Say Horseradish and most peaple in canada that I know will think of horseradish sauce or the added spicy in Mustard or Seafood Sauce. The history of Horseradish is long, as in thousand plus year long and yet here in canada, FAR TO FEW GARDENS have a patch of horseradish tucked into spot in the yard.. (not in the garden itself as this is a spreader!)
Lets talk about some of the reasons you really should have horseradish in your food growing plan. The first part is that it can be grown darn near anywhere, when I went to Holland, I was so surprised to see big old pots of waving horseradish leaves.. They even have fancy white and green versions.. So anyone who can have a pot or tub of soil can grow horseradish greens and roots.. I have never tried to over winter it in pots but it clearly does just fine in the warmer climates. Here in canada, bring the pot in for the winter or plant in the ground and it will go down for the winter nap and be one of the first greens back up in the spring.
Horseradish is NOT fussy on soil type.. I mean it will have some root forking if you put it in clay or gumbo soil straight up and it can turn sideways to grow but in almost all soil types it will grow big thick roots..
You will only need to beg a friend for a small root or find a fresh root at the store and plant it up and you will have the ability to grow as much as you want in the future.. I feel pretty safe in saying that in most places if you ask for bit of starter root on your local garden group, or you local community site or ask at church or just put the word out that it will come to you.. there are many plants that peaple can be like.. I need it all.. horseradish is not typically one of them.. because we understand that we can take the big root for harvest and gift you a couple baby side roots and you are going to have your own patch soon enough.
So in keeping with the roots, its hottish without being crazy hot, its need vinegar to make it stable and holding for months and it can be used in place of pepper in many ways in a number of dishes.. we take getting and having pepper for granted here in the north but we certainly can not grow it.. we can grow horseradish and its a lovely “heat” to dishes.
But the truth is that you should be growing this for the greens first and formost!
The young are mild and just hints of pepper, they are not more spicy then other young greens you will find in mixes in the store.. but what they are is far easier to grow.. They are productive and then some, you can have a short row of them and they will provide you greens from the earliest spring until hard frosts..
The older ones are going to have a stronger flavor and do better as a cooked green then a fresh young eating green, with or without the main stem, you call on what you and your family likes..
the leaves are thin, which is makes them a ideal drying green.. dried and crumbled this amazing green acts as a replacement for Basil in winter use.. it can also be grown in mass and dried in bulk as the base for a dried green powder for winter use in terms of smoothies, or as homemade soup bases.
I tend to put up a couple quart jars of the dried greens each year and they are so worth doing so.
Farmgal’s Eat what you Grow, Grow what you eat!
This post is going to be part of a series of recommendations in regards to find ways to “grow what you eat” in our local climate to replace different items that are subject to both “global shipping challenges and also climate change challenges)
In the same way it also will help keep things local and frugal..