Horseradish

May 7, 2018

Horseradish, what a peculiar name.  It does little to forebear the pungent assault on the sinuses if one doesn't proceed with caution.  Applied sparingly, it can take a delicious steak and elevate it to sublime.  Lowly ketchup can become a cocktail sauce worthy of the most expensive shrimp at the market.... with just a bit of horseradish.  Just a smidge too much and this divine flavor enhancer becomes an evil device of torture.  Your eyes water, your sinuses burn and drain.  Physiologically the experience compares to snorting gasoline after picking your nose with a rusty nail.  Thankfully it subsides quickly as if its taunting you to do it again.

 

Why would anyone put themselves though that is the logical question.   Throw logic out the window.  Flavor is why.  The right amount of horseradish added to the right dish will turn a black and white meal into a full color, 3D, feature experience.

 

Now that you know why you want to grow horseradish, the how is relatively easy. Dirt, sunshine, and water, it isn't a delicate plant.   Above ground it is a rather nondescript green broadleaf, that isn't especially married to a particular leaf shape.  The magic happens below ground.  The large tubers spread readily and new above ground growth pops up all along the way.  When you're ready to harvest, just dig some roots.  The smaller younger roots will be tender and those are the ones you want to grind.  Older larger root will be woody and fibrous.  The best use of those parts is to re-plant them.  Horseradish root cuttings will sprout new growth before you know it.  

 

The most important thing about growing horseradish is being responsible where you plant it.  It is easy to grow, prolific, and spreads readily through root cuttings.  That's a recipe to being overrun with horseradish if you're not careful where its planted.  Pick a spot that's out of the way and won't be a big deal if horseradish takes over.  It just might.

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Grab your floppy hat and plant something!