How to Harvest Horseradish

How To Harvest Horseradish In 7 Easy Steps

Are you tired of buying pre-grated horseradish at the store?

Do you want to take control and harvest horseradish on your own for fresher, more delicious flavors in your meals?

Look no further! By following these simple steps, you can have a bountiful harvest of horseradish in no time.

Did, you know that horseradish is a reasonably easy herb to grow. In addition, there are many things to love about horseradish, including its impressive health benefits.

This tiny root is naturally rich in many key nutrients, including; calcium, folate, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and Zinc.

And though it may seem to sound a little intimidating at first, especially if you are new to growing your food, you have nothing to worry about.

How to Harvest Horseradish involves a relatively simple process; with the right guide and equipment, you’ll soon become a pro at how to harvest horseradish right at home.

How to Harvest Horseradish

  1. Use a garden fork or shovel and carefully dig up the roots.
  2. Start by loosening the soil in a wide circle around the plant.
  3. Poke around with your fingers to locate the direction in which the taproot has grown.
  4. Rather than going straight down, the main horseradish root will be found running nearly horizontal in an unpredictable direction.
  5. Follow this root with your digging fork, gently excavating surrounding soil.
  6. Carefully dig the horseradish and cut off the foliage about 1 inch above the crown.
  7. Wash off the roots, pat them dry, and place them in a plastic bag or another airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Useful Tips on How to Harvest Horseradish

  • The roots of horseradish make their most significant growth in late summer and early fall. To obtain the best crop, delay harvesting horseradish until late October or November.
  • Gardeners disagree on whether spring-dug or late-fall–dug horseradish gives the most delicate flavor, but most agree that roots dug in summer are unpalatable.
  • Gardeners can also leave some horseradish in the ground over winter. Harvest the remaining crop in early spring before growth resumes.
  • People tend to dig our main supply of roots in late October or early November after the foliage is killed by frost and just before the ground freezes.
  • When storing horseradish, keep the roots out of light. Light will turn the roots green.
  • Unpeeled horseradish gives off hardly any aroma and will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

How to Harvest Horseradish FAQs

When to plant horseradish?

Plant horseradish sets; small pieces of horseradish root, in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.
Horseradish requires a long growing season, so plan to harvest in the fall or early spring of the following year.

What are the two varieties of horseradish?

  • Common horseradish has broad, crinkled leaves with a superior root quality. However, it is more susceptible to disease.
  • Bohemian horseradish has narrower, smoother leaves than common horseradish and is more disease-resistant but slightly lower-quality root.

How to plant horseradish?

  • Plant horseradish by laying sets or pieces of roots about 18 inches apart and at a 45° angle, in a trench 3 to 4 inches deep.
  • Sets generally come with the lower end sliced off on the diagonal to indicate which end should slant down. With fully horizontal planting, leaves will sprout forth from several points along the length of the set, which is less ideal.
  • Cover over with topsoil after planting.

How to care for horseradish plants?

  • Protect the crops against those pests that commonly attack cabbage family members, like cabbage worms and flea beetles.
  • Fertilize established horseradish in the early spring (the plants make vigorous top growth all summer and then begin storing starch in the root in the fall, which fattens them).
  • Water and weed regularly, but weed carefully when plants are still young.
  • To prevent the rampant spread of the roots and a buildup of disease organisms, harvest the seeds regularly; ideally every spring or fall; and rotate the bed to a new place every so often, setting pencil-size sets broken off the primary roots.
  • Please don’t allow it to grow for more than a year as it will become harsh and unpleasant tasting.

How do you know when horseradish is ready to pick?

The best time to harvest horseradish is when the plants are dormant. This can be done in the early spring, just as the crown shows green, or in fall after a killing frost.

What months do you harvest horseradish?

Excellent 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.

Does horseradish grow back?

In frost-free climates, winter harvest is recommended. If you want to eat some young horseradish greens, harvest them before the bugs eat too many holes in them. They grow back in a week or so.

Can you eat the leaves of horseradish?

Experts on this matter say the leaves are edible raw or cooked but rarely eaten. Some even list the leaves of the horseradish plant is poisonous.

How to store horseradish?

  • To prepare for storage, trim foliage down to about 1 inch and clean the roots under running water, scrubbing off any dirt. Allow roots to dry before storing.
  • Store horseradish in damp sand in the root cellar in a dark area. Temperatures shouldn’t drop below freezing.
  • For more immediate use, a small supply of roots will keep well in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a couple of months.

Tips to use horseradish in the kitchen?

Keep the roots refrigerated to maintain flavor and nutritional value, grating them only as needed, and use them raw.

When adding horseradish to hot foods, such as rarebits, sauces, or fondues, stir it in just before serving.

How to prepare horseradish?

  1. Wash and peel the roots and chop them into chunks.
  2. Place the horseradish chunks in a food processor and process until the desired consistency is reached; the more delicate the texture, the hotter the flavor. Alternatively, you can use a grater.
  3. A solution of equal parts water and vinegar should be added to the horseradish to stop the heat-producing enzymes.
  4. The rule of thumb is to add the solution immediately for mild horseradish or wait 3 minutes for a hot horseradish.
  5. Horseradish can be stored in jars for about one month or in the freezer indefinitely.

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How To Harvest Horseradish Video

Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.
Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.