Our products are always hand-prepared in small
batches from high-quality horseradish roots grown on land known as
the American Bottoms along the Mississippi River in southwestern
Illinois. Unlike large-volume, commercially-prepared horseradish
products, our roots are cleaned by hand one day prior to processing,
then, peeled, sanitized, and given a kosher-salt bath to ensure
purity of flavor. We add no artificial preservatives and rely solely
on the horseradish root to impart the product’s “bite.” We do not
use jalapeño pepper juice, spice derivatives, or other pepper oils
to “heat” our horseradish.
We process our products following guidelines
established at Cornell University under FDA regulations. Each jar of
Saw Mill Site Farm horseradish is made by us at the
Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center (WMFPC) in
Greenfield, Massachusetts. WMFPC is a State- and Federally-inspected
facility that promotes the development of independent food-related
businesses. Because WMFPC is a collective, our products are prepared
and bottled in a facility where allergen products may be stored or
used by other processors.
At Saw Mill Site Farm we take pride in our
products—reviewing advances in the evaluation and research of
horseradish by leading researchers and institutions in order to
produce the finest products. Each batch we produce is individually
tested to insure a consistent, delicious taste.
We schedule production based on seasonal and
traditional culinary demands, which means that our horseradish is
produced using our small-batch, time/temperature controlled process
every 3-6 weeks. Doing so, and maintaining a conservative inventory,
ensures that you always get an exceptionally fresh product.
Regulations allow us to put a 9 month “best by” freshness date on
Research substantiates that horseradish has been
a part of many cultures for more than 3,000 years. It has been
prized as an aphrodisiac and a treatment for a variety of
ailments—such as rheumatism—it is the “bitter herb” of Passover
Seders, and a flavorful condiment, accompaniment, and ingredient in
hundreds of culinary dishes.
Legend has it that the Delphic oracle of ancient
Greece told Apollo “The radish is worth its weight in lead, the beet
its weight in silver, and the horseradish its weight in gold.” From
the Greek and Roman Empires to those of Europe—particularly the
Germanic, Scandinavian, and English—its use and value flourished. By
the 1600s, English kitchen gardeners grew and prepared it as the
condiment of choice for beef and oysters.
Horseradish came to America and by the early
1800s and was widely grown in kitchen gardens and used in many
recipes and as a common condiment on the dinner table.
In our area of Western Massachusetts—known as
the “Pioneer Valley” and the “breadbasket” for General Washington’s
army during the Revolutionary War—horseradish was widely grown.
Benedict Arnold, who served as Washington’s purchasing agent,
visited Deerfield to buy food supplies for the Continental Army and
one only hopes for the men being fed that his “grocery list”
In 1870, a
enterprising Deerfield farmer by the name of Deacon John Greenough
established the Greenough Pickling Company, which he operated for
more than 55 years. Among his many products was horseradish.
Greenough developed unique packaging, a catchy brand name—GREEN
0—and distinctive advertising copy. One of Greenough’s
slogans was: “ If a
man’s in love, that’s his business. If a girl’s in love, that’s her
business. If anyone is in love with GOOD HORSERADISH, that’s my
business.” We say amen to that! A truly
an enterprising farmer, in 1924 at the age of 84, Greenough decided
to expand his business and—recognizing the marketing medium of mail
order—sent flyers advertising his product to women throughout the
country. His brief bio and photos of Greenough and his horseradish
discovered some of the heirloom horseradish plants on Deacon
Greenough’s old farm and—with the blessing of his grandson who still
lives on the property and the help of another local farmer
entrepreneur—we intend to try and revive some of these heirloom
roots, propagate them, and make horseradish Deacon Greenough would
be proud of. As many old sages say, “what goes around, comes around”
. . . and that has always been my favorite aphorism.
To learn more about horseradish you may wish to
Horseradish: A Root with Roots
There are plenty of sites on the web that you
can visit to download recipes that use horseradish as an ingredient.
Below you’ll find two of our favorites recipes—one for flank steak
and another for salmon.
Before trying them, here are some tips
on how to use horseradish in recipes.
Remember this: To keep it hot, keep horseradish cold in a
Remove from the jar only what you reasonably
think you will consume. Close the jar tightly and return it to the
refrigerator at once. Never let it sit by a warm stove. Never
return horseradish that has sat out back to a jar. Warm
horseradish rapidly oxidizes and returning it to a jar will
degrade the remaining product.
Once a fresh bottle of horseradish is opened
it’s at it’s best for 3–5 weeks. If you do not think you can use
the horseradish up in a 3–5 week time frame, you can preserve the
flavor by freezing the unused portion in the tightly closed jar
provided the jar is not full. A full jar of horseradish put in
the freezer will expand and crack.
