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Horseradish is a hardy perennial in the brassica family, grown for its spicy, strongly flavored root. While the main root is ... more »
Horseradish is a hardy perennial in the brassica family, grown for its spicy, strongly flavored root. While the main root is harvested side roots left behind continue to grow. Horseradish can become invasive so pick a planting location carefully, or plant in a container. You can also bury a large container around the plant in the ground to keep it corraled. It is cultivated mainly for its white taproot. Collinsville IL is the self-proclaimed Horseradish Capital of the World, producing 605 of the world's commercially grown horseradish. (less)
Horseradish is stared from root cuttings, of pieces of root from existing plants. Root cuttings should be planted as early as possible in the spring. Dig a hole a deep as the length of root you are planting. Holding the root upright or at a slight angle no more than 45 degrees bury it up to its crown in soil, so that the top is just peeking out. Water well, plants require no fertilizer and very little care. The root will multiply in the soil, harvest the main root and allow the side roots to continue growing. Wait until plants have been hit with frost to harvest the first time, as its said this gives them their flavor.
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Its root is used as a condiment on meat in Germany Scandinavia and Britain and was widely used in N. American during the Colonial Period. Root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages.Grated root with vinegar is a popular condiment in the UK. Sweetened horseradish and vinegar is used in Slavic and Jewish culinary traditions to season gefilte fish. It has diuretic properties and roots can treat urinary tract infections, various respiratory diseases and ingrown toenails.
It needs a long growing season and with winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy. Old roots not dug in the Fall become woody and are no longer culinarily useful. Like other cabbage family members, the Velvety green cabbageworm caterpillars (with faint yellow stripes lenghtwise) and its butterfly (white with black spokes on the forewing) overwinter in the plants and create 3 to 5 generations a year. The caterpillars chew large, ragged holes in the leaves leaving the large veins intact.