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Horseradish: herb of the year for 2011

Tue, Apr 19th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The International Herb Association chooses an Herb of the Year to highlight each year. Their choice involves evaluating herbs that are outstanding in at least two of the three major categories: culinary, medicinal, or decorative. Horseradish meets all three of these categories.

Culinary: Horseradish is probably most well known for its use in cocktail sauce. It is also a wonderful sauce for roast beef when mixed with sour cream. Horseradish is one of the bitter herbs used in the Passover Seder.

Medicinal: Horseradish root can be rubbed on sore joints to relieve rheumatism or pressed on the forehead for headaches. It is full of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Horseradish also has antibacterial, antioxidant and detoxifying properties.

Decorative: The leaves of horseradish don't all look alike. They are easily dried for use in dried flower arrangements.

Horseradish became popular in England in the late 1600's. Commercial cultivation in the U.S. centered around Chicago because a German family brought plants to that area around 1856.

If you are looking to plant some horseradish in your garden, here's what you need to know to get you started:

You can mail order for root cuttings or possibly pick them up at a garden center. They should be ¼" to ¾" in diameter and about 8" long. You plant them with the flat side facing up and at a slight angle. Plant so the top is just at the soil line. Space 18" to 24" apart. Plants are large and can grow to 3' in height. It is best to plant horseradish in the spring. Horseradish is a perennial and will sprout from any piece of root that is left in the ground meaning it can be invasive if you aren't careful.

Using Fresh Horseradish:

Freshly grated horseradish will turn brown so it is best to use it right away. If that is not practical it can be preserved by adding vinegar, 1/4 to 1/3 cup white vinegar for every 2 cups of freshly grated horseradish.


Cocktail Sauce

¼ cup Ketchup

2 T prepared horseradish

2 drops any brand hot sauce

Horseradish Salad Dressing

•2 C yogurt •4T fresh dill •1T minced onion •1T chopped chives •1T prepared horseradish

Dash of fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a quart jar, cover and chill. Shake before using. Keeps two weeks in the refrigerator. Great on any green salad or can also be used as a dressing for potato, tuna, chicken or pasta salad.

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