Do not use or transfer horseradish to a
plastic storage container, even if marked “food grade plastic.”
The flavoroids in horseradish are extremely volatile and through
osmosis can penetrate plastic. In a short period of time your
horseradish will lose its “zip” and discolor much faster than in a
As a general rule, add horseradish to sauces
just before serving or garnishing.
We do not recommend using our horseradish in
recipes where cooking is an extended process. Our horseradish is a
premium product that costs more than an ordinary, mass produced
product. Some homemade BBQ sauce recipes call for a substantial
quantity of horseradish, as well as a long cooking time. In such
recipes, save money and use the cheapest horseradish you can buy.
Many chef’s modify such recipes by
adding quality horseradish, such as ours, to the sauce at the
point of service.
Open-faced Skirt or Flank Steak w/ Horseradish Sauce
2-pound flank or skirt steak
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
12 thin slices French bread
3/4 cup beer or red wine
3 med. onions, sliced thin
1 cup sour cream, room temp.
1 t. salt
2 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Frankie’s Original Style Horseradish
1/4 t fresh-cracked black pepper
6-8 mushrooms sliced thin
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
Place the steak, beer or wine, salt, pepper, and
garlic in a large “Ziploc” or freezer bag and marinate for several
hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Sauté onions in olive oil until lightly browned.
Remove steak from marinade. Add marinade and mushrooms to onions and
continue to sauté over medium heat to reduce marinade by half. Broil
steak on grill or in oven for approx. 5–7 minutes on each side, or
to medium-rare doneness depending on thickness. While steak is
broiling, toast French bread. Mix sour cream, horseradish, and
Worcestershire sauce together in a serving bowl.
Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal across
the grain. Arrange desired amount of steak on 2 slices of toasted
bread. Top with the hot onion/mushroom mixture and finish with sour
cream horseradish sauce.
Horseradish Panko-Crusted Salmon Filets
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 t. dried dill weed
Four 5–6 oz. fresh salmon filets: boned, but
with skin on
2 T. Frankie’s Original or Marge’s Mustard
3 t. olive or melted butter
1/2 cup Panko* Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix mayonnaise, your
choice of horseradish, and dill weed in a small bowl. In a separate
bowl drizzle 2 t. olive oil or melted butter over the Panko bread
crumbs; set aside.
Season a large cast iron skillet or heavy baking
pan with 1 t. olive oil, butter, or pan spray. Heat on a burner or
in the oven for 3 minutes until pan is hot, but not smoking. Add
salmon filets skin side down and bake for 4 minutes. Remove the pan
from the oven and spread about 2 T. of the mayonnaise/horseradish
mixture on each filet, then top each filet with 2 T. Panko crumbs,
sprinkled evenly. Place pan under the broiler and broil until crumb
mixture begins to lightly brown. Turn off broiler and let the fish
sit in a 375° oven for 3-5 minutes before serving. Do not over cook.
The skin preserves the flavor and form. The finished filet will
separate easily from the skin when eaten. You may prefer to crisp
the skin even longer before broiling and eat it as well.
* Panko, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, is
widely available in the marketplace.
Where is horseradish grown commercially?
In North America, about 66% of the commercial horseradish root is
grown in Southwestern Illinois on land known as the American
Bottoms near the Mississippi River. It is the most concentrated
area of horseradish production in the world.
What makes horseradish “hot”?
If the horseradish is truly prepared as a pure product and is
not doctored with pepper oils and other ingredients that add heat,
the sharp, zippy flavor and penetrating smell of the pure product
is due to the grating of the root. In that process, a chemical
reaction takes place where the naturally highly-volatile oils
contained in the root are released by the crushing and ensuing
enzyme activity. If exposed to air or allowed to reach room
temperature, the horseradish loses its pungency rapidly. That is
why we work with only small-size batches under strictly-controlled
time and temperature constraints.
What’s in a name?
According to the
University of Illinois “Horseradish has nothing to do with
horses and is not a radish (it’s a member of the mustard family).
The name may have come from an English adaptation of its German
name. In early times the plant grew wild in European coastal
areas; the Germans called it ‘meerretich’ or ‘sea radish.’ The
German word ‘meer’ sounds like the ‘mare’ in English. Perhaps
‘mare-radish’ eventually became ‘horseradish.’ The word
‘horseradish’ first appeared in print in 1597 in John Gerarde’s
English herbal on medicinal plants.”
Is wasabi horseradish?
No, wasabi is an aquatic plant (wasabi japonica) grown in
streams. It does have some similar taste characteristics, but when
fresh is totally different in flavor and texture.
Does horseradish need to be kept
Because Saw Mill Site Farm horseradish products do not contain
artificial preservatives, they need to be kept refrigerated at all