Springtime: Traditions

One of spring’s traditions is gathering sap and making maple syrup.  We did that a few years when we had several maple trees nearby and kids willing to gather the sap.  It was a lot of work, and took a lot of time for all of us — with me doing the cooking — in the house on our electric stove!

Digging horseradish roots, early spring.

Digging horseradish roots, early spring.

Another springtime tradition, or chore (as such things really are) is the harvesting and preparation of horseradish.  To get the best strength, it has to be done only during certain months, early spring before leaves grow, and also –,  according to Wikipedia – in late fall, after the leaves die back.  Old traditions say, if I remember right, any month with an “r” in it!

Just one of the larger roots.

Just one of the larger roots.

 

Roots are dug when the garden thaws, tops cut off to replant and regrow, and the roots are scrubbed, scrapped and cut up to process in a blender or food processor.  Or, if neither of these is available, an old-fashioned meat grinder can be used.  In the latter case, please be sure to go outside in the fresh air to work.  Even with modern equipment, ventilation while working is VERY IMPORTANT.  Horseradish, once ground, is very aromatic, pungent,  overly so, and can make one choke and cough, and eyes water (worse than onions).   I cannot be nearby while my husband prepares the horseradish as it will choke me and I’ve actually ended up sick.  But I love it on a hamburger!

Bucket full of roots.

Bucket full of roots.

 This is also the time to share the wealth (according to Greeks, it was worth its weight in gold) with others and give a friend a few of those tops to start his own patch of horseradish.

Scraping the last of the skin of the roots

Scraping the last of the skin of the roots

Grinding in the food processor

Grinding in the food processor

Filling the jars

Filling the jars

Jars packed, ready for the freezer.

Jars packed, ready for the freezer.

Horseradish anyone!

 

9 responses to “Springtime: Traditions

  1. Love this post, Donna! Great job! And yum!

  2. Reblogged this on Writerraebeth’s Weblog and commented:
    Brings back old memories of grinding horseradish outdoors!

  3. Seems like a lot of work, Donna

  4. Pingback: Update on Horseradish | Clover's pages

  5. We’ve started some horseradish this year. Your pist has given me lots of knowledge.

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