How to Grow, Harvest and Prepare Horseradish

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Grated horseradish root

People have been grinding the peppery roots of horseradish into a condiment for more than 3,000 years. This tradition should be kept by more gardeners, because few plants are as easy to grow as horseradish (Amoracia rusticiana). A distant cabbage cousin, horseradish is a hardy perennial capable of surviving winter temperatures to -20°F (-28°C).

But no plant is perfect, and horseradish is a hopelessly aggressive spreader. However, as long as you never forget its invasive nature, horseradish can be a happy garden resident. Placed at the end of a row, a clump of horseradish makes a useful barrier to weeds and foot traffic.

You can make a new planting from horseradish roots purchased from a nursery, or simply use healthy roots from the produce market. Planted in fall or late winter, horseradish roots sprout leaves in spring. Plants need at least one season, and preferably two, before they are ready to dig. Established plants often develop sprays of white summer flowers, which should be removed to keep plants from wasting energy, and to prevent unwanted reseeding. Horseradish always returns the next year no matter how carefully you harvest, so you will have plenty of plants to dig and move to a new spot in spring. Weedy seedlings would only be a nuisance.

How to Harvest Horseradish

Cool soil promotes the formation of compounds that give horseradish roots their pungency, so it's best to harvest horseradish in fall, winter, and early spring. I'm ready to dig a plant or two by mid autumn, mostly to have the warming effects of horseradish on the autumn table. I dig more horseradish in late autumn, just before the ground starts to freeze. I harvest horseradish roots again in spring, when I finish digging up older plants and dig out or move new plants that appear in bad places.

A horseradish root
A horseradish root

I suggest using a digging fork to harvest horseradish, and to begin by loosening the soil in a wide circle around the plant. Next, poke around with your fingers to locate the direction in which the taproot has grown. Rather than going straight down, the main horseradish root will be found running nearly horizontal in an unpredictable direction. Follow this root with your digging fork, gently excavating surrounding soil. This is the best way to make sure you get the largest roots, which easily break off if you pull plants rather than digging them out.

The easiest horseradish roots to work with are the same diameter as your fingers -- some thumb and some pinkie size, but you get the idea. I wash off the roots, pat them dry, and place them in a plastic bag or other airtight container in the refrigerator. Unpeeled horseradish gives off hardly any aroma, and will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

How to Make Prepared Horseradish

The compounds in horseradish are activated by a few minutes of exposure to air, but destroyed by high heat. There are many ways to preserve horseradish, but the most versatile is to make "prepared horseradish," which can then be added to other ingredients to form various horseradish sauces. Add a teaspoon of prepared horseradish to a half cup of ketchup and you have shrimp cocktail sauce. Add prepared horseradish to sour cream and you have a creamy horseradish sauce for meats, potatoes, or roasted vegetables. Enrich a sweet mayonnaise with prepared horseradish and you have Arby's Horsey Sauce, familiar to most Americans. The list could go on, but I must note that coarse mustard kicked with prepared horseradish is a favorite at my house.

Horseradish khren
Horseradish Khren

Many sources suggest using a food processor to pulverize peeled horseradish root, but in my experience this produces a lumpy puree, thick with little shreds of woody root. The shreds are acceptable in Russian khren, a beet/horseradish condiment served with meat or potatoes, but to get a smooth consistency for creamy horseradish sauces you will need a Microplane zester/grater, which shaves horseradish root into tiny threads. Grating horseradish root with a Microplane grater is slow work, but sometimes the slow way is the best way.

Before I start grating , I clean a small jar and stir together 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and a quarter teaspoon each of sugar and salt. This is the brine for the prepared horseradish.

Working outdoors where the fumes won't burn your eyes, grate peeled roots as finely as possible. As the flesh is exposed to air, enzymes cause substances in the roots to change to spicy mustard oil. This process stops when the grated root is submerged in vinegar. For this reason, it's best to pause every three to four minutes to move the little mountains of shaved horseradish root into the brine mixture. Mix up more brine if needed to cover the grated horseradish with liquid.

Prepared horseradish will keep in the refrigerator for a month, but it seldom lasts that long in my house. Especially in autumn, the warming effects of horseradish linger long after you enjoy a roasted winter squash slathered in creamy horseradish sauce, or a lively dollop of horseradish mayo on your favorite hot sandwich.

