Horseradish instead of tobacco and other interesting facts


Do you think that horseradish is some kind of weeds and that there is no need to grow it in your garden? Well, if you do it is a shame, because horseradish (Armoracia rusticana G., M. et Sch.) is definitely worth growing and if you have organic horseradish you will have much more of the “good stuff” . Horseradish is a vegetable able to grow 120 cm tall – it is also a drug and a spice at the same time. It is typical for its white to yellowish root, but also for large leaves and white flowers.

Where does horseradish come from?

The homeland of horseradish is the south of Europe. It usually grows in wet meadows. Many people grow it in Eastern Europe but it also thrives completely alone on embankments and ditches or hummocks that offer sufficient amount of nitrogen. Currently, large production of horseradish in Eastern Europe is almost nonexistent, and the vast majority is imported. However, if you have a garden, we encourage you to plant a piece of horseradish to have your own. It should grow easily.

Horseradish was used since the ancient times

Written notes about growing and using horseradish are very old. The Roman author Gaius Plinius Secundushad recommended horseradish to those who wish to sharpen their mind or those who wish to suppress sexual passions… It also played an important role in the Slavic cuisine. Many historians refer to the Latin name Armoracia as the name comes from the language of the Celts. If you break the name down then the first two letters “Ar” mean close, ”more” refers to the sea, and “rich” refers to the region. That is why the plant likes moist habitats. Just to give you a fun fact, horseradish leaf was used in Spiš, which is a region in Slovakia, as a substitute for tobacco leaves. It must have been a really strong stuff… It was also used to treat kidney and bladder inflammations and stomach cramps.

Photo: Radek Štěpán

Harvesting horseradish

You should harvest the thickest root possible and you get that mainly from two-year-old plants or older ones. It is recommended to plant horseradish in a concrete ring for example to limit the space and to prevent the roots from spreading. This trick will force the roots to get thicker rather than split. As the vast majority of all vegetables, also horseradish is best when eaten raw, to make use of all the beneficial nutrients, enzymes, sugars, vitamin C, arginine, glutamine and many other important substances.

Preview photo: Radek Štěpán

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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