We’ve mentioned serving a few dishes along with horseradish lately, so I thought I’d show you how to make it, from the dirt to the table! Horseradish has a very clean, hot flavor, that is intense but fades quickly. It’s a great compliment for salmon cakes or roast beef!

Growing Horseradish

That horseradish is almost as tall as my kids!

Horseradish is ridiculously easy to grow here in Portland, OR, and now is a good time to plant it! It grows as a perennial in zones 5-9, and can be grown as an annual elsewhere. If you are in a mild climate like ours, ignore those size guidelines that say it gets 2 feet tall and 18″ wide… Ours doubles that, easily!

Horseradish prefers a slightly acidic soil and full sun, though mine has done fine in part shade. Incorporating a lot of compost into the soil before planting will give it a good start. Make sure you select a spot where the horseradish can stay! It tastes best when about a year old, so feel free to divide your horseradish and move it from time to time.

Horseradish leaves

Horseradish leaves

In fall after the leaves have died back, or in spring before they’ve come up is the right time to get a division of horseradish. You want your piece to be about 10 inches long, ideally, and including the top part) from a friend, garden center, or online nursery.

Dig a hole at least a foot wide and about 6 inches deep. Put the root in the hole, at about a 45 degree angle. Cover with the soil and pat it down gently. Water in and let nature work its magic!

Harvesting Horseradish

Horseradish in the ground

Horseradish in the ground

The flavor changes throughout the year, and is most intense after the leaves have seen frost. In the summer when the leaves are up, the plant’s energy is in the leaves! So for the yummiest horseradish, harvest when the leaves have died back.

The roots are what you want. Take a sharp shovel and cut a piece from the edge of your clump. Replace the soil and wash off the root. Don’t rub your eyes after touching it!

Horseradish Sauce

Make sure you prepare your horseradish in a well ventilated area! The vapors can burn your eyes.


  • 8-10 inch piece of horseradish root
  • 2-3 Tbsp water
  • 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is what’s normally used, but it’s not GAPS legal)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lactofermented mayonnaise


  1. Wash and peel your root.
  2. Cut it in chunks and put it in the food processor or blender.
  3. Add the water and salt and pulse in the food processor until it is finely grated.
  4. Add the vinegar pretty much right away. The vinegar stabilizes the heat. It will continue to get hotter until you add it.
  5. If it is too watery, you can drain off some of the excess water.
  6. Add the mayonnaise and mix together.
peeling the root

peeling the root

Adding mayo to horseradish

Adding mayo to horseradish

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, Freaky Friday.

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