Horseradish, Humans Either Love It Or Hate It – A Herb You Should Consider Growing

No I haven’t gone mad. Jerusalem Artichoke, Collards, Okra and now Horseradish.
I have made a concuss decision to blog about some of our less well known garden vegetables.
Lets face facts, many thousands words have been published by bloggers about Tomatoes, Peppers and Potatoes. But who will defend the lowly Jerusalem Artichoke or Horseradish?

Just because these plants are not in every home garden does not make them less worthy of your consideration for your 2014 vegetable garden. Plants like Jerusalem Artichoke, Collards and Horseradish are almost never fail crops and require very little garden space for enough plants to supply you and your family for an entire season.

horseradish-in-bloom Horseradish is attested in English from the 1590s. It combines the word horse (formerly used as an adjective meaning “strong, large, or coarse”) and the word radish.
Caution Despite the name, all parts of this plant can be poisonous to horses.

Horseradish has been cultivated since antiquity. According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold. Horseradish was known in Egypt in 1500 BC. Dioscorides listed horseradish under Thlaspi or Persicon; Cato discusses the plant in his treatises on agriculture, and a mural in Pompeii(before 79AD) shows the plant.

Horseradish is perennial in hardiness zones 2–9 and can be grown as an annual in other zones, although not as successfully as in zones with both a long growing season and winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy. After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, dig the root and divided.
horseradish-root The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year’s crop. Horseradish left undisturbed in the garden spreads via underground shoots. Older roots left in the ground become woody, after which they are no longer culinarily useful, although older plants can be dug and re-divided to start new plants.

Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root and vinegar or sometimes mixed with mayonnaise or mustard is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom, United States and in Poland. In the UK it is usually served with roast beef, often as part of a traditional Sunday roast, but can be used in a number of other dishes also, including sandwiches or salads. A variation of horseradish sauce, which in some cases may substitute the vinegar with other products like lemon juice or citric acid, is known in Germany as Tafelmeerrettich. Also popular in the UK is Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and grated horseradish originating in medieval times and mentioned by Shakespeare. A very similar mustard, called Krensenf or Meerrettichsenf, is popular in Austria and parts of Eastern Germany.

In the U.S. the term “horseradish sauce” refers to grated horseradish combined with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Prepared horseradish is a common ingredient used as a sauce or sandwich spread.

Horseradish contains volatile oils, notably mustard oil, which has antibacterial properties due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate. Fresh, the plant also contains average 79.31 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of raw horseradish.

Don’t try to store Horseradise for more than 2 or 3 weeks. Dig and process roots as needed.

1. Use a sturdy shovel to dig up an 8-10-inch long tuber of horseradish. (You can’t pull it up.) The plant once established, propagates with tubers, and is very hardy. Remove the leaves from the root and rinse the dirt off of the root.

2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off of the tuber. Chop root into pieces.

3. Put into a food processor. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Process until well ground. At this point be careful. A ground up fresh horseradish is many times as potent as freshly chopped onions and can really hurt your eyes if you get too close. Keep at arms length away, and work in a well ventilated room. Strain out some of the water if the mixture is too thin. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Pulse to combine.

Note that the vinegar will stabilize the level of hotness of the ground horseradish, so do not wait too long to add vinegar to the mixture.

4. Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer the grated horseradish to a jar. It will keep for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

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14 responses to “Horseradish, Humans Either Love It Or Hate It – A Herb You Should Consider Growing

  1. Hi, We also grow horseradish (central NY z 5) and it is very hardy. Ours will get well over 2 feet tall. The flowers smell spicy, like horseradish. It can become invasive but it easy to dig up and remove, if needed. I don’t care for horseradish but it is a nice looking plant and my husband likes it.

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    • Re twiceuponatimedesign Thanks for visiting my little blog and for your comment(s). I was introduced to horseradish while living in Germany. I use it a lot, but, in moderation. Have you tried adding a small amount to your homemade mustard or mayonnaise? Great as a sandwich spread.
      Happy Summer Gardening

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  2. Beef and horseradish sandwiches with watercress….!!! Yum! 🙂

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  3. Wow, what surprisingly pretty little flowers! Happy Nesting.

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  4. Horseradish is on my list of new things to try in my garden so this info is timely! The hint to grow in a container came before I made the mistake of putting it into the garden plot. However, if letting it roam freely underground would chase off the fire ants, I’d load up the whole property with it!

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    • Re RT Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog and for your comment(s). Eeeek ‘fire ants’ I don’t have them but I was told that spreading your coffee grounds around their mounds won’t kill them, but they will pack-up and go else where.

      Happy fire ant free gardening

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  5. I like growing horseradish, but only in containers. In the ground, it spreads like crazy and is definitely difficult to control. Any tiny bit of root becomes a new plant, too.

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    • Re liselfwench Thanks for visiting my little blog and for your comment(s). I think under the right conditions any perennial has the potential to become a bit invasive. I hope others read your comment and consider container growing.

      Happy carefree container grown Horseradish.

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  6. I never considered growing horseradish, I love it, I use it all the time. I think I will make some space in my little garden for this. Thank you for the insight.

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    • Re yourperfectburn Thank you for visiting my humble blog. Big Smile, Fresh Horseradish can have a real bite that I like, but most should use sparingly.
      Happy summer gardening

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  7. In Austria where I spend a lot of my time we eat raw, grated horseradish to accompany many meat dishes. It is a very strong taste, not to everyone’s liking. I love it though and it is a great cure for a cold or blocked nose.

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    • Re Cassie Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog and for your comment(s).
      Horseradish is not commonly grown in Oklahoma gardens. I was introduced to it while in holiday in Southeastern Germany,( along the Austria border and ) and Northern Italy.
      Happy warm weather summer gardening

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  8. Thanks. We’re planning to turn our unused burn pit into a kitchen herb garden this Spring. How tall do horseradish greens get? I haven’t grown it before and I think it will be a nice addition.

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    • Re Kitty Cunningham Thanks for visiting my tiny blog and for your comment(s).
      I think the largest plants I have ever had grew to about 18 inches tall, but about 12-14 inches tall has been much more common size. Good luck
      Happy healthy eating

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