Common name: horseradish Botanical name: Armoracia rusticana Origin: Eastern Europe
Horseradish looks like a giant, two-foot radish. In fact, it's a hardy perennial member of the cabbage family. Ninety-eight percent of all commercial horseradish is grown in three Illinois counties near St. Louis. Horseradish has a very strong flavor and — like the animal for which it's named — can deliver a powerful kick when you're not expecting it.
Horseradish is a very cold-hardy plant, which does well in the North and in cool, high-altitude areas in the South. Grow it from crowns or roots planted four to six weeks before the average date of last frost for your area.
Horseradish tolerates partial shade and needs rich, well-drained soil. Turn over the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, and remove stones and lumps that might cause the roots to split. When you're preparing the soil, dig in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Plant the roots in a trench, and place them 24 inches apart with the narrow end down. Fill in the trench until the thicker end is just covered.
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in Parti.
Keep the soil evenly moist so that the roots will be tender and full of flavor; horseradish gets woody in dry soils.
Horseradish has no serious pest problems.
Horseradish has no serious disease problems.
Plants grown from roots cannot be harvested until the second year. A 10-foot row should give you six to eight roots. Horseradish makes its best growth in late summer and fall, so delay harvesting until October or later. Dig the roots as needed, or in areas where the ground freezes hard, dig them in the fall. Leave a little of the root in the ground so that you'll have horseradish the following year, too.
Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator one to two weeks. To freeze, grate the roots and mix with vinegar and water, as specified in "How to Freeze
Vegetables." You can also dry horseradish or store the roots in a cold, moist place for 10 to 12 months. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.
Horseradish is a classic accompaniment to beef roasts and steaks. Serve it solo, freshly grated, to brave souls who appreciate its full flavor. For the less stern of stomach, calm the flavor with whipped or sour cream. Serve it as one of the dipping sauces with a beef fondue. Since the fumes are very strong, grate horseradish outdoors if you can. If you must do it indoors, use a blender.
See Pepper lenu&alem antichoke
Common names: Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke Botanical name; Helianthus tuberosus Origin: North America
Few varieties are available; grow the varieties available in your area. You may find Jerusalem artichokes growing wild by the side of the road. Commercial Jerusalem artichokes are sometimes sold in supermarkets; use these to start your own crop.
Jerusalem artichokes are large,-upright, hardy perennials, with small yellow flowers two to three inches across and rough, hairy leaves four to eight inches long. This plant, which grows five to 10 feet tall, was grown by the North American Indians for its tubers, which look like small potatoes. The tubers are low in starch and taste a bit like water chestnuts.
The Jerusalem artichoke isn't an artichoke, and it didn't come from Jerusalem. It's related to the sunflower, and the name is probably derived from the Italian name for a sunflower, girasole, which means turning to the sun.
where and when to grow
Jerusalem artichokes will grow anywhere, and in almost any soil as long as it's warm and well-drained. Plant the tubers two to three weeks before the average date of last frost for your area.
How to plant
Give Jerusalem artichokes the least productive soil in your garden (provided the location is sunny); they'll probably love it, and they'll take over areas where nothing else will grow. Plant them as a screen or windbreak. Be sure you know where you want them before you plant, however, because once Jerusalem artichokes become established little short of a tornado will shift them. It's not necessary to fertilize the soil before planting. Plant the tubers two to six inches deep, 12 to 18 inches apart. You won't need to cultivate because weeds are no competition for a healthy Jerusalem artichoke.
Fertilizing and watering
Don't fertilize Jerusalem artichokes at midseason — they'll do fine on their own.
Water only during extremely dry periods. The plants themselves can survive long dry spells, but the tubers will not develop without a regular supply of water.
Aphids occasionally visit the Jerusalem artichoke, but they don't present any significant problem. If they do appear, pinch out infested foliage or hose the aphids off the plants. Chemically aphids can be controlled with Malathion or Diazinon. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.
Tuber rot may occur if the soil is not properly drained. Maintaining the general health and
Jerusalem artichoke seedling cleanliness of your garden lessens the incidence of disease. If a plant does become infected, remove it before it can spread disease to healthy plants. Detailed information on disease prevention is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Time from planting to harvest is 120 to 150 days, and a 10-foot row should yield about 20 pounds of tubers. As the plant grows, cut off the flower stalks as soon as they appear; this will encourage tuber production. If the plant is using its energy to produce seeds, it won't produce tubers. (The flowers, in fact, are cheerful. If you're growing Jerusalem artichokes for decorative as well as practical purposes, you may be willing to sacrifice a few tubers so you can enjoy the flowers). Harvest the tubers when the leaves die back; dig them up with a spading fork, leaving a few in the ground for next year.
Store Jerusalem artichokes in the refrigerator for seven to 10 days, or store in a cold, moist place for two to five months. You can also freeze Jerusalem artichokes or leave them in the ground as long as possible, and dig them up as you need them. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.
The slightly nutty flavor of the Jerusalem artichoke goes well with mushrooms. Serve them cooked until tender then cooled and sliced, in a salad with mushrooms and a vinaigrette dressing. They can also be used raw, peeled, and thinly sliced, in a mushroom salad. Cooked, you can puree them, saute slices with tomatoes, or simply toss them with butter and seasonings as a side dish with meat or poultry. They can also be used as an extender in meat loaf.
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