Horseradish is a perennial plant which is probably native to southeastern Europe & western Asia.Â It grows up to 5 feet, or 1.5 meters, in height and is mainly cultivated for its large, white tapering root- although the leaves are edible as well.
Its root is used as a veggie or ground in a condiment form called prepared horseradish and is commonly used as the bitter herbs in the Passover meal in some Jewish communities.Â When blended with cream you get horseradish sauce with goes great with sandwiches or sausage worldwide.Â Horseradish is also used in prepared mustards.Â And guess what?Â Much of what is styled as wasabi (usually for use with sushi) is actually common horseradish dyed green.Â
I can’t prove it, but it is said that 85% of the world’s horseradish is grown in the small region around Collinsville, Illinois due to the climate and mild soil.Â The self-styled “Horseradish Capitol of the World” even has an annual Horseradish Fest.Â
Horseradish was cultivated in antiquity.Â Cato discusses the plant in his treatises on agriculture and a mural excavated from Pompeii shows the plant as it is today.Â Both root and leaves were universally used as a medicine in the Middle Ages and as a condiment in Denmark & Germany.Â
- Horseradish is still planted & harvested by hand
- Sales of bottled horseradish began in 860
- In the American South, horseradish was rubbed on the forehead to relived headaches
- Before being named horseradish, the plant was knows as “redcole” in England & “stingnose” in some parts of the US
- Horseradish has only 2 calories per teaspoon, low in sodium and provides dietary fiber
- Germans still brew horseradish schnapps– Gag!
- Al Weider earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by tossing a horseradish root 80.5 feet