Horseradish, Amorica rusticana, has been designated Herb of the Year for 2011. This plant has its origins in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia where it has been grown and valued as a culinary herb for approximately 2000 years. Many diverse cultures have used it for a dietary and/or a religious staple.
Horseradish thrives in full sun but will tolerate partial shade and prefers moist, rich, loose soil. It has green leaves which grow 12-18 inches long and have a fine toothed edge. A flower spike is produced with a terminal of relatively insignificant white flowers. The horseradish root is the edible part of the plant. The root has yellowish brown skin, grows about one foot long, one or more inches in diameter, and has a gnarly appearance.
To propagate horseradish, prepare crowns by cutting the leaves off of a 3-4 inch root and planting them at soil level. Or prepare a root cutting 6-9” in length with the small end cut on the diagonal. Plant the prepared cutting vertically with the large end 2-3” below the soil level. Keep the soil evenly moist (dry soil allows horseradish to become woody). Plants grown from cuttings can be harvested after two years growth.
Harvest horseradish in the late fall just before the ground freezes. Do not dig up the entire root when harvesting. The remaining root will grow and be ready for harvest the following year.
Horseradish root is known for its pungent flavor. It isbest used fresh and should be peeled before it is used. Grated, shredded, sauced or in vinegar, its root is added to food to enhance flavor or is served separately as a condiment.
Medicinally, it has been used to stimulate the appetite, aid in digestion, increase circulation, and promote hair growth.
Horseradish Cream (Germany)
- ½ Cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp prepared mustard
- ¼ Cup dairy sour cream
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated Horseradish
Beat heavy cream until stiff. Stir in sour cream. Add other ingredients and refrigerate. Maybe served with Beef or used as a dressing with sugar added to taste.
- 1 small white onion, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Cup light cream
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ Cup freshly grated Horseradish
Brown onion lightly in butter on medium heat. Add cream and heat just until boiling. Beat egg yolks and, while still beating, slowly add them to the cream and onion mixture. Add the horseradish and continue cooking over low heat. Stir constantly until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot on beef, fish or game. Makes 1 Cup.
Article written by Lynne Griffin, WRHS Member
Village Herb Shop, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022, www.villageherbshop.com
The Complete Vegetable Gardener’s Sourcebook,
Duane Newcomb and Karen Newcomb, 1989
Best recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, and Jars
Ceil Dyer, 1979.
The Herb Society of America, Essential Guide to HORSERADISH
Horseradish Information Council, http:www.horseradish.org
The Herb Companion, March 2011 Issue
Horseradish, 2011 Herb of the Year by Susan Belsinger