Jars of homemade horseradish

Homemade horseradish

Homemade horseradish is probably one of the easiest things to grow and make. Homemade horseradish is loaded with nutrients that dwarf other condiments, and make one of the most impressive gifts possible. The possibilities and uses are numerous. 


Horseradish grows easily, and is known for taking over the garden. It takes very little care, if any at all, and grows in nearly every location. Some plant it in an areas where it can only grow to a certain point, so that it doesn’t take over the space. It’s optimal to harvest horseradish root after the first or second frost of the season, or at least after the green leaves begin to brown at the tips. Only about four square feet is needed, but more can be used if you use it as a give away gift – a prized hostess gift, housewarming gift or Christmas present. 

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Horseradish leaves when the roots are ready for harvest.

Horseradish plants

Horseradish is packed full of nutrition, high in sulfur and very high in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Traditionally it is known to stimulate the circulatory system, increasing circulation but also is known to reduce water retention. Because of this it is known to easy symptoms of gout, reddish coloring of the skin and other low circulation in the legs and feet. Some have used it topically to assist with blackheads and pimples. 

As a liver stimulant it can boost the immune system. Like garlic, it has been used traditionally as an antibiotic. 

Finding wild growing horseradish that can be divided, is not as easy as it sounds. Older homes may have it growing freely, but it has often been removed from home gardens. A starter root can be purchased once, and will keep giving horseradish year, after year, after year. The horseradish leaves can be used on top of fermenting vegetables, keeping the vegetables submerged under the brine. Their strong anti-mold properties assist in preserving the integrity of a quality ferment. The leaves can also be trimmed and sauteed like you would turnip greens. Every part of growing horseradish is a viable product for the home garden. Feeding the leaves or roots to livestock like sheep, goats, horses and cows is not recommended as it can cause irritation on their digestive tracts.

Wild growing horseradish is often confused with wild growing sorrel family greens like curly dock or wood sorrel. They look alike and can be identified by crushing the leaves in your hands and smelling them, as horseradish leaves smell like horseradish. Dock greens are healthy and rich in nutrients but are not as delicious as horseradish leaves. 

Horseradish trimmings.

Horseradish trimmings.

Trimming the top leaves off the horseradish makes it easier to harvest. 

Pulling horseradish.

Pulling horseradish.

Digging around the plant with a shovel helps loosen it from the soil, then the whole thing can be lifted up at once. 

Horseradish roots

Horseradish root.

The root will have larger sections and pieces that are so thin that they look like hairs. These thinner pieces can be replanted for additional future harvest. 

Horseradish root starters.

Horseradish root starters.

When it comes to harvesting horseradish roots, a little goes a long way. The amount of root pictured above will produce about one quart of horseradish. 

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Horseradish roots

Horseradish root.

The root pieces can be put into a sink full water to rinse off dirt and debris. 

Horseradish root soaking in a sink.

Horseradish root soaking in a sink.

After washing off the dirt, chop the pieces up into smaller sections so they can be processed easier. The skins are left on when making homemade horseradish, adding higher nutrition. 

Cleaned horseradish root.

Cleaned horseradish root.

Chopped horseradish root.

Chopped horseradish root.

 

The volatile oils in horseradish are famous for causing people to weep or stimulate a drippy nose. Some wear goggles while making homemade horseradish. 

Chopped horseradish in a Vitamix.

Chopped horseradish in a Vitamix.

Chop the horseradish root in a Vitamix or in food processor. Be aware, when you take the top off the mixer. If your nose is right over the vessel after grating, it can be overwhelming and cause great irritation on the nasal passages. 

For each cup of freshly ground horseradish root, immediately add:

1 teaspoon mineral salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, with the mother (the sooner the apple cider vinegar is added after shredding, the spicier it’ll be, as less of the vital oils are lost.)

2 tablespoons of whey or fermented pickle juice, fermented garlic brine, or kraut juice

 

Creamed homemade horseradish can be made with grated horseradish and milk kefir to cover. 

Pack the horseradish mixture into small jars, squeezing out all the air pockets by pushing down with a spoon to submerge under the liquid. Leave the jars on the counter, with lids fingertip tight, for 2 to 3 days, then refrigerate. It keeps for many, many months. 

Some say adding apple cider vinegar to a fermented food will prevent probitoic activity. This is simply not the case, as Sandor Katz, the Godfather of Fermentation, says in The Art of Fermentation, “Vinegar in a small proportion, and added at ambient temperatures, will not prevent fermentation. In this context, vinegar is a flavoring and a means of creating a slightly acidic selective environment in which fermenting lactic acid bacteria can flourish.” p 119.

Click here to see horseradish root for planting in your yard. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. becky.nourishingplot@hotmail.com

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.

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