This, my friends, is my big ugly horseradish plant. I started it from a small plant in 2010, and have let it grow undisturbed until now.
Because I put a beef roast in the oven, of course.
So, without any more thought than "yum, beef and horseradish", I decided to go dig.
These roots go down forever.
After about 15 minutes with the shovel, this is what I had:
I think I went about this all wrong (gee, really??). I didn't want to harvest the entire thing, just enough to get some to eat with my roast. Of course, one should wait until a heavy frost, or early spring to harvest, and then harvest the entire plant at the same time, re-planting some of the roots to grow again next year.
But why follow the established way of doing things...
After some more hacking, the plant looked like this:
There is a fibrous outside to the root, which is slightly darker than the inner portion, but nothing I have read said to discard this portion, so...
If I was harvesting a lot, I would have dug out the food processor and used that. But for the few roots I had, I decided just to grate them. Oh, and all that advice you read about doing this outside? Yeah, it's good advice. Onions have NOTHING on horseradish in the tear department. Oh well, live and learn. And cry.
There seem to be a lot of different ways of making horseradish - some with straight vinegar, some a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water, and some with a salt and/or sugar brine. For my first attempt, I chose straight vinegar, just enough to make a slurry. I ended up with almost two 125 ml jars of horseradish, one of which will go with my roast, and one which will go to the neighbour.
This is not preserved in any way, but it will keep in the fridge for a week or two, or in the freezer for long-term storage. And yes, I'll be digging up the rest of the plant after a good frost, and making a larger batch. Using the food processor. Because this is what happens when I use the grater*:
*no horseradish was contaminated in this incident.