Horseradish interlude

I’ve had this sheaf of dried horseradish ribs hanging around in the house for almost a year now and the time finally came to process it into usable fiber. I reviewed my posts from the past about this fiber using tag horseradish.

First a trough. Cement mixing trough that had compost in it will be perfect. So I had to spread the compost to make the trough available.

Then the water. I put some water in it from the hose. Ha. Then it rained buckets over the weekend and almost overflowed it.

Soaking the stalks to rehydrate them. Lots of questions. How long to soak? Will they get rotten? Some urgency, not wanting to leave them in there too long. But time consumed with other chores. And not really knowing how I was going to do this.

Finally, a sunshiny warmish day that I could work outside on the deck. I found a piece of old plywood about as long as the stalks. An implement? Something sharp but not too sharp. A knife from the silverware drawer actually worked well.

Learning by doing. The fibers separated and flattened with the first stroke of the knife edge. Gunk came off. In some cases, lots of gunk. When I turned the separating fibers over, the underside would be coated with gunk driven through to the bottom. Scrape that off.

Fibers starting to separate

A rhythm developed. A good thing, because there were a lot of these to do. First scrape the thick end, turn over, scrape more. Then turn upside down and scrape toward the thin end. Wispy fibers separate and build up on the knife. Scrape off on the edge of the board. Don’t scrape too much or the whole thing will curl into a ball. There is a knack to it, which I probably learned when I was almost finished.

I love the resulting fiber, which is pale gold in color and soft. It’s drying. It will become a basket or maybe more than one.

4 Responses

  1. grace says:

    I LOVE this. LOVE it.
    I LOVE horseradish and never in my wildest dreams knew of this possibility…I am So beyond excited to watch
    you continue….just loved your telling above, the process….
    O this is just so Great!

    • Catherine says:

      Yes! I always thought of horseradish as a big pest in my garden because it spreads so aggressively. But a YouTube video enlightened me to the fiber possibilities. It’s beautiful. Not sure when I’ll make a basket, but I’m one step closer now that I’ve prepared the fiber.

  2. jude says:

    it’s funny, i have begun basket weaving with so many things, never finishing but always wondering. I love this.

    • Catherine says:

      I really like it. Especially because it grows in my garden. I’m wondering about weaving a rustic mat with horseradish interspersed with lavender stalks. I made some small baskets last winter that were fun and fairly easy.

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