By Barbara Pleasant

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Show Comments


"It took a while for me to figure out our new home had horseradish growing in a patch of landscaping. Thank you for the timely article"
Kelly on Saturday 1 October 2011
"Very useful article. We bought a horseradish plant to go at the pinnacle of our herb spiral in our community garden in London UK. It is very statuesque and looks amazing but has rather taken over now! "
M Simmons on Sunday 2 October 2011
"I can remember when i helped my godmother to make horseradish sauce in her kitchen when i was about 5yrs old and we were useing and old meat mincer and i bent down to smell the substance and i will never forget how powerful this mixture took my breath away and made me cry with the shock of it's power."
peter james on Friday 7 October 2011
"I bought a bunch of longish, red on the outside, radishes from my farmers market- they said it was horse radish! It looked like a long red radish but they claimed it was horse radish! It tastes like a radish- not very strong. What are they talking about? Nothing woody about the ones I bought. Are there other radishes called 'horse' radish?"
Eileen on Friday 7 October 2011
"It's possible that forage and/or daikon radishes might be called horse radishes because they are sometimes grown for livestock. When still young, they taste like regular radishes. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 7 October 2011
"It is ok to grown it in a barrel? Would that help controll it somewhat?"
Dawn on Wednesday 28 December 2011
"Dawn, you would probably get some skinny roots from a barrel, and the foliage makes a nice upright feature. You could surround a single horseradish plant with shallow-rooted leafy greens or herbs like parsley and cilantro. It could work..."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 28 December 2011
"A very fine article indeed, thank you Barbara. I'm not exactly ignorant on horseradish but found it very useful. A couple of points I'd make- Like anything else it will grow differently depending on soil. If you have sandy soil it will be a struggle and requires more than average watering. On lighter soils the roots will grow vertically. It will grow in a barrel very well:-) Naturally it will be found growing on the tops of ditches in good slightly clay loams, in cool climates, (though it will grow in hot areas). In less than optimum conditions it will not be as hot. Although horseradish loses its piquancy very quickly when cooked, it still retains flavour. I poach a good quality fish in white wine, remove before finishing in a warm oven add cream to the wine and reduce to make a sauce. I add the horseradish at the last and pour over the fish. Not enough experimenting has been done using the leaves, they have a milder but typicaly horseradish flavour and would be very convenient to use. I keep meaning to but still haven't of course :-) Go well. "
Graham Edwards on Monday 28 May 2012
"Our horseradish grew lots of tiny roots all over the place so I guess we will be invaded next year! I will be planting the next ones in very large pots as they look great. We have enjoyed the baby leaves mixed in salads and I am about to try gratting the roots. Thank you for all the info :))"
Vanina Cooper on Sunday 24 June 2012
"can you please advise me on where to purchase Horseradish seeds, not roots. Yours faithfully C Tyler"
C Tyler on Saturday 28 July 2012
"We bought ours on Ebay. We didn't know they had to be contained and although I was careful when diging them up, we have just realised that new shoots have come out so the invasion is on it's way lol"
Vanina Cooper on Monday 30 July 2012
"I wish I had known this before I bought my horseradish plant. Next year my horseradish and mint can battle, because I can never get rid of my mint either."
Vivika on Wednesday 1 August 2012
"The leaves of my plants look very poorly and sad should l cut them off ?"
Ruth on Sunday 4 November 2012
"I planted horseradish root in spring this year can l harvest it this winter or should l leave it till next year ? "
Ruth on Sunday 4 November 2012
"It is normal for horseradish to look tired and tattered at the end of the season. You can dig the plant, harvest a few pieces of root, then set the crown back in the ground. You won't get all the root pieces, so some will regrow on their own next year along with the replanted crown. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 4 November 2012
"I plant horseradish between my potatoes and my son's beer hops. My grandfather said that most dirt bugs do not like them. Worked for me the last 40+ years. Excellent to add to anything, even the beef jerky i make. Get your root from the organic food store and bury it. Thanks"
Colin on Monday 5 November 2012
"Excellent comments. Thank you to all. We are learning from all your posts to grow our roots properly. Our concern is harvesting too deeply, not leaving enough for re-gen."
Bob and Linda on Saturday 10 November 2012
"I just dug up a piece of horseradish root to make a horseradish sauce for PassoverSeder tonight. Our bed of plants is about 10 years old and make an interesting hedge along the driveway. The leaves are great to add sparingly to salad in the spring- very peppery and the horseradish flowers smell amazing in the late spring. I was told that deer do like them- so it helps to keep the deer away. Very informative article!"
Dorothy H. on Monday 25 March 2013
