitchforks and a shovel), smother them, various other murder techniques, etc. Finally (gasp!) Roundup for a year. They’re back worse than ever. HELP!!!


  2. Raymond Adank on

    Cooks use the terms “horseradish” or “prepared horseradish” to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in colour. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will darken, indicating it is losing flavour and should be replaced. The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten, and are referred to as “horseradish greens”.`


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