Horseradish is a Brassica grown for its pungent, spicy root stock. Horseradish root stock plants set very few viable seeds, so it is simpler to grow it from bare root sections. It is widely enjoyed in Eastern Europe in everything from soups to salads, and its flavour pairs well with both beets and red meat. Plants are hardy to Zone 3, and grow to around 1.5m (5′) tall. When the leaves die back each fall, the roots are lifted. The main root is harvested, and one or more of the side roots are replanted for next year’s crop. If horseradish roots are left in the ground, the plants can spread vigorously, so annual harvesting is best.
Plant horseradish root stock in spring or fall in full sun to part shade, in any soil that is not permanently waterlogged. Loosen the soil to a depth of 30cm (12″), and dig in one shovelful of fully rotted compost. Plant each segment at a 45° angle, being sure that the narrowest end is pointing down. Aim to keep the top of the segment 5cm (2″) below the surface of the soil. This is a very easy plant to grow. Keep the plants looking healthy by watering in hot weather, and maybe adding some mulch to conserve water in the soil. Harvest the roots after the tops die back in autumn. Grated or cut roots will discolour and become bitter if not used right away, or preserved in vinegar. Fresh horseradish has a remarkably bright, strong, intense flavour.
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