"I hope I can make this posting. Sometimes blogs are a pain in the rear. I got my horseradish roots free from someone on a local freecycle group. Year 3-5 now and my multiple plants are a welcome (very welcome) to my front yard veg garden. I live in a colder climate, zone 5 ,with unknown freezes, storms, etc. Horseradish rules! Just today, April 3 2012, I went out and dug out part of a root to can some beet horseradish sauce. I peeled and shredded the horseradish. Wish I had beets growing but I don't as I got the lazy. I'll buy from market and have some darn good sauce for my beef. "
natalie on Thursday 4 April 2013
"I have grown horseradish in pots for the past 5 years and re-pot and harvest every spring and autumn - Southern hemisphere - seaside - moderate winters but intense summers, need lots of water. I retain the crown and divide up the smaller plants with friends etc. Only one growing issue - the cabbage butterflies move in and decimate the foliage in a flash. Use small new leaves in a salad for added zing. Grate the finger sized roots finely to add to beetroot, sour cream or mustard sauce recipes. Keeps well stored in the refrigerator in a jar with a dash of dry white vermouth to cover, but does lose a little of it's bite. Bon appetite!"
sparrow on Friday 5 April 2013
"Oddly enough, I have had three horseradish plants in my garden for three years now and while they have grown to be pretty good size,they have never spread beyond the original plants. Snails and slugs LOVE the leaves, but I have not yet dug them up for the roots. Hopefully they will not be too woody to use."
Roger on Tuesday 21 May 2013
"Wow so helpful ALL! Thanks for the info. My neighbor is offering me some of her horseradish plants. Hers are in the ground in a tire rim for about 10 years and now she has new sprouts all over the place. We had no idea what to do with them. Now we do :) Thanks again."
Adrienne Evans on Monday 27 May 2013
"After searching many pages of Google this was the first one to tell us what we wanted to know, What to do about the white flowers. Thank you very much."
Pat & glyn jones on Thursday 20 June 2013
"Great info and thanks. Now regarding yhe decimated leaves on sme plants, is that plant then useless for cullinary use that season or will the root be useable ?? Tony and June"
Tony Jowers on Wednesday 3 July 2013
"Tony, the roots will probably be fine, and in fact the plants may come back and produce new leaves. Horseradish are very tough plants!"
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 3 July 2013
"in my allotment it runs wild but thats ok because my chickens and geese eat it infact l never have eaten it so was looking for ideas especially for the leaves when l am brave l will try some leaves in salad. spent all afternoon looking for info on the horseraddish yours is the best many thanks "
mil lusk on Thursday 11 July 2013
"We just planted our horseradish last year. My mother-in-law always had it and don't think she ever used it. It is doing great! Glad to hear about the cutting the white flowers as I don't need it taking over in my garden. I will transplant it to a tire or barrel both good ideas. Can you freeze the sauce so you can have available whenever you need it and can you put in foodsaver bags in fridge for long term storage? Great article, thank you!"
Barbara on Friday 2 August 2013
"Horseradish roots last a long, long time in the fridge, so it's better to make a fresh batch of prepared horseradish than to make a lot and freeze it. When I dig up too many roots at once in late fall, I sometimes bury the harvested roots in a soft bed where I can find them when I need them during the winter months. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 2 August 2013
"I am relatively new to growing horseradish. Your article was such a help. You guys did a good job in explaining everything I needed to know."
Judy on Saturday 3 August 2013
"Someone told me to prevent the roots growing long and thin, plant a tile about a foot down to make the root grow thicker. I've tried planting them in a tub and hope that this will achieve the same result. If you like the taste of horseradish but don't like the heat, bake them in the oven for a little while before grating them."
Catherine on Saturday 10 August 2013
"Thank you so much. I did not know that I could add the leaves to salads..gonna have to sneak them in and watch the facial expressions like I have done with wild edibles (wood sorrel, lambs quarters and violets). Recently, I overheard my 24 yr old son say, "gotta warn ya, mom puts the strangest things in our salads...but they are tasty." LOL so this is going to be interesting. "
Anita Hayes on Thursday 5 September 2013
"I cut fine pieces of the root (across the fiber) and then shred it in a mixer with apple sauce. This delicious mixture lasts for years in the fridge and is ready to use with ribs and such. The roots I don't use I store in a box of slightly wet sandin cold and dark. They last easily over winter."
George Zboril on Sunday 22 September 2013
"I am a new and sporadic gardener and find your website and articles very helpful. Last spring I planted a horseradish, which I was going to dig up now, but having read your article I think I will leave it till next October. I used to use it with beetroot and with bechamel sauce for red meat. I love real horseradish and cannot wait to harvest mine! "
Majka Kozlowska on Wednesday 23 October 2013
