How To Harvest Wild Horseradish Plant?

If you have been lucky enough to come across wild horseradish, your first instinct is probably to take home as much of it as you possibly can! However, you really should learn how to harvest wild horseradish, so that you know you are doing it right and getting the best results.

How To Harvest Wild Horseradish

How To Harvest Wild Horseradish Plant

Harvesting a wild horseradish plant is pretty easy – if you have one growing in your garden then it will be even easier!

  1. You should wait until the autumn to harvest, once all the leaves have died back and preferably after a frost (this enhances the flavor).
  2. If your horseradish is growing in a pot, simply tip it out and remove about half of the roots.
  3. Replace the remaining roots in some fresh potting soil so that they can carry on growing.
  4. If your horseradish is growing outside, you will need to dig up the plant – do this carefully a fair distance back from it, to avoid damaging the roots.
  5. Remove all the foliage from the plant and store the roots in a cool dry place – the fridge or a root cellar is ideal.
  6. Some gardeners like to store their horseradish underground – simply leave it out until the spring, then harvest before it starts to grow leaves again.

This handy article tells you just about everything you need to know about growing and harvesting horseradish.

When Should I Dig Up My Horseradish?

You can, of course, harvest your horseradish whenever you want to – but there are better times for doing this.

Autumn is widely agreed to be the best time to start building up your stores of horseradish for culinary use.

The plant will have done the majority of its growing in the spring and summer, so by autumn they will be as big and delicious as they can be!

It is recommended that you leave off picking until after the first frost, as allowing the plant to get chilled enhances the spicy flavor.

Leaving the roots underground for too long can make them go tough and woody, so it is best to harvest as much as you can at the end of the growing season.

If you want to use the leaves of your horseradish, you can do this just about any time – remembering that the smaller, younger leaves will be the most tender.

What Part Of The Horseradish Plant Do You Eat?

What Part Of The Horseradish Plant Do You Eat

The most well known part of the horseradish plant is the root – it is this which makes that familiar fiery condiment we all know and love!

However, the leaves are also edible; they are sharp and bitter and are considered a similar thing to kale and arugula.

You can eat the leaves raw in a salad or just to nibble, or you can lightly steam them if you prefer to cook them.

Horseradish leaves are also great tossed into a stir fry; they add a lovely little peppery kick.

The roots are generally made into cooking, as eating them raw will likely make your eyes water and your mouth feel like it’s on fire!

You can grate and add them to soups and stews for an added burst of flavour, or you can make your own horseradish sauce.

Horseradish is considered to be a very good addition to many dishes, as it contains a lot of health benefits.

It contains lots of vitamin C, as well as having strong antioxidant properties which can really benefit the immune system.

How Do You Preserve Wild Horseradish?

So, you’ve come across a lovely patch of wild horseradish and you want to preserve it – how do you go about it?

  1. You can simply keep horseradish in the fridge. Pop it in a bag with holes in it, and it’ll keep there for up to 3 months.
  2. Peel and grate the roots, then store them in the freezer. It may be slightly less pungent when you use it, but the kick will still be there!
  3. Grate the roots, and combine them with 1tsp sugar and 1/2tsp salt. Place the mixture into a jar and cover with cider vinegar, then seal the lid tightly.
  4. Grate 2tbsp horseradish root, then place into a bowl and mix with 1tsp white wine vinegar and 150g Greek yoghurt. This will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
  5. Finely grate 2 cups of horseradish and mix in 1tsp of salt. Pack the mixture into jars and cover with 1 cup cider vinegar. Leave to ferment for up to 4 weeks.

As a tip, it is much more pleasant to use a food processor than a grater when grated your horseradish, as it is so strong that it will make your eyes water!

Here’s a good video, showing you a few simple ways to preserve horseradish:

Does Horseradish Multiply?

Horseradish, although it does not generally produce viable seeds, is a great spreader that can easily take over if you don’t keep it in check!

These hardy plants multiply from the roots; they are capable of taking over a large area simply by spreading underground.

If you are trying to get rid of horseradish in your garden, or at least control the spread, then simply pulling out the plants won’t work!

You will have to get right in the soil and dig out the roots to stop the plants from spreading and taking over.

Be careful where you dispose of the roots – putting them in your compost pile may well mean that your horseradish patch simply moves to the compost!

Having found your very own wild horseradish patch, you will want to know what to do with it – hopefully our tips have helped you do just that!

Enjoy harvesting the plants and using them in your cooking – just make sure that you have correctly identified the plant so that you don’t end up with potential health issues.

2 thoughts on “How To Harvest Wild Horseradish Plant?”

  1. I have accidentally left a horseradish plant in the ground for a couple of years. I have been harvesting the leaves, but can I still use the root?

    • Well, chances are there will be some root that you can still use – but this glorious plant does tend to go hard and woody if you leave it too long, as it sounds like you have done. Dig it up and check the roots; you may be able to at least use the ends or some smaller roots.


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