Plant for the Apple trees and potatoes, for the bitter herb, and maybe for the occasional hay fever outbreak!
Hardy from Zones 3-9. Up to 2 feet tall and wide. Self-fertile.
Horseradish is a hardy tenacious perennial brassica, flowering white in the heat of summer to match its own flavorful heat. Horseradish is so-named because it was thought of as a harsh kind of radish. It may be harsh, but it gives us calories, vitamin C, and dietary fiber! We planted Horseradish around Apple trees because it prevents brown rot and other fungal diseases. The cut leaves are a good addition to compost teas, but the growing plant also deters potato eelworm! The large white roots easily grow into more plants when cut, so pay attention where you plant it. Too much nitrogen makes Horseradish top heavy, but it likes well-drained rich soil so its roots can thicken and spread.
The roots are the source of Horseradish’s longstanding popularity. The Oracle at Delphi told the god Apollo that Horseradish was worth its weight in gold, and Cato wrote about its agricultural qualities. European recipes use the herb’s grated roots in condiments and sauces for its hot mustard flavor, a regular in Ukrainian, Croatian, and Slovenian soups, and also in some Italian regions where it’s known as Strong Beard. Southern German wedding celebrations include Horseradish as a sauce with cooked beef and a cooling Lingonberry dip to balance the heat. Japanese wasabi is now often made with Horseradish because the true Wasabi plant is becoming rare. Ashkenazi Jewish recipes use Horseradish with Beetroot served with gefilte fish, and it’s a staple bitter herb in European practices of Easter and the Jewish spring festival of Pesach. You can even find Horseradish as an ingredient in Bloody Mary cocktails, for a little added kick.
Like most good foods, Horseradish is also a medicine. As a stimulant herb, it treats bacterial infections and aids digestion (though avoid it if you have stomach ulcers and thyroid issues), and infusions are used for colds, fevers, flus, and for respiratory and urinary tract infections. Grate the root for relishes, a sandwich to cure hay fever, or turn those roots into a poultice to treat infected wounds. High-heat cooking destroys the volatile oils, so let the flavor provide the high heat!
We propagate our Horseradish from root cuttings.