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Horseradish: How to Plant, Harvest & Serve It

By on March 01, 2012

Tricia plants horseradish in a container in our video. Easy to plant, easy to harvest!

Want to give some homegrown zip to your meals? Plant horseradish!

Simple to grow and harvest, you’ll enjoy having your own fresh crop to eat and to share with friends.

Tricia plants and harvests horseradish in our video.

Planting Horseradish

Horseradish roots look like carrots. Instead of planting seeds, as you would for carrots, you plant horseradish crowns that will multiply as roots.

Once you plant horseradish you’ll always have it, so it’s worth your gardening energy to get started. Horseradish is hardy to USDA zone 3.

Choose a sunny spot (or part-shade if you must) and give the horseradish crowns well-drained soil and our PrimeStart Booster Blend at planting time.

Add horseradish to your garden beds or grow it in containers like Smart Pots, for easy monitoring and harvesting.

harvesting horseradish

Harvesting Horseradish

After the first frost, dig up all the horseradish roots. In the photo above, Tricia is cutting the stems off the roots, getting ready to wash and store the harvest.

What did we mean by once you plant horseradish, you’ll always have it? If you leave any of the roots in the ground they will flourish!

For optimal flavor, harvest all the horseradish roots (including the lateral roots) in the fall, and store some for planting the following spring.

Horseradish Recipes

Tips

*  Peel the horseradish root before grating or grinding it.

*  Don’t cook horseradish or it will lose its flavor; instead serve it as a relish with cooked food, or stir it in to cold sauces.

*  Raw horseradish is one of the traditional Bitter Herbs served at Passover Seders.

*  The University of Arkansas Extension explains that horseradish tastes hot when the chopped roots are exposed to air—vinegar interferes with this reaction and modifies the hot flavor.

Grate it into white vinegar for a relish

Store the mixture in a closed container in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Freeze small containers of sauce, and bring them out for use throughout the year; they will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator once opened.

Don’t use cider vinegar because that will discolor your white horseradish.

Add grated horseradish to cream or butter

Make a side sauce with horseradish and your own unsweetened, whipped cream.

Mix with butter as a tangy spread.

Use with sour cream or Crème Fraîche on baked potatoes.

Add to yogurt as a dip.

Tell us in the comments how you serve horseradish!

For more information see our Horseradish Planting & Growing Guide. We ship it with each order of horseradish crowns.

Rev up your roasted meat or vegetables with homegrown horseradish!

  Comments (48)

J

Just remember to plant it ONLY where you won’t mind having it for years. It’s so INVASIVE. We learned this the hard way and it took great diligence to eradicate it from one of our beds where it was taking over. ( took about 3 years to get rid of all of it)
  I will plant it again but only in an area that is already quite wild! Delicious though.

Posted by judith wigren-slack on Mar. 03, 2012 at 9:44:30 AM

D

i was told to harvest the roots just as the leaves start to grow in the spring…i’m in the lower hudson valley of ny. is there a big difference in flavor w/ fall harvested? how long can the grated root keep without vinegar? i like it hot and have been dissappointed after i add the white vinegar….
there are always partial roots that break off so i’m ensured more for next year. a few years ago one patch grew sideways into the paths. that was hard to clear up….

Posted by dona abramson on Mar. 26, 2012 at 9:23:19 PM

Judith, Thanks for your tips! Some gardeners plant horseradish in a buried container. In our video we also recommend planting it in an above-ground container like a Smart Pot.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:30:49 PM

Dona, Horseradish roots have their big growth spurt in the late summer and early fall, so if you harvest then you will get the largest roots. Whether you harvest in spring or fall the flavor should be the same.

I don’t know how long you can keep grated horseradish without adding other ingredients. It will turn brown on its own. It would probably be best to grate it as you need it.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:39:24 PM

M

i live in the Caribbean and have brought back a root of horseradish from a grocery in Canada. We are at an elevation of 1600 feet and it gets quite cool at nights, about 68 degrees. The root has grown well but now I am not certain when to reap it as we get no Frost!  Any advice anyone?

Thanks

Posted by Mary Barbara on Mar. 29, 2012 at 4:49:24 AM

Mary Barbara, Here is our Growing Guide for Horseradish with more detailed information about harvesting. Even when you have no frost, go ahead and harvest late in the Fall, to keep the roots from getting too old.

http://groworganic.com/media/pdfs/horseradish.pdf

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Jan. 28, 2013 at 12:29:13 AM

S

Were can I buy horse radish this time of year?

Posted by Steve Dillner on Feb. 12, 2013 at 12:14:56 PM

Steve, We have horseradish crowns for sale right now http://www.groworganic.com/seasonal-items/vegetable-crowns/horseradish-crowns.html

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:10:16 PM

S

I have been growing horseradish for the last twenty-five years. We belong to WR Heritage Society and this is one of our colonial food demonstrations.
We clean and grate it with an old fashioned grinder the first weekend in Oct. every year. The young people are taught how to process the horseradish, tell the public how it was used and its history. It’s a great avenue for teaching young and old.  Many times we learn from the people that attend our demonstration. The last hour of the weekend on Sunday there is an auction of the many things that are made during the weekend. Last year a 4oz jar of horseradish brough $ 58 dollars. It’s a great weekend of learning and sharing.