"Hi All, I wanted to tell you that I have been processing horseradish sauce in a blender for the past few years. It comes out smooth and tasty. Everyone that tries it, loves it and gets a fresh batch every few months. I add: 1 very large root peeled and chopped up (about the size of a thumb nail). I also add 4 TB white vinegar, 2 TB fresh lemon juice, 1 t kosher salt and 1 or 2 TB of sour cream. Set the blender on chop at first, then puree. I never bother to go outside with this job, I do get some teary eyes from the aroma sometimes though. Next,I put it in nice bottles that I save from olives, peppers, etc. I remove the labels and spray all the lids with high gloss black spray paint. I have them in all of the smaller sizes, they are very useful. I have a handsome shelf in the kitchen that holds all my small jars with dried herbs, nuts, raisins soaking in bourbon, poppy and sesame seeds. You get the idea. I keep the HR sauce in the frig and it lasts for months when I make huge batches. If you like beets, add some fresh and slightly cooked to the mixture. Its great at Easter time with hard boiled eggs."
Cita on Wednesday 23 October 2013
"The leaves, no matter what size, are good to boil with swiss chard using 1 part HR leaves to 3 part SC leaves. The tastiest way to use those large leaves is wrap any meat you wish with them and put it on the outdoor grille; especially seafood. Takes gamey taste out of wild meats and leaves domestic meats with a mild seasoned flavor. Shrimp and Tilapia never tasted better. Removing up to half the leaves throughout the summer will not effect the root growth. "
Ric M on Monday 28 October 2013
"do you cut the horseradish leaves in late fall? ron in Vermont zone 4"
ron rkupp on Saturday 2 November 2013
"Ron, you can cut them if you like, but in your climate cold will kill the plants back to the ground with no help from you."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 15 November 2013
"The deer don't touch mine and they get desperate enough to eat the holly right next to the horseradish. Try cutting the root in rounds about 1/4" to 1/2" thick and roast with other winter root veg in olive oil or bacon fat. They retain a little of the pungency and get sort of sweetish. The early leaves are wonderful in salads or on sandwiches! That's an interesting idea from Ric M on using the large leaves."
Marty on Thursday 10 April 2014
"I planted horseradish this time last year April 2013 !! It is starting to come up now April 2014... Can I harvest some and replant roots now ?? "
Paul Levine on Sunday 20 April 2014
"Paul, I would wait until fall since this is a new plant. However, you can dig any plantlets that appear far from the mother clump where you don't want them. The thin root that connects a wanderer to the mother clump would be small but edible. This fall you should have several nice roots."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 21 April 2014
"been growing for two seasons now Im gonna prepare some. my Dad has gout iss there something to do with leaves?"
gfunk on Wednesday 6 August 2014
"Horseradish is an ancient remedy for gout, but there have been no studies to validate that it works. In my opinion, the leaves, including new ones, taste terrible but they make good mulch. Eating dark cherries or drinking tart cherry juice can help offset bouts of the most common form of gout. See"
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 7 August 2014
"I planted a small piece of root in the corner of my raised bed last winter. Apart from the leaves being eaten by caterpillars it is growing really well. My intention is to dig it up this autumn and plant it close to the stream in the garden. I don't want it to take over in the raised bed. Hope this is ok. I am in the South of England."
Frances on Friday 12 September 2014
"this is my first plant. digging up the end of october.can't wait to try all those tasty recipes. i hope i get a really hot one."
swamp on Friday 17 October 2014
"Our horseradish has sprouted about a 1/2 inch this spring. Can we still harvest it or is it to late? It has never been harvested and the patch is almost 5 years old. Thanks "
Dave F on Monday 13 April 2015
"Dave, you should have plenty of roots to harvest. Right now they will have okay heat because the soil is still cool, but I would not wait much longer. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 14 April 2015
"Someone mentioned what to do with the white flowers that form. I missed that comment. Please tell me what to do-clip them -save for seed ??? TIA"
Marian Grode on Sunday 10 May 2015
"Marian, watch for a few days in case the flowers are of interest to pollinators. Mine are not, so I am using them as cut flowers. Horseradish does an excellent job of propagating itself vegetatively, with new shoots on wandering roots, so saving seed is a waste of time."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 11 May 2015
"Thank you for your prompt reply"
Marian Grode on Monday 11 May 2015
"That was a great article thank you. I only planted my horseradish yesterday in a 'small' terracotta pot....which I'm now afraid will be too small. Oh, well, I guess I can always transfer into a larger pot as the plant gets bigger. Thanks once again for a very informative and well written article. Loved your readers comments also. I live in SW Australia."
Kerryn on Monday 18 May 2015
