If you ever want to clear your sinuses, eat a teaspoon of this stuff! My mom loved horseradish and would dip in an occasional spoon, eat it straight and roll her eyes back in pleasure. Normally horseradish is not fermented, but rather quickly mixed with vinegar to help stabilize and preserve it. I decided to ferment it as an alternative preservation process and it seems to have worked quite well. I had seen some fresh horseradish root at Corners of the Mouth, a great little cooperative grocery in Mendocino where I like to buy most of my fermentables, and picked some up. It sat in my fridge for awhile but I finally got around to fermenting it and am glad I did. Having a good blender (I used a vitamix) or food processor is imperative as you’ll need to puree this.
While pureeing it, I had to go outside a few times as the blending process releases the inherent mustard oil which can be irritating to your eyes and sinuses (think chopping onions x 3).
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Fermentation time: 3 weeks
Yield: 3 cups
1/2 lb. horseradish root, unpeeled but washed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons sugar
extra 1/2t salt dissolved in 1/2 c water
- When washing the horseradish root, don’t super scrub it as it’s important to leave some of the natural bacteria which can be found on the root itself to remain as this can stoke the fermentation
- Cut the horseradish into 1/2″ – 3/4″ cubes
- Place the cubes into a good quality blender (which has a tamper) or food processor with 1 cup of the water, the sea salt and sugar.
- Blend until creamy smooth. You’ll need to use a tamper on your vitamix to keep it blending as the mixture will remain fairly thick. Continue to add additional water as necessary. Mine took a total of 1 1/2 cups of water but yours will vary depending on the moisture content of your horseradish root.
- Place the pureed mixture into a widemouth jar or small bowl.
- To help protect the surface from mold since it directly touches the air, mix a topping brine with 1/2t salt and 1/2c water. Once dissolved, pour gently on the horseradish mixture so that this salty liquid remains on the surface. Over time this may absorb into the surface ingredients. Don’t mix it in until fermentation process is complete.
- Cover with a cloth and let it sit for 3 weeks.
- Jar it up and place in a refrigerator.
In my opinion, the flavor after this fermentation period is much more subtle and enjoyable.
I haven’t come up with too many uses for this yet, mostly mixing it into dressings and channeling my mother now and again. You can also mix this into soy/tamari as an alternative to the more expensive wasabi when eating sushi. I find it dissolves into the soy/tamari much more easily than wasabi powder or the paste you can buy in stores. Next up on my fermented condiments calendar – fermented mustard!