The Last Canning Jar
As we moved through the summer and fall months there were many products to put up, jellies and jams to make, peaches and plums and grapes, tomatoes – you know how the list is. But I always know I am near the end if not at the end when it is time to dig the horseradish!
This weekend, while we had a day of sunshine, I headed for the garden with the shovel. Time to dig that horseradish and put it up for Christmas gifts. Neither Sal or I are particularly fond of horseradish – just a bit spicy for our liking. I like a bit of it in some ketchup with my roast beef – but that’s it.
I may do it for the process more than anything else. As a youngster my family used to go to Darby, MT when it was time to gather the root crop of the year. Aunt Mae and Uncle Bob would be ready for us. They knew where all the horseradish plants were in the countryside and off we would all go with shovels and buckets in the trunks of our cars.
Once we had found and dug enough horseradish for all the families, home we would go. Aunt Mae would get the big metal laundry tub out of the shed – we would set up the hand grinder and go to work. I am sure we washed and sorted all that horseradish – I just remember grinding it and mixing some of it with beets to tone it down a bit. When it was all done (and we did it all outside) we would head home with enough horseradish to last the year. I believe my dad loved that potent root until the day he died!!
This year I had about twice as much as last year. The roots were larger and stronger – both in holding the ground and in potency!
I use a stiff vegetable brush to clean the roots and then peel most of them with a potato peeler. Cut the roots into about 4″ lengths and run them through the Cuisinart! What a pleasure it is to have that machine for this process – saves your sinuses!
Once everything has been grated I mix one cup of water with about 2 tablespoons of vinegar – make enough to give a good mixing with the horseradish – stir it well and then put the horseradish into the jars.
I use smaller canning jars – usually half pint – and then put the heated lids on the jars – tighten down the rings and to the pantry they go until it is time to share. A very easy process -just don’t breathe while you do it!!
Glad to have the last canning jar filled for the year – on to other projects.