Fresh horseradish—how to plant, harvest, and serve it

Mar 01, 2012 -
  Fresh horseradish—how to plant, harvest, and serve it
Tricia plants horseradish in a container in our new 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 new video.


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 (for robust roots) at planting time.

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

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.



*  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 creme fraiche 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!

Categories: Vegetable Crowns, Horseradish Crowns, Seed Starting, Smart Pots, Container Gardening, Organic Gardening 101

judith wigren-slack Says:
Mar 3rd, 2012 at 10:44 am

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.

dona abramson Says:
Mar 26th, 2012 at 9:23 pm

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….

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 28th, 2012 at 1:30 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.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 28th, 2012 at 1:39 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.

Mary Barbara Says:
Mar 29th, 2012 at 4:49 am

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?


Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 28th, 2013 at 1:29 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.

Steve Dillner Says:
Feb 12th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Were can I buy horse radish this time of year?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 12th, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Steve, We have horseradish crowns for sale right now

Shirley Menges Says:
May 10th, 2013 at 10:54 am

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.

Barbara Says:
Oct 12th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

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!

Leslie Says:
Jun 1st, 2014 at 2:06 pm

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

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jun 2nd, 2014 at 8:19 am

Hello Leslie,

Yes, horseradish will be harvested in fall.

Marky Says:
Jul 12th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

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

Judy Brodersen Says:
Oct 10th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

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.

john Says:
Nov 22nd, 2014 at 10:59 am

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

Alhaji Says:
Dec 31st, 2014 at 1:04 am

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

Dale Says:
Mar 1st, 2015 at 8:31 pm

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.

Hazim Hussain Says:
Apr 19th, 2015 at 3:14 am

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

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Apr 23rd, 2015 at 2:09 pm

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.

Cheryl Says:
May 1st, 2015 at 11:54 am

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

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 1st, 2015 at 12:50 pm

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.

Jaci R Says:
May 7th, 2015 at 8:53 am

can we also eat the blossoms

Bev Says:
May 11th, 2015 at 9:00 am

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?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 11th, 2015 at 12:13 pm

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.”

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 12th, 2015 at 10:15 am

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.

tom Says:
May 18th, 2015 at 8:53 am

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.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 18th, 2015 at 11:02 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.

Helen Says:
May 18th, 2015 at 10:15 pm

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.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 19th, 2015 at 12:05 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!

Susan Volquartsen Says:
May 20th, 2015 at 10:12 am

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?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 22nd, 2015 at 8:58 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.

Lisa Says:
May 24th, 2015 at 10:55 am

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

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 26th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

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.

Tracy Says:
Jun 25th, 2015 at 1:20 pm

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

shirley faught Says:
Jul 11th, 2015 at 1:07 pm

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?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jul 14th, 2015 at 2:03 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.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 21st, 2015 at 10:51 am

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.

barry mcguane Says:
Sep 15th, 2015 at 8:11 am

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

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 24th, 2015 at 9:57 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!

Wendy Says:
Sep 27th, 2015 at 7:58 am

How do you send horseradish root in the mail?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 29th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

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.

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