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HORSERADISH AND APPLE

I assisted Julie Whitehorn in her Farm to Table Class at McClure Middle School recently, and was gifted two large pieces of what I thought was horseradish. The class receives a CSA box which is kindly donated by Jubilee Biodynamic Farm every week. It contains beautiful and fresh organic produce and things that I am very unfamiliar with, like burdock root. Burdock root is not exactly a kid friendly food. None of the kids participating in the class had ever even seen one before. Neither had I! Which is why I was convinced that this was horseradish. 

I was unsure what to do with that much of it myself at first - potato soup? But then it suddenly dawned on me that my cousin's grandma used to grow horseradish in her garden and combine it with apple, which is a typical flavor pairing in Germany. Something I certainly did not touch as a kid. I decided to make a spicy preserved apple sauce and maybe I would even share it with the kids in the class, and with my own three kids. And only after I started to cut and grate the root I realized that what I had on hand was burdock root, not horseradish. Burdock root is very mild in flavor and very nutritious. It can be eaten raw or cooked and it can be added to this apple sauce. But my heart was set on horseradish.

  • 2 pounds of tart apples (about 5 apples)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • freshly grated horseradish to taste, about 1/4-1/2 cup
  • 4-5 half pint canning jars

Peel and core the apples. Cut into small cubes. Combine the apples, sugar, salt and the lemon juice in a large bowl and let it sit at room temperature for about one hour, stirring occasionally, to develop the juices.

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Transfer the apples with the juice that has developed to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the vinegar and simmer, cooking the apples and reducing the liquid into a thick applesauce - about 45 minutes. You may have to add a little water during the cooking process because your sauce might get thick before all of the apple is soft and cooked through.  

Meanwhile prepare the canning jars. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Wash the canning jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water, rinse well and place them on a clean cookie sheet. Let them dry in the oven and cook for at least 20 minutes. The jars must be hot when you fill them with the applesauce. 

Prepare your water-bath canner to process the jars after filling or you can use a large stock pot. Use a rack or other type of spacer in the bottom of the stock pot so that the jars will not sit directly on the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot with enough water to completely cover the jars by one inch. Heat the water to simmer. Cover the pot with a lid until ready to use.  

When the applesauce has reached the right consistency, add the grated horseradish. Careful! Some horseradish is really spicy! Add a bit at a time. Season with salt and/or sugar to taste. 

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While the sauce is still hot fill the hot jars. Leave 3/4" of headspace at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars and apply the lids and bands. Do not over-tighten. Place the jars into the water-bath canner to process or submerge the jars into the simmering water in your prepared stock pot. Make sure that the jars are completely covered with water by about one inch. Boil for 15 minutes. After the time is up, turn off the heat but leave the jars in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the hot water with tongs or a jar lifter and place them on a clean kitchen towel to cool. Let cool completely and test after 24 hours. If the lids of the jars are "pulled in" and there is no popping sound when you press down on the lid the jar is properly sealed. 

Store in a cool dry place for up to one year.

This sauce is fruity and sweet, with a spiciness that does not linger. It is delicious with pork and in Germany it is often eaten with smoked fish. It also goes really well with sausage and cheese. Or try it alongside latkes. It can also be folded into creme fraiche or unsweetened whipped cream to make a creamy horseradish sauce.

SOURCE: ADAPTED FROM A FAMILY RECIPE

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