"I scrounged ten narrow but deep barrels from the Indian restaurant next door to my works.They are 45Ltr and were used for shipment of mango chutney. I have drilled small holes in the bottom for drainage and they are most excellent for growing horseradish.Nice and deep for the root growth but narrow enough so it doesn't cost a fortune to fill with good quality soil. This year I am using John Innes no2 and have re-planted roots from last years harvest which was my first season.I only grew 4 containers and wasn't happy with the amount I harvested.So ten this year should do the trick. I plan to harvest 5 in the autumn and the other five next march. I too noticed that I have flowers on the re-planted ones and have cut them back so the plants can concentrate their energy into the roots. Good luck to all you Horseradish growers/lovers!!"
Dave on Saturday 23 May 2015
"Good tips! Bought a horseradish from shop last week, to cook with, there were small buds at the top,I cut them off, added a root grower, planted and they're already shooting!, Will plant them out later on in the year, if I get enough I'll plant some on the roadside verge as well, to grow wild."
steve w on Monday 25 May 2015
"Great article, thanks! I planted horseradish for use in a pickle recipe. Can I harvest the horseradish in summer when the cukes are harvested? Any negative effects of this?"
Rich L on Sunday 31 May 2015
"Rich, you can use summer horseradish in pickling -- I have done it several times. It will infuse the pickles with flavor, but summer roots are not as pungent as those harvested when the soil is cold. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 1 June 2015
"Great article. I'm a newbie to horseradish root, having just planted some my neighbor gave me in late winter. This answered all my questions. Thank you!"
Diane on Monday 1 June 2015
"Hi, The leaves are mentioned as a good addition to salads, can the flowers be eaten as well?"
Steve w on Thursday 4 June 2015
"I would think the flowers would be edible. My personal opinion is that the leaves should be left to do their work in the sun."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 4 June 2015
" Part of my Garden has been overgrown with Horse Radish. How do I get rid of it? Digging up all the roots?"
Rod Schloesser on Thursday 11 June 2015
"Rod, you should expect to dig once to get the horseradish out, and then you will need to dig out survivors for another couple of years. If you keep the space in fast-growing annual crops and stay after the little plants, in three years the horseradish should be gone completely. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 11 June 2015
"You seem to have plenty of interest and posted a knowledgeable amount of posts Barbara Pleasant. I grow my HR in tall half barrels and have recently increased my stock to 20 of them.Still not sure if this will be enough as the roots are rather spindly.Last year I planted stock roots from a reputable supplier and planted late Feb and harvested late Nov after 2 hard frosts. I live in South-West England (UK) where I guess is about right climate for this plant.Also I have used good quality soil (John Innes no2) The barrels are approx 450mm wide and 700mm deep. Do you think I harvested too soon and maybe grow my plants until next Feb or even another season longer? I look forward to your response. Kind regards. "
DAVE on Thursday 11 June 2015
"Dave, I have no experience growing horseradish in containers, but root crops in general do not like confinement. Now that you have a number of plants, you can experiment with harvesting them at different ages. Normally two-year-old plants have the nicest roots."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 15 June 2015
"Thanks Barbara for your kind and speedy response "
Dave on Monday 15 June 2015
"I've been a reader/sharer for almost three years now. Best forum and most positive one on the internet bar non. I do canning,wine making,make bacon, canadian bacon,smoked salmon and so on. The newest thing I found was jar labels at most stores with canning supply's. Less than three dollars for fifty labels. The secret is when u put the jar under running hot water the label will wipe off in less than thirty seconds, no mess. Best part of this forum is people helping people, your awesome! Colin"
Colin Kunkel on Friday 19 June 2015
"Thanks, Colin, I get upset with gummy labels, too. Don't use them for wine anymore -- instead I use a paint pen to write the vintage on the bottle. It cleans off in seconds with steel wool."
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 20 June 2015
"Great information love your sight. I live in sc and just dug up my hr it is the first time in over 5years it is the middle of August here and did not know I should have waited till the cool months to do this , have I ruined the taste if the plant? Karen Schneider Piedmont sc"
karen Schneider on Wednesday 12 August 2015
"Karen, you may think you dug up all your horseradish, but there are still roots in the ground. Dig again after the soil cools down in early winter, and you will probably find some roots worth keeping. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 13 August 2015
"Hi, I live in Devon, my leaves have wilted and all but died, we've had a lot of wind and rain, will the HR bounce back, or has it given up the ghost and died? Steve w"
Steve on Thursday 13 August 2015
"No worry, Steve, horseradish does not go down easily. It will be back, bigger than ever."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 14 August 2015
