posted Oct 9, 2014, 1:51 PM by Ivy Hunter   [ updated Nov 12, 2014, 2:00 PM ]
Fresh ground horseradish root is a peppery herb a very hot herb that is a perfect condiment as horseradish is prepared properly. It is a necessary addition to cocktail sauce including cream sauces that are used on seafood and vegetables or in salad dressings. Use sparingly.

According to The Encyclopedia of  Healing Foods Horseradish is known as Armoracia rusticana and Armoracia lapathifolia. It is a large tapered root with thin light brown skin, white flesh, and spikey green leaves. It is a member of the cabbage family - related to mustard, radish, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Uses: Use the leaves in a salad, and make a paste from the root. Since it has a bunch of components in the root that are similar to mustard, do not use if you are allergic to mustard. The chemicals that make horseradish paste so hot and pungent are stored separately in the root, and when blended to a paste they activate and create the hot horseradish relish we know and love as a condiment. Use horseradish on meat and seafood. Horseradish ale was used in old times by creating a mixture of horseradish, womwood, and tansy as a tonic to revive weary travelers at coach stations. When blending, do it in a well ventilated area - it is very pungent.

Medicinal Uses: The pungent allylisothiocyanate (chemical in horseradish that makes it pungent) has been researched and shows it is protective against Listeria, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and other food pathogens. Horseradish also stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder, and bile helps to digest the dietary fats and oils while secreting cholesterol and toxins from the body. When taken with fiber, to prevent resorption of bile, it can be useful in the safe removal of those toxins stored in bile.

Planting & Storage: Plant in early winter, and spring time. The peak seasons are just after the fall harvest, and just before the spring tilling of soils. Horseradish and garlic can be great winter crops in the garden as they require the same loose type of soil for best expansion. Fresh roots will keep without wilting for up to 1 week. Prepare it as a paste and keep it in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to six weeks. Prepare it by blending with vinegar and it may last even longer.

History: Horseradish is an ancient herb used in Europe, and historically used in Egyptian times of 1500 BCE as one of the 5 bitter herbs: horehound, lettuce, and nettle included. In early Greek times, Pliny called horseradish amoracia, and the Delphic Oracle tells Apollo that it is worth its weight in gold.

Horseradish paste:
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 cup loosely packed grated horseradish
Place in a blender and blend. Vinegar will create a less volatile paste. To dilute to a condiment, blend with 1 cup of applesauce, or 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.

Cranberry Horseradish Thanksgiving sauce:
From The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods
3/4 cup water - bring to a boil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
(stir those two ingredients until dissolved)
10 ounces of cranberries & bring to a boil again - allow to simmer for 10 minutes
Remove from heat and add:
2 tablespoons freshly grated loosely packed horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Do not consume large amounts of horseradish if you are prone to gallbladder stones. This will stimulate the excretion of bile (and stones may follow & lodge in the ducts creating an obstruction or emergency).
Mustard oil components including that from horseradish should be avoided by pregnant women. People with kidney disease shouldn't take this herb because it does have a diuretic effect. People with ulcers should avoid  hot pungent herbs, and it should not be given to children under age 4. Use with caution if you are taking NSAIDS such as Motrin, Ibuprophen, tylenol, toramadol, anticoagulants, or if you have a thyroid condition. Test for allergies by applying the blended paste direct to a small area of skin. Blood testing for allergies is recommended, and an allergy to horseradish would show up as an allergy to mustard as well. Eliminating mustard components would include the elimination of horseradish from the diet.

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