I’m a little sensitive when it comes to chopping onions. In German you might say ich bin nah am Wasser gebaut – I was built close to the water. All it takes is a little fresh leek scent and my vision goes blurry. I had always thought that it was only the onion family that had people sobbing – but now I know there is one vegetable that trumps all onions!
I hadn’t even meant to buy horse radish. Our little organic supermarket im Stemmerhof has a treasure box of half-price vegetables that are past their prime but still pretty enough to gorge on. When I go for groceries, this is where I fill up my basket. And because I’m curious many a time some random or unknown fruit or root lands in my basket as well. I should really know what horse radish looks like – being a boarischs dearndl, you know – but somehow in my enthusiasm about the soup I was going to make with all that awesome veg that night, I grabbed a sandy, hairy root and tossed it in the basket thinking I’d finally get to try cooking with salsify.
When I started to peel the root it took about two seconds for my nose to realise something was odd and another two for my eyes to blur. Peeling and grinding horse radish seems to work like a decongestant: I was sniffling, crying, blowing my nose every other stroke, squinting, blinking.
Pickled Horse Radish
makes 1 small jar
1 small horse radish root
ca. 1 cup white wine vinegar
1 250 ml jam jar with a non-corrosive lid
lab goggles + handkerchieves (or whatever protective gear you find suitable)
I sterilise my jar and lid by rinsing it with boiling water – with the vinegar there seems to be no need to overdo the sterilisation process + I’ll open the jar every other week anyways. Thoroughly peel the horse radish.
Grate the radish using a microplane or a fine food grater. I have never tried using the kitchen machine, but I imagine that it cuts more chunks than strands and that the root gets a little too bruised. Grating will take a few minutes and a few handkerchieves – but oh, that sweet-sour-spicy taste is worth it! Stuff the grated radish in the jar and fill it up vinegar. Seal and store in the fridge for up to one year. You may need to refill a little vinegar as go eat along.
We have the pickled horse radish with sausages and on sandwiches. I especially love it with coarse pork sausages and mash!