"My mother was Hungarian and would grate the horseradish root and then fry it to a nice golden brown color. I believe it was just salted. The longer it was fried, the less sharpness but good flavor. It was then served with Hungarian sausage. I have looked for information on fried horseradish on the internet but can't find anything. Are you familiar with this process?"
Helen on Saturday 12 September 2015
"Helen, I looked also and found little, but Hungary was the world leader in horseradish production for a long time, so the people probably found all sorts of ways to use the roots. I plan to try frying some soon, when the roots are ready to dig."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 15 September 2015
"My dad told me you can harvest horseradish in any month with an 'R' in it, basically September to April. Easy to remember."
Dick on Tuesday 15 September 2015
"Good comments. My question is: Do you get more kick out of the root by grinding it with the grain or against the grain? Or is there no difference? Anyone?"
Rich Hordin on Sunday 4 October 2015
"I don't think it matters much, but you get nicer threads going against the grain with a microplane grater."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 5 October 2015
"How big should the roots get before harvest? Ours are long and skinny. "
Cathyk on Sunday 11 October 2015
"Autumn is now upon us and the leaves on my HR plants are starting to look jading and withered. Given that my HR plants are in their first season and I want to grow them on until next winter-Do I cut back the tops (As you would with daffodils)or let them vanish and rot down naturally? Secondly, do you recommend the use of a microplane grater over an electric food processer? "
Dave on Sunday 18 October 2015
"Cathy, you often get thin roots from home grown plants, but they deliver good flavor and store well...Dave, the tops will take care of themselves as it gets colder, or you can snip them off if you prefer. A food processor makes chunks compared to the threads of a microplane grater, which are nicer to eat in my opinion."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 19 October 2015
"Just want to add that I save the tops of the plants after I cut off them off the roots. I put them in pots until new rots form and then plant them to generate a new crop. (Or give them away) PJ "
P J Indoe on Tuesday 23 February 2016
"Can one use the horseradish LEAF to wrap food, i.e. as you can with vine leaves? Or is it poisoness? It smells so pungent that I would like to try it. Please advise. MKW"
Moya Woolven on Friday 8 July 2016
"Moya, the leaves are not poisonous and they can be used as wrappers, but I would not plan to eat them. When I have tasted very young leaves they were not very appetizing, and I think the older leaves would be worse. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 12 July 2016
"I made horseradish sauce for my husband and he says it tastes like dirt of course I did try it and yes has a dirt taste after awhile not at first you don't notice. I did dig them up in July from a friends farm and planted some in my garden and processed some. What can I do to prevent the weird after taste. My husband loves horseradish sauce."
Cassidy on Sunday 24 July 2016
"The biggest thing is to wait until the soil cools down in the fall. In summer the roots do not have the best flavor. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 25 July 2016
"This is my first season to harvest my horseradish Can I cut all the leaves of of everything and only harvest what I need from the roots ? The roots have been in for 2years with no harvest. Is it better to harvest a lot of leave some in for next year. There are tons of large leaves over 24 inches. Thanks, Kenny G"
Ken Gerhardt on Thursday 29 September 2016
"Ken, you harvest only the roots, and you will find plenty of them under a 2-year-old plant. Don't worry about digging too many, because there are always more roots with buds left behind in the soil. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 5 October 2016
"We live in South Africa. 2 years ago we downsized and moved into a unit with a tiny garden. While clearing the garden we found a plant with big leaves and just left it where it was. This year we dug up its huge root and threw it away! Yesterday we bought a Horseradish plant - yep! You've guessed it ... it is a tiny version of our big old root and leaves that we threw away!!! And which has now sprouted again! Sigh! I really wish I knew what I was doing in the garden! Love your site and appreciate all the info!"
Kim on Wednesday 8 February 2017
"Would 10 year old roots be edible? How much root should be left on the leaves for replanting?"
Mo on Tuesday 22 August 2017
"The main stem on old plants is ugly yet pungent, but there will be many lateral roots of harvestable size when you dig up an old plant. You can dig like crazy in a spot with an old established plant and think you have collected every root, and then the plant will be back the next season. Any root piece you replant will grow. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 22 August 2017
"Love this site. I bought some organic HR roots in Feb 2017. I had researched the plant so I new better than to plant it in the garden. I got two big 16" planters and planted those. I put 2 roots, the size of large carrots, into each planter. The whole planter has filled in nicely. I also plant my mint, sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, ginger and turmeric in pots. It's so much easier to harvest. No digging. Just dump the pot onto a tarp."
