Friday, August 19, 2011


*Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

*hardy perennial
*zones 3 and up
*this is an invasive plant, so only plant it if you really want it

Parts Used:
*root and leaves

*sunny position is best, but it tolerates shade
*it prefers a well-dug soil that is enriched with compost, but it is tolerant of all but the driest of soils
*prepare the soil the fall season before planting with moist soil and compost

*I have read many opposing descriptions of this. I will put them all here for now, and when I move next year and plant it myself, I will edit this post and add what worked best for me...
*in the spring, plant roots horizontally
*in the spring, plant roots vertically
*in the spring, plant roots at a 30 degree angle from the horizontal
*in addition, you can propagate by dividing established clumps in the spring

*it is an invasive plant, so you must watch it carefully and keep it in its' place
*do not let horseradish dry out or the roots will become bitter
*leaf-eating insects can be a problem for this plant

*dig up roots and use them fresh at any time in the second and/or third year
*the best flavor is after the first frost
*store clean roots in sealed plastic bags in the fridge for up to 2 months or store them in sand in a dark, cool place
*it has a milder taste in the spring
*the leaves can be dried

*parts used medicinally: roots
*it has antibiotic qualities that help protect the intestinal tract
*it acts as a nasal, sinus, and bronchial decongestant
*it is used to treat urinary tract infections
*it is often taken internally for gout and rheumatism
*it contains excellent dosages of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are good for the body
*you can make it into a poultice for stiff muscles and rheumatic joints
*do not use if your thyroid function is low

*the young leaves can be eaten as a vegetable
*the root is the most often part used for cooking
*peel and grate the roots as needed: it loses some flavor soon after it is grated and when it is heated, so peel/grate only what is needed at that particular time
*alternatively, grate the whole root and add 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each cup of pulp. Store it covered in the fridge until needed

Companion Planting:
*when grown near potatoes, it is possible that it improves its' disease resistance, but be careful that it does not take over the potatoes' area

*Chop the root finely and add it to dog food to dispel worms and improve the dog's body tone
*Slice the root and infuse in a pan of milk to make a lotion for clear skin

For more information, see: references and warnings

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