Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Growing Horseradish -- Success in The Desert Southwest

Howdy Folks,

I finished harvesting the horseradish on June 30th.

In reading about horseradish growing in the usual areas (not the desert) this is not only not the time to harvest the root, but also that the root may not be nearly as "beam my up Scott" hot and pungent as usual.

However, I was very pleased not only with the healthy growth on the plants, but also the resulting grated product.

To grow your own horseradish in the desert southwest, you need to reverse the growth pattern, because the roots will not survive our summer heat. Plant in the fall beginning October 1st and harvest in the spring in Later May or early June. One of the plants I pulled was just starting to flower.

I will keep about 10 healthy roots in my refrigerator crisper drawer to replant in the fall. I give the top of each root a straight cut, and an angle cut at the bottom to keep it straight in my mind which is which. I wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and place in a zip lock bag and store in the crisper drawer.

Following general directions for grating I peel the roots, cut them in small dice, place with ice water in a blender or bullet blender and process to the thickness I want. I wait about 5+ minutes and add vinegar and this time I will remember to add salt (although the first batch I did in early June was great without it). 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of grated root.

I am really pleased to be able to grow yet another food my grandmother used and also to find a way for the gardeners of edibles to more fully expand their gardening and eating pleasures in the Desert Southwest. I also found the plant very attractive with it's large leaves, somewhat resembling many large leaved ornamentals.


Horseradish, like its mustard relative, goes with so many foods. Add some to mashed potatoes, in salad dressing, add to a dip for a little kick, some chefs shave the fresh root -- I think a little very finely shaved root in cole slaw would be awesome. Fun stuff and it is a good source of some vitamins and minerals.

If you are not familiar with Gernot Katzer, he has the most incredible site for information on (mostly) culinary herbs and spices. Check out his page on horseradish

Have a grate (great!) day,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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