Ming on Monday 16 October 2017
"Really found this site informative. Thank you. Now I just have to dig my plant and try process methods."
Letha on Tuesday 17 October 2017
"Really found this site informative. Thank you. Now I just have to dig my plant and try process methods."
Letha on Tuesday 17 October 2017
"LOVED all the articles and comments about horseradish plants. We have a HUGE horseradish plant in our herb garden in front of our home. We think it may be 8 years old. We would like to move it somewhere, as it's too big where it is. We would like to harvest it, and will try using a garden fork. Wish it wouldn't come back, but that is nature! Thanks so much for all your advice. Janet in Derwood, MD"
Janet Lee on Tuesday 14 November 2017
"very good info. my first wife and I planted our patch over 35 years ago and it has not been maintained or harvested since then. it is now about 4 foot in diameter and has always been very healthy . In the past, my family used an old hand grinder that you clamped to the counter which I still have. I am going to dig up some roots this week and try to make some. thanks "
Larry Mourdock on Thursday 5 April 2018
"I'm in Zone 4 - MN, when would the plant flower? I just panted 3 roots this spring, the leaves are large and healthy looking. After reading your article, I should leave them for at least another year before harvesting? I also have one that I had planted a couple years ago, and this year leaves popped up. Do you think I could harvest that one this year? "
Karlene Wald on Friday 7 September 2018
"Karlene, if the plants bloom it will be in late spring, but they don't always produce flowers. I suggest digging at least one plant this fall, after the soil cools but before it freezes. Once horseradish establishes itself, you will have it forever."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 11 September 2018
"Are there more then one kind of horse radish?Up here in western Canada they easily survive -35- -40. Likewise, I find them not very strong in taste."
TJ on Monday 1 October 2018
"TJ, there are varieties of horseradish, but they are all the same species. To get the strongest horseradish, you must wait until the plants die back and the soil is cold, but not yet frozen. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 3 October 2018
"Thank You Barbara, did not know that. very good and informative site./tj"
TJ on Wednesday 3 October 2018
"Wonderful advice! I just dug up my horseradish and added some to my home made mustard. It will go great with tomorrow's ham. I have another use for the leaves. If one makes kosher pickles, a generous handful of leaves added to the cukes and brine helps to keep the pickles crisp. It's the tannins in the leaves that help. It adds a little flavor too. I'll be moving my patch soon since it took over the flower bed. I'm the 3rd generation in my family to grow it here in SE Indiana. I love it and have yet to find some too hot."
Yvonne on Tuesday 23 October 2018
"hi thanks for this information. i have it growing on my allotment here in the UK. very useful to learn that i should wait for the weather to get colder to get a more spicy flavour - I wondered why mine wasn't very pungent. I just wanted to warn people planning to plant it in pots - I did that, thinking that would contain it. lol. After about 3 years the roots grew out of one of the drainage holes in the base and I now have horseradish shoots all around! I think I should have placed the pot on some sort of barrier."
SL on Wednesday 31 October 2018
"I inherited a healthy clump of horseradish already growing in the garden when I moved to Western North Carolina last year. When I tilled the soil this spring, I must have spread a few of the roots, which have now sprouted in many new spots. Ha! My bounty multiplies... So, since it's been many moons since I grew horseradish, I looked for an informative article on its culture and harvesting. I found this thorough article, read it with growing (pun intended) appreciation, and lo and behold, at the end I see that it is written -- and followed up conscientiously -- by my former colleague Barbara Pleasant. Now I'm ready with all the information I need to begin to harvest and use my horseradish this fall. I am always sure that any garden article that you write, Barbara, is spot on ! Be well today, Paul P."
Paul Peterson on Thursday 4 July 2019
"Hi Paul, Many years ago I tilled over a horseradish clump and the little plants popped up everywhere. I highly recommend digging them out while they are small. Established plants survive aggressive digging!"
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 4 July 2019
"Get a growbag and place it on a board. One where you can raise one end. Plant horseradish in 1/3rd of the "top" end and put a couple of drainage holes in the other, bottom end. They like lots of water but they must be well drained and fed. Come back sufficient time later and use a knife down the centre of the bag and you'll find lots and lots of harvestable roots snaked arouund the bag and you don't have to dig and dig to find the end. Wrap cling fim back around the bag and repeat."
Ted on Thursday 8 August 2019
