Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Horseradish...Why you should grow it in your landscape

Horseradish is a perennial plant whose root is tuberous and is considered a vegetable. Sometimes it is also referred to as a spice.

  If horseradish is unfamiliar to you, you may have inadvertently tasted it.  The horsey part of Arby's Horsey Sauce is horseradish.  I liken it to a milder form of wasabi which is in the same family as horseradish and is sometimes referred to as Japanese horseradish.  

You will find horseradish root in the fresh produce section at your grocery store.  Horseradish sauce can be found in the condiment section and is very tasty on sandwiches.

The flowers last roughly 2 weeks and bloom in late spring/early summer.  The leaves are 24-30 inches tall and remind me of ferns. Horseradish can easily be planted in the back of a sunny flower bed where it would make a nice green back drop for colorful flowers. 
The above photo is of my horseradish patch just two days ago.  It started with 5 plants that I purchased at the garden center for $1.99 each.  They were small plants in 3x3 inch containers.  
I could leave the clean up until spring but I have found that the more I clean up in the fall, the less stressful the clean up is in the spring when I am busy trying to pick up all the branches that have fallen from winter storm damage.  
I just cut the leaves back to about 1 inch above the tuber (root).  Fall is also the correct time to harvest the root but I really don't need any right now.
Another reason for cutting the leaves back in the fall is that I can see and pull out any weeds that were growing under the leaf canopy of the plant.
My horseradish plants grow under my Asian pear trees and I also like to rake out any rotting fruit that may have fallen from the trees.

I do not fertilize my horseradish plants.  The only water they receive is rain, unless we are experiencing a drought.  

The area where I planted the horseradish and Asian pear trees was amended with peat moss and composted manure before planting.  You can see in some of the photos how dark the soil is from those initial additions to the soil.  I chose this method because all the vegetation in this plot is edible.  Not only do I have pears and horseradish growing here but there is also onion chives and thyme.  Sometimes I will add a few annual lemon grass plants.  Lemon grass is great in chicken noodle soup or added to fish when we cook it on the grill in a foil packet with green onion and a small amount of Italian or herb dressing.

We love freshly grated horseradish mixed with mayonnaise on roast beef, prime rib, and steaks.  You will need to grate the horseradish tuber outside, never inside your house.  Also, always wear eye protection.  Think of this as dicing onions times 10. 

The rule of thumb with horseradish is a little goes a long way.  Horseradish can clear a stuffy sinus in seconds.  My nose runs and my eyes water when I use horseradish as a condiment.  But I don't mind because it tastes sooooo good.

Horseradish is a perfect addition to any edible landscape.  You have lovely tall green foliage all summer and tall, white, spikey  flowers in late May/early June, and you have a delicious condiment for meats.  Also, don't forget that horseradish is an ingredient in shrimp cocktail sauce. 

This winter I am going to search for a few wasabi plants to add to my  edible landscape in the spring.  

Do you like horseradish and what is your favorite way of using it?

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