All About Growing Horseradish-BENEFITS OF HORSERADISH

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Growing horseradish is possible in a wide range of climates because they are such tough, persistent plants. Horseradish roots are harvested from fall through winter, providing plenty of warmth to winter meals. This guide includes descriptions of the types of horseradish and tips for growing this flavor-packed root crop in your organic garden.

Cold hardy, a perennial crop, and easy to grow in sun or partial shade, horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) quickly makes itself at home in gardens. Horseradish roots are harvested in fall, winter or spring, and then peeled and ground before being enjoyed as a peppery condiment.

Growing horseradish is easy in Zones 4 to 7, where established horseradish plants require little care. In addition to growing horseradish roots to eat, you can use horseradish as a medicinal herb for clearing a stuffy nose. Horseradish tea is sometimes used as a preventive fungicide on fruits and other plants plagued by fungal diseases.

Types of Horseradish

Horseradish leaves vary in their broadness. Older strains of common horseradish have leaves that are up to 10 inches across, whereas “bohemian” strains have narrower leaves. The latter is the type of horseradish that is commercially grown, so you are probably growing horseradish with Czechoslovakian heritage if you plant horseradish roots purchased at the store. The ‘Maliner Kren’ variety is of this type.

How to Plant Horseradish

Planting horseradish is best done is spring, whether you begin with crowns from a nursery, or a root from the supermarket. Most households harvest enough horseradish for their needs from two or three plants.

Set out roots or crowns a few weeks before your last frost date, in any fertile, well-drained soil. Horseradish grows best in moist, silty soils like those found in river bottomland, but enriched clay or sandy loam with a near neutral pH is acceptable. Situate horseradish roots diagonally in the soil, with the slanted end down and the flat end up. 

For recommended planting dates for your local climate — and to design your garden beds — try our Vegetable Garden Planner.

RELATED-IF YOU HAVE THIS PLANT IN YOUR HOUSE, YOU WILL NEVER SEE MICE, SPIDERS AND OTHER INSECTS AGAIN!

Growing Horseradish

Allow upright horseradish plants a full season to establish themselves in the garden. The long, strap-like leaves often grow 3 to 4 feet tall; they should not be fed to livestock or people, but make good compost fodder. Remove weeds that crowd the young plants. Growing horseradish plants develop most of their storage roots in early fall, so they should not be allowed to run dry in late summer.

Overwintered horseradish plants may send up spikes of white flowers in late spring. Clip off the seed heads before they become fully mature, because horseradish easily becomes weedy.

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Harvesting and Storage

Your horseradish harvest should commence in late fall, after several frosts have damaged the leaves. Use a digging fork to loosen the soil on two sides of the plant, gathering up broken pieces of root as you dig. Then loosen the soil on the other side of the plant before attempting to pull it. Set aside or replant root pieces the size of a pencil, and store others in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Harvesting horseradish can continue into winter provided the ground is not frozen — or, you can dig the roots first thing in spring. Between diggings, keep fresh horseradish roots in the fridge, ready to use.

To prepare fresh horseradish for eating, peel a root and cut it into small pieces, then puree in a food processor with just enough water for chopping. Add a few pinches of salt and a teaspoon or two of white vinegar, and puree until only slightly lumpy. Place in a small clean jar, and add more vinegar if needed to cover the horseradish. Use within two weeks by mixing with mayo or sour cream to make horseradish sauce.

Propagating Horseradish

Horseradish roots often wander several feet from the mother plant, and sprout new plants from root buds. These can be dug and replanted in any season, or you can simply replant 3-inch pieces of horseradish root. Horseradish should be grown near the outer edge of the garden in a permanent patch, because it is difficult to eradicate once established. Even small pieces of horseradish root left behind in the soil after harvesting will grow into new plants.

BENEFITS OF HORSERADISH

Horseradish is a root that is grated or ground to make an interesting condiment. It provides a pungent, spicy flavor to sandwiches and other dishes, and has been used for thousands of years in traditional herbal medicine as a remedy for respiratory and urinary problems.

Low in Calories, Fat & Carbs, Yet Rich in Vitamins & Minerals

Horseradish is naturally low in calories, with only 7 calories, 1.7g of carbs, and essentially no fat per tablespoon. Horseradish, may be low in calories and fat, but each tablespoon provides  several important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Horseradish is also relatively rich in vitamin C, and also provides small amounts of the B vitamins. In addition to these vitamins and minerals, horseradish also contains several phytochemicals, which are responsible for its medicinal properties.


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Digestive Health

Horseradish is considered a potent gastric stimulant, meaning it is known to help stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion by helping in the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Health Properties

Horseradish is related to mustard and contains mustard oil, along with other natural compounds called glucosinolates, which are chemicals responsible for the pungent smell, which is only released after the root is grated or crushed. Most of the medicinal properties of horseradish are likely related to its mustard oil, which can block growth of several disease-causing bacteria, including those that may cause sinus and urinary tract infections. In Germany, horseradish has been approved along with prescription drugs, for treatment of urinary tract infections. You can also use it topically to increase blood flow and relieve chest and sinus congestion for patients with respiratory disorders, like you would Vick’s Vapo Rub.

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Cancer Prevention

The glucosinolates I mentioned above also have cancer-fighting properties reports a study done by the University of Illinois. The university found that these compounds may help your liver detoxify cancer-causing chemicals and slow the growth of cancerous tumors. In a review of glucosinolates, it was stated that these compounds change cellular activity, thus stopping cancer cells from dividing and causing them to die in laboratory experiments. Horseradish also works as a powerful antioxidant because it contains a good amount of vitamin C. This helps reduce the effects of free radical damage in the body, which is another known cause of cancer. It boosts the immune system and helps fight against flu, the cold and other bacterial and viral infections. Horseradish juice has also been known to help clear the sinuses and ease sinus discomfort. It can also be an effective treatment for sinusitis.


Antibiotic & Antibacterial

It is proven that Horseradish is effective against infection, bacteria and fungi. It is particularly useful in destroying bacteria that causes bronchitis and urinary tract infections.

Pain Relief

When used topically, horseradish is known to soothe muscle pain and joint discomfort. It has also been proven effective against headaches. It helps stimulate blood flow to the skin’s surface and to inflamed areas.

Other Possible Uses

  • Fluid Retention (Edema)
  • Gout
  • Gallbladder Disorders
  • Sciatic Nerve Pain
  • Colic
  • Intestinal Worms in Children.

How To Use

You can buy Horseradish at grocery stores as a fresh root, which you may grate or dice. Dried horseradish root is also available from most health food stores. Although no recommended dose has been established, the traditional amount for a cold or respiratory infection is 20g daily, taken internally. Your can also prepare a horseradish infusion by steeping about 2g of fresh root in 1 cup of boiling water for five minutes. The infusion can be consumed several times daily.

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