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Valerie BoeseHorseradish has been around for centuries, and both roots and leaves have been used for medicinal purposes. Its name has nothing to do with horses or radishes; it is a root that is in the same family as mustard and broccoli. It has good culinary uses and is used as condiment with meats and seafood. The root has a good amount of vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for your dinner plate. Growing and preparing fresh will give you the best-tasting horseradish you can imagine.

Horseradish is one of the easiest edible perennial plants to grow. It thrives in almost any condition; it is cold hardy to Zone 3. It will grow for many years in the same location; it is easy to plant, easy to grow and easy to maintain. Planting six to 10 roots will spread into a small patch in two to three years. An established patch will keep itself weed free. It goes dormant in fall, so there is no need to cut it back, and, because it is a perennial, it will grow back in the spring. Once you plant it, you will always have it.

Best time to plant horseradish is in the spring, after the last frost date. Choose a full-sun location that you plan not to disturb. Plant about eight to 10 roots or plants, follow the planting instructions. This should give you about a 3-foot-by-4-foot patch in two to three years. The plants will grow 1- to 2-foot-tall leaves, about 4 inches wide with long roots. The roots in the ground are what you will dig to eat. Once your patch is established, you can dig up your first roots. I recommend you dig no more than one third of the patch, leaving the rest to spread back for next year’s crop. Give your neighbor a few roots to plant, too. It starts easy from root cuttings and your neighbor will love you for it.  

Preparing horseradish is easy, too. Dig desired roots from the soil. Knock off the dirt, rinse with water. Peel them with a potato peeler and cut roots up into 1-x-2-inch size cubes. 

Horseradish roots dug from garden
Horseradish roots dug from garden

Peeled Horseradish
Peeled Horseradish

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