Horseradish

What can I say, I’m a bit of a nerd. With that, I thought I’d start a bit of a series here that is all about the history of our food. Where it comes from, what health benefits it offers, how to use it, tips for preparing it, and eventually, when I get my hands on a little bit of land, how to grow or raise it. I think it’s important to know where our food comes from and how it nourishes not only our bodies but also our souls. Something has been lost. And I’d like to use this small part of the internet to explore our history and relationship with food.

To start, let’s start in a most unlikely place, with a strangely strong and pungent little plant that brings us horseradish. Something that as I child I did not like at all but now, strangely enough, I love.

Horseradish – AKA Armoracia rusticana and Armoracia lapathifolia

According to Food Lover’s Companion, this is an ancient herb that is native to eastern Europe but now grows in other parts of Europe as well as the US. It’s one of the five bitter herbs of Jewish Passover. It has spiked green leaves that can be used in salads but it’s roots are what it’s better known for. These roots are large, long, and tapered with thin light brown skin and white flesh, and pungently spicy. Horseradish is a member of the cabbage family. It’s related to such tasty things as mustard, radish, kale, cauliflower, and Brussel Sprouts. Okay, Brussel Sprouts are not that good but some people love them. Those people are just down right weird in my book. Haha!

The roots are harvested in the Spring and Fall and can be found in many grocery stores. Sometimes you might had to pop into a specialty market or look to your farmer’s market to find the fresh roots. You’ll want to choose roots that are firm and without signs of blemishes or withering. The fresh stuff should be refrigerated in a plastic bag and peeled before use. Most commonly you can find horseradish bottled. The white version has been preserved with vinegar while the red version has been bottled in beet juice. It can also be found dried, though I haven’t ever found it.

According to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, if you opt to prepare your own fresh horseradish, you’ll want to grate the root and then mix it with vinegar in order to preserve that peppery bite. It has to do with an enzyme, isothiocyanates, and other things that I won’t bore you with.

It was used by the Egyptians in 1500 BC, the early Greeks, and Romans for it’s medicinal properties. It was added to smelling salts, chewed to ease toothaches, in poultices for gout, to prevent scurvy, and more. It’s even been said that it was used, with vinegar, to remove freckles. Thank you, but I’ll be keeping my freckles just as they are. It appears that it wasn’t until 1597 that the German’s started to use it as a condiment for meat and fish. From there, it spread into France, and then onto England. The early settlers brought it to North American and by the 1840’s it was growing wild near Boston. By the mid-1850’s, there were farms in the Mid-West that had begin commercial cultivation.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods says that it is an under researched medicinal food with little research being done to either support or refute it’s historical uses. We do know though that is can help protect against food borne illness. Recent research shows that it protects against Listeria, E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and more. One of the chemicals that causes the pungent aroma is also a very powerful antibacterial ingredient and constitutes 60 percent of the horseradish oil. Horseradish also stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder helping it to maintain a healthy gallbladder and improved digestion. When bile secretion is increased it helps to digest fats and oils as well as removing waste and cholesterol from the body.

Some interesting tips I found about using the stuff are:

1 tbsp of the freshly grated stuff has the potency of 2 tbsp of prepared (the stuff found in your local grocery store) horseradish.

To make your own version of the stuff you find in the grocery store, take 1 tbsp tired horseradish, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp water and a little salt to taste. This will equal 2 tbsp.

You can also make some of the fresh stuff too but rumor has it that this stuff makes the store bought kind pale in comparison. Apparently, true horseradish aficionados go for the stuff raw and freshly grated. It’s said that you should always grate fresh horseradish in a well ventilated room with an open room. The stuff can burn your nose and eyes. The more finely the mincing and grating the more pungent the flavor. I am so going to have to try this!!! I’ll let you know how it goes.

HorseradishNutritionalFacts

Horseradish Nutritional Facts

Recipes with Horseradish:

Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Do you guys have any tips or secrets when it comes to horseradish? How about any lore or history? Interesting facts? Anything? Please share.

Until next time!

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Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Steak Salad With Horseradish Dressing 1 | CheersSusan.com

You wouldn’t know it now, but growing up I was a totally picky eater. I don’t know how my family put up with me. Thankfully, those days are behind me and I’ve become a much more adventurous eater. I’m apt to try things at least once. Even things that I previously didn’t like I’ve tried again and now am obsessed with. Case in point, horseradish.

I love, love, love horseradish now. It’s really strong stuff and can be over powering but man alive is it good. I’ve been known to go through a jar or two a month these days. I use it in a variety of things from egg salad and deviled eggs to making salad dressings. Don’t worry though, this will not become a blog about horseradish, even though it’s amazing stuff. Since I feel that way about a lot of things like, mangoes, ribs, chia pudding, avocados, caprese salads, DIY projects, running, cuddles, and more, I don’t think I’ll annoy anyone with my moderate horseradish obsession. I could be wrong… Nah, after this, there’s no way I could be wrong about a little horseradish. Haha!

