Description - Horseradish is a root crop of the crucifer family which has an oil that contains the sulfur compound allyl isothyocyanate. This compound imparts the strong pungent odor and hot, biting flavor to the root. The roots are carrot-like in shape, usually rough and white to cream in color. The plant may grow to a height of three feet. Leaves have no culinary value and contain a slightly poisonous compound.
Culture - Horseradish plants will grow well in Texas in fertile, well- drained soils. They are propagated by planting pieces of side roots that are taken from the main root following harvest and stored in moist sand in a cool cellar through the winter. The roots are planted in late winter or early spring. Horseradish is difficult to eradicate and can become a weed once it is established. New plants regenerate from root bits left in the soil. Horseradish is harvested in late fall in most areas of east Texas.
Availability - Fresh horseradish can be found the year round in all areas of Texas, although none is grown commercially in our state. It is common in home gardens. Historic areas of U.S. production include Illinois, Wisconsin, California (northern), Oregon and New Jersey, where 3500-4000 acres are harvested annually.
Selection - Look for roots that are free of blemishes and bruises and that are creamy white in color. The roots should be fairly turgid and firm.
Storage - Horseradish is best if utilized shortly after harvesting. it can be stored for an extended period of time in the refrigerator if placed in plastic bags.
Nutrition Information - Horseradish is usually used as a condiment in small quantities. One tablespoon of shredded raw horseradish (10 grams) contains about 12 calories and is sodium free.
Preparation - Usually eaten raw. Wash and peel the root before shredding.