Horseradish has been around for a very long time when it comes to garden vegetables or herbs. In fact, we have records that say the Egyptians used this plant before 1500 B.C. and it is one of the “bitter” herbs used in Passover traditions. Believe it or not, it was also used as an aphrodisiac (mind you, the Romans used just about everything as an aphrodisiac).
When to Plant
The roots of this plant are what we grow and are planted in the springtime as soon as you can work the ground. Plant roots 15 cm deep and 30 cm apart (it has a vigorous top growth).
Where to Plant
In full sun to light shade. You can grow horseradish in almost any soil except very heavy clay.
I always found the horseradish roots to be pest and disease free and grew from year to year with no work on my part. This plant is easy to grow in full hot sunshine and once you have it, you won’t lose it (although it doesn’t spread unless you leave roots in the ground)
How to Plant
- Plant it where you expect to grow it for a few years. Every plant so every bit of root left in the ground became a new plant the following year.
- Leave a 15 cm long chunk of root wherever you want a plant for the subsequent year when you harvest in late summer or early fall.
- I always love those recommendations that call for thinning horseradish roots by pulling up the extras. I think I could thin mine with a 100 horsepower backhoe (about the same size as the one I used to dig the farm pond).
- This is a tough plant and easy to grow.
Care & Maintenance
Very little necessary. Keep weeds out of the garden.
Harvest anytime after mid-summer when you want/need some roots or in the fall when you’re cleaning up your garden.
Making Horseradish Sauce
Now, the heat value of the root is not evident until you grate or grind up the root. It is at this point that the volatile oils (called isothiocyanates) are released.
- For mild horseradish, add vinegar immediately after grinding.
- For hotter sauce, wait overnight to add the vinegar. The longer you wait to ad the vinegar – the hotter the sauce will be as vinegar stabilizes the production of the oils.
When you grind it, do so in a well-ventilated room. This stuff is as potent as very hot peppers. I like using a blender to whip it up and then leave it for a bit to get the heat I want. I wash the roots and remove skin/dirt before I grind as I’m a little fussy that way.
A Recipe For Horseradish
- One recipe calls for two to three tablespoons of vinegar (1 tablespoon equals 15ml) and
- a half teaspoon (1 teaspoon equals 5ml) of salt
- for every cup (1 cup equals 240ml) of horseradish.
- A friend told me she uses lemon juice instead of the vinegar.