Posted by Shirley Menges on May. 10, 2013 at 10:54:05 AM

B

Last fall I bought a horseradish plant at a farmers market. I live in Montana, it was getting on toward winter, so I stuck it in the dirt and didn’t expect it to survive! It did, in a big way! I am reading up on how to harvest it and I’m confused. I know to use a spade and try to not leave any pieces. Do I put any back in the dirt now (autumn) or store it and re-plant in the spring? Thanks!

Posted by Barbara on Oct. 12, 2013 at 4:06:04 PM

L

Hello,
I live in Indiana and bought a Horseradish plant the 1st of May.  I planted it in a large bucket….It look very healthy but what do I do with it now??  Wait to fall????
Thank you

Posted by Leslie on Jun. 01, 2014 at 2:06:14 PM

Hello Leslie,

Yes, horseradish will be harvested in fall.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Jun. 02, 2014 at 8:19:04 AM

M

I have wasabi in the fridge for months and it is still good; why is this only good for 3 weeks?

Posted by Marky on Jul. 12, 2014 at 12:28:12 PM

J

We have had horseradish in a spot in the lawn for many years.  We have harvested and ground it, put in glass jars in the refrigerator, and it will keep for several years.  It does turn a little brown, but tastes great and is fine.  We mix it with various things as we use it, such as shrimp sauce or with sour cream for baked potatoes or roast beef.  If you freeze it, I would assume it would stay white.

Posted by Judy Brodersen on Oct. 10, 2014 at 1:25:40 PM

J

When we grated the horseradish, we waited for a time before putting in vinegar.  Vinegar stops the flavor from getting hotter…3 minutes is a good hot flavor but not unbearable. Waiting five minutes before putting in vinegar was too much for me…whew! it was burning…my kids liked it. 
We planted extra plants and never found them to spread out of the area we put them.
With an early hard frost and the ground freezing deep early in Nov. we couldn’t dig up the plants. But, now it is the middle of Nov and warm…is the root going to be ok to dig it now? thanks

Posted by john on Nov. 22, 2014 at 9:59:10 AM

A

At last! Someone with real extispere gives us the answer. Thanks!

Posted by Alhaji on Dec. 31, 2014 at 12:04:34 AM

D

I grind it in a food processor and add organic mayonnaise.
I have found it to keep very well and keeps it kick and flavor.

Posted by Dale on Mar. 01, 2015 at 7:31:39 PM

H

Can I eat the Horseradish green leafs and/ or stalks?
Thank you in advance.

Posted by Hazim Hussain on Apr. 19, 2015 at 3:14:29 AM

Yes you can eat the leaves fresh or steamed. I think the stalks might be a little tough, so pick them young and maybe chop up in smaller pieces and steam it.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Apr. 23, 2015 at 2:09:00 PM

C

I bought some bare roots at a nursery, looks 3” pieces of pencil, no flat top or slanted end.  Also looks dry slightly shriveled.  Is this normal or is it not ideal?  Unfortunately, I didn’t read up before buying.  Thank you for the advice

Posted by Cheryl on May. 01, 2015 at 11:54:09 AM

I don’t think the fact that they are shriveled is normal. I would not give up on them though, horseradish is pretty bullet proof. My suggestion is to plant it and see what happens.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 01, 2015 at 12:50:47 PM

J

can we also eat the blossoms
?

Posted by Jaci R on May. 07, 2015 at 8:53:07 AM

B

My 2 yr old horeradish was hit hard last year by what looked like a black wilt. Ive cleared the area of debris and rotated crops..except herbs & echinacea. New growth is pale green and slow (Im zone 7b)..ideas to get its vigor back?

Posted by Bev on May. 11, 2015 at 9:00:12 AM

I have not heard anything about eating the flowers. I know that you can eat the leaves. This is really out of my expertise. I have seen on a couple of blog sites that you can eat the flowers. Here is an excerpt from a blog, “The flowers are edible, quite mild compared to the root. Sprinkle them on salads, throw them in when pickling or cooking string beans and the like.”

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 11, 2015 at 12:13:57 PM

Bev, how are you watering your plant and is it in full sun or shade? I would avoid overhead watering, especially late in the day. If you do water overhead, do it early in the day so the leaves have a chance to dry out. You might try giving it some fertilizer with a little nitrogen but heavier on the phosphorus. Try the Down to Earth Rose, Flower Mix (4-8-4) or the Dr. Earth Bud and Bloom Booster (4-10-7). Also consider some compost tea to help with plant vigor.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 12, 2015 at 10:15:07 AM

T

is it yellow in the spring? I was told I have a lot growing around my place but I dug some of it up and its yellow in color.

Posted by tom on May. 18, 2015 at 8:53:07 AM

Tom, I am assuming you are talking about the root. I am not sure if the root is yellow in the spring. If you did it up, the root should smell like horseradish. I have only dug it up in the fall and the root was whitish in color.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 18, 2015 at 11:02:24 AM

H

Can the younger leaves be eaten raw or cooked? Or are they just great compost fodder? Just now growing my first horseradish in Brisbane Australia.

