By Bossie Krapfman
Passover with out horseradish can't be, or so says my husband. He can't seem to exist with out it. In his home horseradish was a Passover staple; it did not just go with gefilte fish, but it goes great with dark meat as well as a condiment to spice up chicken and as a spread on the matzo.
In our house making the horseradish, or 'chrain' in Yiddish as we call it, is my husband's job. When you finish this recipe you will understand why.
First cook and peel the beets. Next wash the horseradish root and then peel using a potato peeler. (Cautionary note: sit up wind of the horseradish while doing this, it has a very sharp odor. If you do not heed this advice, you will realize why I 'permit' my husband to make this recipe.) Cut into small pieces and then get your food processor ready to grate it into small strips. Peel about six to eight garlic teeth. Now put this into the blender and grate until it has the texture desired. Add two or three tablespoons of sugar, a half teaspoon of salt and a quarter cup of vinegar to the mixture and turn the food processor on for a short time just to mix everything together.
The mixture should be taken out of the processor carefully (meaning have the horseradish down wind from your face) and put in an air tight jar. My husband always puts it first into a plastic bag, expels the air and then ties a tight knot and then puts it in the air-tight glass container. If you do not insure that the container is air-tight, the horseradish mixture will lose its sharpness quickly.
* * * * *
When we were young we thought that we could use this for 'marror', the bitter herbs, since it is very sharp and difficult to eat alone. My husband would try his luck with this mixture and of course after swallowing a spoonful would turn a glowing bright red color thereby proving his man-hood was intact. However, later we learnt that only the horseradish root by itself constitutes 'marror', not this horseradish mixture.
Today we, like most people, use romaine lettuce for 'marror' with the exception of my husband who will take a bit of horseradish and grate it by hand and put it into a separate plastic bag with no other ingredients to latter add to the 'sandwich' that Hillel ate.
For my husband, Passover is not Passover without horseradish. Perhaps he feels that like the Children of Israel suffered before they left Egypt, so too he must suffer by making this sharp and pungent condiment.
from the March Passover 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine