Harvesting And Preparing Horseradish

If you like strong flavors, horseradish is one of the healthiest and most versatile perennial herbs to grow. The roots are easy to grow and prepare, and when harvested fresh from the garden, pack a much larger punch than the varieties found in grocery stores.

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grating horseradish

Tips for Growing

Horseradish is a perennial member of the mustard family, cultivated for its fleshy, pungent white roots. It prefers to grow in full sun to partial shade and will tolerate almost any soil. Seldom grown from seed, root cuttings are set in the ground in early spring (March or April) and ready for harvest by fall.

Tips for Harvesting

How to Prepare the Roots

Making prepared horseradish consists of 5 basic steps:

  1. Wash and peel the roots.

  2. Chop the roots into small pieces.

  3. Add the pieces to a blender, along with a few ice cubes and a small amount of cold water (just enough to cover the blades).

  4. Puree roots to desired consistency.

  5. When the roots reach the desired consistency, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of grated horseradish (see below for timing).

Adding Vinegar: Timing is Everything

Horseradish root does not give off a strong taste and aroma until it is grated or ground. Only after the tissues come into contact with oxygen are the volatile compounds, which develop the flavor, released.

Adding distilled vinegar to the freshly grated root stops the chemical process and allows you to control the "heat" of the final product. For milder horseradish, add vinegar to the root as you puree them. For a stronger flavor, puree the root first and wait a few minutes before adding vinegar.

Additional preparation tips:

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.

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In This Article
Horseradish root against white background
Harvesting Horseradish
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Home and Garden Gardening PerennialsMay 12, 2011
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