Horseradish is a perennial herb (it lasts for several years) originating from southeast Europe. Its tough twisted root is used in cooking to make horseradish sauce, a tangy and peppery sauce used to accompany fish and roast meat.
Horseradish is a voracious grower and has a tendency to take over the garden. It grows well in full sun or partial shade, and should be grown in a permanent spot. It will also grow well in a deep container (this can be advantage as it prevents the herb from spreading).
How to Grow Horseradish
Horseradish is best grown from a single piece of root. Plant the root in early spring or in autumn, in a well-prepared spot that’s free from weeds. Dig a hole 30cm deep and mix in some organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Place the root at a 45-degree angle in the hole and cover with soil, watering well.
How to Care for Horseradish
After a few weeks, shoots and leaves will start to emerge from the soil. Keep the soil moist and free from weeds. Once the plant has developed large leaves it shouldn’t need much attention. The leaves will block light from weeds and suppress their growth; the root should be deep enough to absorb water from deep below the soil’s surface. However if conditions to get very dry, a good drink will promote strong growth.
Horseradish is ready to harvest in autumn, but it is said that its taste is more intense if you wait until after the first frost before harvesting the root. Simply dig up the root and remove it from the ground. It should be similar in size and shape to a parsnip. Leave a small section of root in the ground to grow into a new plant the following year.
The root can be stored in a paper bag in the fridge for up to one week. If it is left for longer than one week the root will shrivel and the flavour diminishes.
To prepare the fresh horseradish root, simply wash the soil off, then peel and grate it. The pungent fumes from horseradish can cause irritation to the eyes so take care to protect them from the fumes whilst preparing the root.
Creamed horseradish is delicious with roast meat, especially beef. It can also accompany fish such as tuna. Add the raw grated pieces to cream and a little vinegar and store in a sterile airtight jar.
Hot horseradish sauce is made from mixing horseradish root with vegetable oil. It has a very strong flavour and is thicker in consistency than creamed horseradish sauce. It goes well with venison and can be added to mashed potato to give it a kick.
Horseradish is a delicious herb and can be grated and made into a delicious cream or hot sauce that can be added to meat or fish dishes. It is easy to grow and is best harvested in autumn after the first frost, and eaten fresh.