Horseradish is a botanical superhero, able to clear sinuses, boost the flavor of sauces and provide lush vegetation in a single bound. Its versatility and underappreciated ubiquity make horseradish a perfect candidate for the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year. Horseradish was well-known to the Egyptians by 1500 b.c. Early Europeans primarily used horseradish as a medicine. For centuries, the root was rubbed on sore joints to relieve rheumatism, and pressed upon foreheads – a practice that actually may have helped alleviate sinus pain. By the Renaissance, the root of horseradish was used as a savory meat relish in Germany, and its popularity spread from there.
Try some new things with horseradish this year.
Horseradish – Monograph
Name- Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
Family- Cruciferae (mustard)
Synonyms – (Mountain radish)
Description- A herbaceous perennial with large strap-like leaves to 3 feet tall. Flowers are an attractive, creamy, fragrant white. Invasive, fleshy root is high in vitamin C and potassium. One of its first uses was as a medicine, when it was soaked in vine-gar and used to remove freckles.
Cultivation- Likes a rich soil in the full sun. Feed with compost and well aged manure for large roots. Difficult to eradicate once planted so put in area where it is to stay; even a small piece of the root will start a new bed of horseradish.
Propagation- Slow growing from seed; usually root cuttings are taken.
Parts Used- Leaf and roots
Harvest- Leaf in early spring, use fresh; root in fall after a hard frost.
Uses- Culinary: Leaves can be eaten raw in salads or boiled as vegetable greens. The root is preserved in vinegar and used as a condiment to accompany various dishes.
Medicinal: Horseradish is a stimulant and a diuretic.
Preservation- Harvest the root in the late fall after a hard frost. Wash dirt off and peel the hard outer skin. Cut in to small pieces with a grinder or blender. Pack in sterilized canning jars and pour vinegar over it (just to cover) Seal with a cover and refrigerate once seal is broken.