"I finally managed to get some radish going in my garden and will shortly begin processing. My question is can the grated radish be frozen for later use? Thanks in advance."
Paul Smith on Tuesday 24 September 2019
"Paul, if you can wait a while, the roots will gain pungency after the soil turns cold. You can grate horseradish and freeze it, but it is better to refrigerate some harvested roots, and grate horseradish fresh as you need it. Roots kept in a plastic bag in the fridge will keep for months. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 27 September 2019
"Thanks for that information. That was be quite helpful. I've got 3 plants growing and I will save the other two for later in the Fall."
Paul Smith on Friday 27 September 2019
"where can i buy horse radish to eat that is not creamed.. and where can i buy to grow..and will it grow in Queensland Tamborine Mountain "
Fred Ericsen-Miller on Wednesday 9 October 2019
"Fred, you should look for roots at a large supermarket and grate some and plant some. If rhubarb grows in your location, so will horseradish. A company in Queensland called Green Harvest ( sells plantable roots. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 3 February 2020
"Ted had a great idea using a grow bag; there are also potato grow bags that have a flat near the bottom to extract your roots. I am just beginning to plant horseradish indoors [first]. I feel very confident in how to proceed going forward after reading all the information included on this site."
Diane Edwards on Monday 11 May 2020
"I just purchased two horseradish roots and planted them. I love horseradish, but none of my local farmers markets OR grocers carry horseradish root, organic or not. So I planted it yesterday and I'm terrified of over watering it. Any tips will be greatly appreciated! My soil is good, but I did mix it with organic soil and compost before planting."
Patricia Boglin on Sunday 17 May 2020
"Patricia, I wouldn't worry about watering your horseradish unless the weather is very dry. The roots you planted provide nutrient and moisture reserves, and a bit of stress pushes the leaf buds to grow. "
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 17 May 2020
"Ms. Pleasant, Thank you for all the information regarding horseradishes, your's is the best website I have found. I was wondering if there is a way to preserve the horseradish leaves for later use? Again, thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of horseradish! "
Lori A. Cava on Friday 29 May 2020
"Thank you for your response re watering my horseradish! It has been dry here, no rain for over a week, but one of the plants is thriving and sending up new growth. The second is barely hanging on and something's been nibbling the leaves."
Patricia Boglin on Friday 29 May 2020
"Lori, horseradish leaves are sometimes used to add crispness to canned cucumber pickles, but I have never seen them preserved on their own. If you like them, cutting back old leaves will make the plants push out new ones, which are much more tender. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 30 May 2020
"I have horseradish that I planted in May 2018 (just over 2 years ago. Will they still be OK? "
Dave on Monday 29 June 2020
"Dave, if you are seeing long, strappy green leaves, then you still have horseradish. It's a real survivor of a plant."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 30 June 2020
"Last week, I read about re-planting horseradish roots, fairly deeply, with a lot of organic compost. I was wondering if anyone else has done this, and how long I should expect to wait to see growth. Thanks in advance!"
Patricia Boglin on Tuesday 30 June 2020
"Patricia, when kept in moist soil, the latent buds on the root will slowly swell and produce shoots. This can take some time, perhaps a couple of months. Even if you see nothing this season, mark where you planted the root. The plant will probably make a strong appearance in spring. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 1 July 2020
"I’ve grown horseradish in pots for years, and never get good roots off the plants. I finally moved a couple plants into a planter bed, and boy did they take off. I just dug up one of the plants, and most of the roots are long and skinny, with only one big root a couple inches long. I went ahead and made horseradish out of it using a food processor (hadn’t read this article yet) and it came out a bit chewy and fibrous. Is this because the plant is old, or because I used mostly very skinny roots (pinky sized)? Or is this normal for homemade horseradish? "
Thea on Wednesday 25 November 2020
"What should I do in a subtropical climate? I have had some plants in the ground for more than 3 years. I am in the southern hemisphere (South Africa). "
Robert on Wednesday 16 December 2020
"I'm in Connecticut and want to order about a pound of roots on-line for planting in a walled-off garden bed this fall. I'm not sure of what size the roots will be but I want to end up with 4 to 6 plants. I have to assume I might need to cut the root or roots into smaller pieces. So what I want to know and can't seem to find anywhere on-line is how large a section of root is needed in order to survive and re-sprout. Obviously broken-off pieces will re-sprout, but what's the minimum? 1 inch? 3 inches? Maybe I should start them in pots first to see which one's take. Thanks very much."
Bucky on Friday 17 September 2021

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