I’m one of those kids who will put anything in their mouth and, when I was at my bestie’s farm the other day, drilling the will to remember to pull some horseradish root from her massive horseradish patch into me wee noggin, I got to wondering about the edibility of horseradish greens.
Thanks to the power of the googles, I quickly learned that the leaves wouln’t kill me and were possibly even delicious. I felt a little crestfallen; once had horseradish greens growing up around me all my life and had never, ever eaten them.
I also felt pretty elated for having discovered a potentially prolific source of leafy greens.
I plucked a few as I was digging my roots. Tonight, I got around to washing them up and prepping them and, like any good foodie would do with a new veg, sautéeing some in butter, salt, and pepper to get a feel for what this new-to-me herbaceous wonder was all about.
And what is it all about?
Like, really, really, really bitter.
Now, a lot of the leaves that I picked were older. I did manage to get some younger ones, which were much less bitter, but still like arugula that ‘roided-up in order to make a legitimate place for itself on the Seder plate.
So, not straight-up blech, but really, really, really bitter.
After trying them cooked, I went to the googles again to seek out recipes for these biting bracts.
Some suggested using them instead of grape leaves in dolmas, others in salads. I can’t imagine either of these options working for my taste buds and I like bitter things.
Next up (I’m freezing a bunch to experiment with later), I’ll try some in a ground nut soup as I think the bitterness will get balanced out by the sweetness and acidity inherent to the dish. I should also like to try it as a pesto, as recommended by many folks on the googles.
I am also most definitely going to see if I can’t harvest some early shoots next spring.
Have you folks had experience eating horseradish leaves? I feel like a babe in the woods when it comes to this stuff. I’d love to know.