I like horseradish but never thought about planting it. This spring I saw a few small plants at a new garden store on our side of town called Old City Green. We planted them and within weeks the leaves grew huge. From what I understand horseradish is a plant that can be forgotten and still thrive. Infact, many warn that horseradish can become invasive if it is not properly harvested.
The flavor of the root becomes hotter and stronger after the first frost. There is some debate about whether or not it should be harvested in the fall or the spring. I think either time is fine. This past weekend well before any frost we cooked beef at our Home Restaurant and wanted to serve with a fresh corn and horseradish sauce. After a little internet research I determined that it was hard to damage the plant and I cut one of our plants in half with a garden shovel. I was very excited to pull up the horseradish root!
Horseradish does not maintain its flavor when cooked so use it raw. Also it does not maintain its flavor if it is exposed to the air for more than a half hour so either grate it and use immediately or cover it with vinegar to help preserve the flavor for later use.
Last weekend we made a sauce with a puree of local fresh corn and then added fresh horseradish. Although it was not the hottest horseradish flavor it was pronounced, delicious and complimented the beef dish. A couple of guests asked for some fresh grated horseradish. I happily dug up some more in the dark garden, grated it and served it.
I probably should wait until the first frost to harvest more of the horseradish…but the beets are so good right now and the classic combination of beets with fresh horseradish is hard to resist.