Dr. Joe Masabni
Department of Horticulture
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Horseradish is a root crop of the crucifer family which has an oil that contains the sulfur compound allyl isothycyanate. This compound imparts the strong pungent odor and hot, biting flavor to the root. Roots are carrot-like in shape, usually rough and white to cream colored. The plant may grow to a height of 3 feet. Leaves have no culinary value and contain a slightly poisonous compound.
Horseradish plants grow well in Texas in fertile, well-drained soils. They are propagated by planting pieces of side roots that are taken from he main root following harvest and stored in moist sand in a cool cellar through the winter. Plant the roots 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.
Look for roots that are free of blemishes and bruises and are creamy white colored. Roots should be fairly turgid and firm. Horseradish is best if utilized shortly after harvesting. It can be stored for an extended period in refrigeration if placed in plastic bags.