Hot Stuff

I have become obsessed with finding wild horseradish. Having never previously known that the fiery king of condiments was to be found freely in our hedgerows, I have spent the past week scanning every inch of greenery in the hope of finding some.

Unfortunately for me, there is one major problem with finding wild horseradish in situ - that being that it bears an almost identical resemblance to one of the most common (and unedible) plants of the hedgerow - the dock:

slowly but surely I am gaining the ability to differentiate between the two - here's what I know:

  • docks have dark green, turning red spotted leaves
  • the leaves are not toothed
  • single central stem with leaves branching off

Horseradish have

  • a 'shuttlecock' appearance, with a central node in the ground that all leaves spring directly from
  • It also has toothed edges to the light green leaves
  • It produces white flowers

Apparently there is absolutely tons of this wonderful stuff growing in our hedgerows, if only you know where to look, and it is said that the flavour of the wild root is far more intense.

The search continues....


Gaw said...

Excellent quest. I've had fresh grated horseradish with roast beef and it's shockingly hot. Don't know if it was wild.

But I shall certainly look out for this, if not on the streets of Islington. It looks a bit like dandelion leaves or is it quite a bit bigger?

worm said...

..well Im not fully qualified to say, having never actually laid eyes upon the elusive beast, but I'm pretty sure it is far larger than a dandelion, being approximately knee-height or above in size, especially as the summer progresses- also the root will obviously be bigger later on in the year as it has a chance to grow

actually Im off for a walk in deepest berkshire tomorrow - i shall keep my eyes peeled!