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Horseradish

Horseradish roots
Vinegar
Kosher salt

Selecting the root: Bring a small knife with you to the supermarket.
Pick up every root you're considering buying and give it a squeeze.
If it's limp, feels fleshy or flaccid, or wrinkled, forget it.
Select only fresh roots that feel rather heavy for their size and
are as hard as wood. Use the knife to pare off a thin bit of the
root and pop it in your mouth. Bite down on it. If it makes your
lip and tongue go numb and tingly, it's good. Don't buy it if it's
weak, or if it leaves a bitter quinine aftertaste (the bitterness
will be magnified by grinding.)

Preparation: Set up a table in front of a window. Open up the
window and set up a fan to blow air OUT the window. Horseradish
fumes are crippling and you will NOT be able to do this without
pulling the fumes out the window. By exhausting air out rather
than blowing in, you can even do this on a chilly night when you
might otherwise not want a window open.

On the window table put your food processor. If you can run your
processor with both the shredding blade in the top and the puree
knives in the bottom, great. Set it up that way. If not, you'll
have two steps (grating and pureeing) instead of one. Next to the
processor, still in front of the window, put a large bowl. That's
where the ground root will go. Close at hand (maybe on the kitchen
table) put the jars where the root will be packed, a large bottle
of vinegar, and your salt.

Step 1: Wash and peel. Put all the roots into the sink and start
running a thin stream of cold water. Get them all wet and let them
sit a few minutes to soften the dirt on them. With a stiff bristle
brush, give them a good scrubbing under the stream of water. When
they're clean, use a veggie peeler to pare off the brown skin and
green tops (if they have green tops. You can cut the top inch off
the root, leaving the greens alone, if you like, and plant them in
your backyard if you want to grow your own.) Do the peeling under
the running water, also. Keeping the water drizzling over the root
while you peel carries off some of the volatile chemical, saving
your life while you work in the sink. <g>

Step 2: Grate and Grind. Bring the peeled roots over to the window
table and turn the fan and your food processor on. Feed them down
the chute to the grating wheel. The top wheel will grate the root,
and the bottom knives will do the fine chopping (if you can't run
both knives in your machine at once, you will have to grate each
bowl full of root, then put the chopping knife in to finish
separately.) As the root gets finer and finer, it will begin sticking
to the sides and bottom of the bowl. Slowly, and with the processor
still running, pour in vinegar to get a thick but not sticky
consistency. Continue to whirl in the bottom knives for several
minutes, until the root bits are very very fine. Stop the processor
and dump the processor bowl into the large bowl. Repeat these
steps until all the roots are grated, ground, and in the large
bowl. Remember to keep the fan on all this time! When all the
roots have been processed, rinse the processor knives and bowl with
cold running water. Wash them as necessary. Put the processor away
or aside. You'll need the space on the table in front of the fan
to pack the jars.

Step 3: Seasoning. You've still got that fan running, right?
Leave the bowl in front of the fan. The grated root in the bowl
should not be too dry. Stir in enough vinegar to give a smooth
consistency. Taste a little bit of the puree (be careful! This
is likely to be the strongest horseradish you've ever tasted.) If
you think it needs salt, add some Kosher salt or canning salt. I
usually add about half a teaspoon per quart.

Step 4: Packing. Use a ladle and a canning funnel to fill pint
jars with the prepared horseradish. Fill the jars up, cap them
off, and put them in the fridge. Do not process the jars. Keep
them refrigerated. You may turn off the fan after all the jars
are full and after all implements have been rinsed. The horseradish
will maintain full potency for a couple of weeks (I make mine no
more than a week or so before Easter) but will still be pretty damn
strong for a month or two. Use it before it turns brown.

Cleaning up: Most of your tools (the bowls, ladle, etc) will
require little more than a good rinse with cold water first (to
neutralize and dilute any horseradish fumes) then hot water, since
you aren't cutting any greasy fat.

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful:
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preserving with vinegar, April 7, 2006 - 02:22 PM
Reviewer: malvina from south australia
I tried this recipe and found that the vinegar took all the heat out of the horseradish and wasnt the same as what I had in the old days in England. We had the horseradish practically 'neat' and it was terrific we only needed a little at a time it was hotter than mustard. How can I preserve horseradish and keep the heat in it? I don't remember ours tasting like vinegar at all - but my Mum preserved it. Would like your suggestions Thanks! Malvina

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
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Keeping the heat in, October 26, 2006 - 04:15 PM
Reviewer: Anonymous from Missouri, USA
To keep the heat in the horseradish, wait 3 minutes after grating before you add the vinegar. The vinegar stops the chemical process that causes it to be hot.

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