This vegetable known for its hotly pungent fleshy root, which is made into a condiment or table relish.
Horseradish has been cultivated since ancient times.
Horseradish is probably indigenous to temperate Eastern Europe, where its Slavic name khren seemed to Augustin Pyramus de Candolle more primitive than any Western synonym.
According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold.
Horseradish was known in Egypt in 1500 BC.
Pliny the Elder wrote about horseradish in his “Natural History,” an epic work of 37 volumes completed in AD 77, in which he observed that it healed sores, mange and ulcers.
Both root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages. The root was used as a condiment on meats in Europe.
The word horseradish is known in English from the 1590’s. Despite the name, this plant is poisonous to horses.
It was introduced to North America during European colonization.
American forefathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson mention this spice in garden accounts.
By the mid-1800s, horseradish was naturalized in many northeastern regions, most notably around Boston. Formal cultivation of the plant began in the Midwest in 1850 and by the end of the century it became a booming industry for Illinois and Wisconsin farmers.
After World War II came to a close, commercial cultivation spread to California, where it remains a major crop today. However, Collinsville, Illinois, which supplies roughly 60% of the world’s horseradish production, is recognized as the “Horseradish Capital of the World,” a designation celebrated each June with the International Horseradish Festival.
Horseradish grows up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall. Large, coarse, glossy green basal leaves arise from the large white root. Small white four-petaled flowers are borne in terminal or axillary racemes. The fruits are small oblong pods known as siliques and are tipped by a short persistent style.
The horseradish root possesses a potent flavor, commonly described as hot, spicy and peppery. Unlike hot peppers that burn the tongue, the intense spice of the horseradish is experienced through the nose and sinuses.
Undisturbed, the root doesn’t have a strong smell or flavor. But crushing or grinding it produces isothiocyanates, which is what gives horseradish its flavor and heat.
There are only 48 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of horseradish.
Horseradish are a excellant source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and folate. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and Mmanganese. It is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol.
The health benefits of horseradish include clear sinuses, antibiotic properties, detoxify the body, boosts immune system, healthy heart, lower blood pressure, supporting weight loss, stronger bones, stomach infections healthy digestion and cancer prevention.
Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root and vinegar is a popular condiment in Europe. It is usually served with roast meat.
In Serbia, horseradish is called ren is an essential condiment with cooked meat and freshly roasted suckling pig.
In parts of Southern Germany horseradish is called Kren and is an essential component of the traditional wedding dinner. It is served with cooked beef and a dip made from lingonberry to balance the slight hotness of the Kren.
Horseradish ice cream doesn’t sound very appealing, unless perhaps it’s served with a nice medium-rare steak. However, that doesn’t stop certain ice cream parlors around America from serving the flavor.
The Japanese condiment wasabi, although traditionally prepared from the true wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica), is sometimes made with horseradish due to the scarcity of the wasabi plant.