Produce report: July 17
Look out for fresh horseradish to add some real zing to winter meals. Farro Fresh is selling it direct from the grower until October and you may get lucky at the farmer’s markets.
Horseradish cream is a traditional accompaniment to roast beef (and Yorkshire pudding) and the grated root is also good in a shrimp cocktail, with egg dishes, with salmon or oily fish, sausages and preserved meats and ham. Or stir a little through mashed potato for a bit of sharpness.
Horseradish quickly loses its pungency so only cut as much as you plan on eating but take care when doing so. The powerful vapour can make your eyes water and literally take your breath away.
To prepare it, cut off the tough ends, peel and grate. Adding a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or lemon juice will put a halt to the release of more of the Isothiocyanate chemical which causes that sinus blowout. The vinegar or lemon juice will also stop it from turning brown. Add a little salt and then soften if wished with crème fraiche, cream or mayo.
If wanting to preserve horseradish for a few weeks, peel and cut it into small pieces. Pop into the food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water, then pulse until it is finely ground but not mush. Add a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar or lemon juice as above. Add salt to taste and keep in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Horseradish can also be stored in the freezer, cut into lengths and grated from frozen. Resembling a thick, brown parsnip, it belongs to the brassicaceae family, along with mustard, wasabi, broccoli and cabbage.
Look for a heavy, firm and smooth root, free from rot and gouges. Cooking will destroy its ferocity so it is usually served raw. If it is added to a cooked dish, it will usually be at the end.
Did you know: Most wasabi you dab on to your lunchtime sushi is actually coloured horseradish. While they do come from the same family, for pure wasabi check out the wasabi grown in New Zealand by Coppersfolly.
Best vegetable buys this week are broccoli, grey-skinned pumpkin, carrots, parsnips and, at last, cauliflower. Baby spinach and rocket are more freely available again. Avocados are getting cheaper as supply increases.
The best fruit buys are citrus and kiwifruit. Tamarillos are looking big and smooth and bright. A rich source of potassium and antioxidants, they also contain vitamins A, C, B6 and E. A and these sweet/tart fruits are very low in calories. July and August are peak season so get some into your trolley now.
Recipe by Delaney Mes