Figure 1.  Horseradish growing at DaySpring in southeastern Ohio


Scientific name: Armoracia rusticana (related to mustard and cabbage; literally “strong root”) and is a perennial in the southeastern Ohio countryside, the source of our horseradish.  Earliest mention comes from John Gerard’s Herball (1597)


  1. Clean the root (scrape the skin off) and cut into small pieces.
  2. In blender, grate, using a small amount of distilled vinegar (otherwise, the enzymes breakdown, becoming “unpleasantly bitter;” and this step stabilizes the “heat”).
  3. Salt as desired.
  4. If too hot, add a small piece of turnip, grated.
  5. Pack into small jars and turn upside down to prevent darkening (that makes a good seal).


Prepare to cry!  Use ventilation, perhaps a fan.  Dad’s Uncle Ed Humphrey liked it on his ham; Nance and I use horseradish on cured ham at Easter, which is also a common custom in Austria as well as Poland, Hungary and Slovenia.  It’s also good in scrambled eggs.  Note: Small roots are thought to be “sweet” and the main roots are stronger.


SOURCES: “Horseradish” at (accessed 6 February 2009) and “Horseradish Information Council” at (accessed 6 August 2007); “John Gerard’s Herball, 1597” at (accessed 5 February 2009) and Jan Lawver, “Horseradish,” It’s About Thyme, vol. 24, no. 5 (June/July 2006): p. 1, 3.