This is not much of a recipe and the process is very simple, but here it is.
Food Editor's Notes:
I made maror (bitter herbs – usually horseradish) for the first time using this recipe. Don’t be scared away by Larry’s description of the horseradish fumes. They weren’t quite as strong as he says. I grated the horseradish in my food processor under the range hood in my kitchen. When I opened the processor and removed the grated root, I did have to hold my face away, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. This is an easy and quick recipe and you will feel good about making from scratch this essential seder food. If you are used to the red color and slightly milder flavor of store-bought horseradish, use canned beets (one small or large can, drained) instead of or in addition to the sugar.
Fresh horseradish root (supermarkets have it before
Passover, otherwise try a produce or specialty market)
Bottle of white vinegar
Get hold of a food processor with a grating disc and a mixing/chopping blade. You can make this in a blender, in very small batches, but it takes a lot longer and you'll spend more time handling this hazardous material.
Prepare the horseradish root by scrubbing off the dirt. Since some dirt always stays in the crevices, I use a vegetable peeler or knife to peel off the outermost layer and dig out the creases to get clean chunks.
For the rest of the process, it is best to work outdoors or under a chemistry lab-style fume hood. A range hood is not enough protection, unless perhaps you hang a plastic curtain around it to make it into a proper fume hood. Be sure it actually vents to the outside instead of recirculating into the kitchen! Traditionally, horseradish is made on the back porch, for a very good reason. The fumes are like tear gas.
Cut it into chunks that your food processor can handle. Set up the grating blade (coarse or medium), and grate enough to half-fill the bowl. Then, switch to the chopping/mixing blade to grind it finer. Add enough vinegar to keep the stuff circulating. You might also try adding some sugar (a teaspoon or two) to enhance the burn, but you can always try that later, too.
That's it! Pour the ground, wet mixture out of the food processor into appropriate storage containers.
Food Editor's Note:
For a 1/2 pound piece of horseradish root (before peeling), I used 3/4 to 1 cup of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sugar. This yielded almost 2 cups of maror, plenty for the seders and all week.
Larry Stone is one of the founding members of the nth Annual PotLuck Seder and the person who has possesion of the Pesadish trowel for Karla’s charoset, mortar-style.