Posted by Helen on May. 18, 2015 at 10:15:22 PM

Helen, yes you can eat the leaves either raw or cooked. If they are big you might want to remove the veins, they can get kind of tuff. You can also eat the flowers as well!

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 19, 2015 at 12:05:21 PM

S

I planted horseradish for my husband a year before he died.  It has never been harvested and it has been in the ground for 8years. Is any of it going to be ok to havest this fall? If not how do I start over with it?

Posted by Susan Volquartsen on May. 20, 2015 at 10:12:12 AM

Yes you can harvest and just use the smaller roots for keeping. The plant will reproduce from even the smallest piece of root, so when you dig it make sure you get all of the pieces up or else it will spread. I dug mine up a couple of years ago and I continue to see it popping up near the original area I planted.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 22, 2015 at 8:58:53 AM

L

I would like to give some of my horseradish plant to a friend.  It is now flowering - can I dig some up now or should I wait for the flowers to die off?  I guess my next question is how do I thin it out so that the roots aren’t all entwined?  thank you

Posted by Lisa on May. 24, 2015 at 10:55:06 AM

You might want to wait until the plant is dormant, in the winter. But if you are going to dig it up in the fall to harvest, you could take a bit of the root for your friend. Horseradish is pretty hardy so if you did not want to wait until the fall to dig it up to share, you can do it now.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 26, 2015 at 12:52:19 PM

T

Can you also use white wine instead of vinegar to stop the hot process?  Thank you

Posted by Tracy on Jun. 25, 2015 at 1:20:40 PM

S

ordered my first one this year. I planted it in a straw bale and some in a pot . they looked like shriveled sticks with hair. I have big plants now . what I’m worried about though is they are planted with potatoes will it hurt the potatoes to wait for the first frost, to break open the bale?

Posted by shirley faught on Jul. 11, 2015 at 1:07:59 PM

Shirley, I not sure you should wait to first frost to harvest your potatoes. Usually when the potato plants start to die back, you should harvest the potatoes. They may start to re-sprout if left too long in the ground.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Jul. 14, 2015 at 2:03:02 PM

Tracy, I am not sure what you are asking, are you talking about using white wine as a way to preserve the horseradish? Or are you talking about white wine vinegar? Which should be fine rather than regular white vinegar, might have a better flavor.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Aug. 21, 2015 at 10:51:33 AM

B

hi -barry in sw pa-I just planted 4 roots-9/15/15-my question is ,will my HR be able to be harvested next fall,2016,after frost for use—thank you so much

Posted by barry mcguane on Sep. 15, 2015 at 8:11:21 AM

It should be ready for harvest next fall. If you leave in the ground the original plant may be woody, so yes you will be able to enjoy fresh horseradish next fall!

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Sep. 24, 2015 at 9:57:59 AM

W

How do you send horseradish root in the mail?

Posted by Wendy on Sep. 27, 2015 at 7:58:47 AM

Wendy, the roots are shipped during the winter when the roots are dormant. They are packed in moist sawdust so they won’t dry out.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Sep. 29, 2015 at 4:00:24 PM

J

I would like to plant some horseradish in a container.  I am worried about it spreading.  Is there a way to keep it over the winter?

Posted by Jennifer Campbell on Oct. 06, 2015 at 7:50:23 PM

Jennifer, just make sure that you put it in a pot that is deep. The plant puts out pretty long roots and will do better in a deep pot. If you live where there is a threat of the soil in the pot freezing, then just bring the pot into a shed or garage. Otherwise you can put some mulch over the soil and just leave the pot outside.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Oct. 07, 2015 at 11:17:25 AM

K

My horseradish has been in the ground 4 years. I can see some roots crowning out of the dirt, they seem very large. Is that going to be okay to grate, or is that just chicken feed?

Posted by Karen on Oct. 11, 2015 at 8:29:00 AM

Karen, the original horseradish root can get quite large if left in the ground. I would recommend digging it up in the fall after the leaves have started to die back. You may want to only use the smaller roots, the really large roots may have lost some of the flavor and may be really tough.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Oct. 13, 2015 at 2:58:24 PM

R

I planted my crowns last fall and waited until now to harvest it.  Am I correct that I dig it up, cut the leaf stems off and replant what I don’t want to use now?

Also, is there any way I can waterbath can it?  If so, how long and can I use a vinegar-water mix to can it in?

Thank you for your help.

Posted by Robin Upstate NY on Nov. 14, 2015 at 11:22:37 AM

Robin, I have found some recipes on canning horseradish via Google, so you can start there. Sounds like you harvested correctly and yes you can replant what you don’t want to keep. Be careful because it is very invasive and any roots that are left in the ground will grow and any pieces of roots dropped will grow.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Nov. 18, 2015 at 12:29:05 PM

B

I planted roots from 2 different sources.one seems a lot hotter than the other.are they two different varieties? Also I have read that horseradish cleanses the liver,which is good,but avoid eating too much leaves as they contain oxalic acid which is toxic in large quantities.

Posted by Bill schill on Dec. 15, 2015 at 4:13:09 PM

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