Steak Salad With Horseradish Dressing 3 | CheersSusan.com

Ingredients

Steak Salad

1 tbsp butter

1/2 lb flank or skirt steak

Salt & pepper

Salad greens

Radishes, thinly sliced

Horseradish Dressing

1/4 c sour cream

1 1/2 tbsp prepared horseradish

1/2 tsp honey

1/2 red wine vinegar

Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation

Melt butter in a medium or large skillet over high heat. Pat steak dry with a couple of paper towels. This will allow the steak to get a nice brownness to it. Season it with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the meat in the skillet and then cook until desired doneness. If you’re going for say a medium rare on a piece of flank or skirt steak then you’re looking at about 3-4 minutes per side. Once it’s done, transfer it to a plate so that it can rest for 10 minutes.

While the steak is resting make up the horseradish dressing. Grab a bowl and whisk together the sour cream, horseradish, honey, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, it’s time to plate up. Add your salad greens topped with some radishes to plate(s) and then top with slices of steak. Finally, spoon over the dressing and serve.

Dig in!!!

Steak Salad With Horseradish Dressing 4 | CheersSusan.com

Since I’m interested in all things food I did some research into the history and health benefits of horseradish. You can check it out here.

Steak Salad With Horseradish Dressing 5 | CheersSusan.com

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Monday Motivation from John Quincy Adams

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Happy Monday!!! Who else has the day off besides me? What’s everyone up to? I’m planning on doing some catch up on the blog and might even give Lexi a bath. I know, talk about a totally wild and crazy day for me.

Oh, and I also have some recipe ideas that I want to putz around with in the kitchen today. I’ve actually spent most of the weekend with food on the brain. Shopping, making, photographing, researching, and more. What can I say, if my Instagram feed has been inspiring people to get out there and chase their own definitions of epic, then I’m hoping I can also use it to inspire people to make delicious meals at home. No offense to all the restaurant owners out there but you can be just as epic at home as you can be bagging some 14-ers or running a marathon. After all, it’s good honest food that enables me to #chaseepic!

And, if my actions can indeed inspire others, then I couldn’t be more happy on this President’s Day! Now, to give the dog a bath!

Happy President’s Day!

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Share the Love

ValentineesDay

What’s everyone up to? Anyone running the LA Marathon? No matter what you’re up to today, I hope you take a moment to share some love today, even if you’re single and free! Here are some ideas in case you’re stuck on what you could do.

  1. Do a good deed – buy the person behind you at the coffee shop a cup of coffee, or pay their toll
  2. Share a positive message on social media
  3. Call someone to tell them you love and appreciate them
  4. Smile and say “Hi!” to people
  5. Give someone a hug, even if it’s your cat or dog, hell hug a tree if you happen to be out there hiking today
  6. Be positive and look on the bright side even when your morning smoothie explodes all over the kitchen – you need to clean the floor anyways, right? 🙂
  7. Play happy music, the kind that makes you want to get up and dance, then get up and dance
  8. Make someone a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, something
  9. Let someone merge in front of you and do it with a smile
  10. Donate clothes and shoes to the needy
  11. Babysit your friend’s kids for free
  12. Hold the elevator door for someone
  13. Make a charitable donation
  14. Donate books to your local library
  15. Leave extra time on a parking meter
  16. Tell someone they look beautiful
  17. Tell someone your sorry
  18. Eat and buy local
  19. Send a care package to someone
  20. Be kind to yourself

Love you guys!!!

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Date Smoothie

Date Smoothie 1 | CheersSusan.com

Here in SoCal we have these wonderer things called Date Shakes. Oh, how they lift my spirits after a day of hiking. They’re like a diabetic coma waiting to happen but they’re so good. I decided that I needed to try making a “healthier” version at home and now that date season appears to be upon us, it’s the perfect time. Plus, I figured if I could get the basics down now it will only make my summer all that much sweeter.

So, let’s get out the blender and get to it!

Ingredients

1/2 c dates

1/2 c vanilla yogurt, low sugar

3/4 c ice

Milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Honey, optional

Ice cream or frozen yogurt, only if you really want to go there. Haha!

Preparation

Add the dates, yogurt, and ice to the blender. Add a splash of milk (your choice). You’ll need to keep adding a little at a time until you reach the consistency that works for you. If you want it to be a little sweeter then you could add some honey. I personally found it to be sweet enough without it. Dates have a lot of natural sugar already and even with a vanilla yogurt that didn’t contain a ton of sugar it was still sweet. But, use your personal taste as a guide.

Date Smoothie 2 | CheersSusan.com

Have a wonderful weekend guys!

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