.
March 22nd, 2013
04:04 PM ET

Tearing up over Passover's bitter herbs

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Riverhead, New York (CNN) – A bitter, hot, gnarly looking root plays a key role in the upcoming seder meal at the center of the Jewish holiday Passover. Horseradish symbolizes the bitter existence the Israelites experienced in slavery under the Pharaoh in Egypt. Most people get it from a jar but it’s actually quite easy to make.

[3:21] “It’s predominantly sold for Passover and for Easter also people use it but yeah, this is the season,” said Phillip Schmitt, owner of the Schmitt family farm in Riverhead, New York. “It’s a pretty ugly root when it first comes out of the ground. I mean all these little ones are all attached. It’s pretty wild looking.”

Turning the root into the garnish is a noxious experience. Your eyes tear up as the fumes hit your nasal passages while you shred the root and mix it with a red beet. Schmitt’s son Matthew sells homemade horseradish on the family’s farm stands. He calls it Holy Schmitt Horseradish.

[4:28] “Make sure you got it well ventilated because otherwise you’re going to be crying out your eyes the whole time… Everyone makes it different, some sugar, people add lemon juice, salt, you know it all depends on your taste.”

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

Posted by ,
Filed under: Culture • Faith • Food • Soundwaves • Stories
soundoff (One Response)
  1. skastenbaumcnn

    @patriot – But did you try the horseradish?

    March 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |