Horseradish, that glorious tangy, spicy, white stuff that clears your sinuses and makes a roast beef sandwich glorious. My grandma asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted a horseradish plant to go in the new garden. It was taking over part of her garden, and she wanted it out. As the hubby and I love almost any overly strong or spicy flavor, I accepted. I just had to go pick it up from her house while she was on vacation. She would leave it in a pot by her front door.
The next day something came up, and I wasn’t able to go get it.
The next two days found me always on the other side of town and nowhere near her house.
And then I just forgot all about it and so my healthy, new horseradish plant sat with no water for over a week.
The day before my grandparents got home, I frantically remembered and ran to see what was left of it. It looked pretty bad. The green stalks and leaf (one!) were turning brown. This plant did not look like it was among the living.
But I took it home to my front porch, dumped some water in the pot, and hoped for the best.
Two days later, I came home from work to discover the husky apparently liked the taste of the leaf and decided to pull the whole plant out of the pot and drag it out to the yard. I let the husky know exactly how I felt about him getting into my plants.
Back into the pot it went with some new dirt and more water, but this time, in the house.
Two weeks later, my horseradish plant has several new leaves and looks wonderful. Apparently you cannot kill horseradish! This is my kind of plant!
Horseradish is part a perennial from the same family of mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage. Unless you cut or grate it, it has almost no smell. Once cut, much like onions, the plant produces a “mustard oil” which irritates the sinuses and eyes. When I was little, I remember having a stuffy nose and taking one whiff of prepared horseradish to clear me up. Once used for medicinal purposes, the Germans and Scandinavians discovered it’s great pairing with meat as a condiment.
This perennial, like I said, is hard to kill. It can be grown in hardiness zones two through nine! To use the root for your own homemade condiment, after the first frost has killed the leaves, dig up the root and divide it, harvesting the main root, and replanting the offshoots for next year. Peel and grate the root and mix it with vinegar for “prepared horseradish,” much like you can buy in the store. See the full recipe here.
For more growing tips and a recipe for preparing your own condiment, check out Organic Gardening here!
This will last in your fridge for several months, although the color will darken from the original creamy-beige color. Horseradish is full of antibacterial properties and lots of vitamin C, so slather it on and enjoy! I can’t wait to make mine!