Recipe: Pickled horseradish.

Like coriander or capers, horseradish root packs a flavor that divides taste buds – you either like it or you don’t.

I happen to be one of those who love the hot, spicy kick, but only in very small amounts. As my hubby absolutely loathes horseradish, it’s not really worth it to grow it just for myself.

It’s probably just as well, as this very cold hardy (to zone 2) perennial has the potential to spread like crazy in the garden. Horseradish needs just a tiny segment of buried root to form new plants. You can check the progress of aggressive plants by completely removing the roots for harvest in autumn. Apparently, it’s a far better idea to grow horseradish in containers – but they have to be very deep and large to accommodate each plant’s large taproot.

Horseradish is one of the most low-maintenance members of the family Brassicaceae, which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Once established, there’s no need to water horseradish unless there is a long period of drought, and no applications of fertilizer are necessary. Give plants a full sun location and they should perform mightily. Just watch out for cabbage worms, a common Brassicaceae pest.

Horseradish root

We recently received a fairly sizeable (and not terribly photogenic) chunk of horseradish root as part of our bi-weekly CSA share, and I was initially flummoxed as to what to do with it all! It’s not recommended to freeze whole pieces, so after gifting a couple of slices to some horseradish-loving co-workers, I set out to pickle my leftovers. Here’s how I did it:

Pickled Horseradish

(Don’t be alarmed by the lack of measurements in this recipe! There are only three ingredients, and the measurements depend on how much horseradish root you use).

Horseradish root
White vinegar

Peel the horseradish root. Grate root into a small bowl. If you are using a hand grater, try not to breathe in the fumes from the freshly-grated root. (The experience is a million times worse than slicing onions!). You can make the job a little less odoriferous by slicing the root into 3” chunks and throwing them in the blender. Make sure the lid is in place, then pulse on grate a few times until the root is finely shredded.

Remove the grated root from the blender jar, and place in a small bowl. Pour over enough vinegar to just cover the grated root. (It shouldn’t be floating!). Add a pinch of salt. Then set the bowl aside, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Carefully strain the grated horseradish through a fine sieve, reserving all of the vinegar in a separate bowl. Get out the blender again, and scrape all of the root into the jar. Add half of the reserved vinegar to the root in the blender and secure the lid in place. Pulse on puree until the root and vinegar mixture resembles a thick paste. If you need to add more vinegar, go ahead, but don’t make the mixture too runny (unless you like it that way). I left my sauce a bit on the chunky side – that’s okay, too. If you want to add a bit of salt, do so to taste. Transfer the prepared horseradish sauce into a clean Mason jar, and seal. There’s no need to process this sauce in a canner – but make sure you refrigerate it. It will keep for 2 months. Horseradish sauce is traditionally used on roasted beef, but you can also add a smidgen to fresh green salads or alongside other condiments on hotdogs, hamburgers, or tofu patties.

Horseradish FP2

Are you a fan of horseradish?  What is your favourite way to eat it?  Have you ever grown it in your garden? 


  1. I grow horseradish in my garden. It is a beautiful plant and it is so easy to grow. But I do not care for horse radish. So I just grow the plant and cut it back every fall and do not do anything with it. It will still have s special place in my garden for the plant value… not the food value. FYI ~Thea

    • Now you’ve got me thinking, Thea – maybe I SHOULD grow a plant or two, especially as I enjoy eating it. You don’t find it is aggressive in any way? (I wonder if it maybe isn’t here in southern Alberta because of the climate, perhaps?). If cutting it back in autumn is all I have to do, then that sounds wonderful. Thanks for the fantastic tip!

    • Actually, I do live in southern Alberta so I am an avid reader of your blog because we both know how unpredictable the growing conditions can be. The horseradish plant was already growing in the garden when we moved into our present location six years ago and has thrived quite nicely. My backyard is south facing so it can get quite hot during the summer. Perhaps, that is a positive contributing factor. I also have it growing right next to my compost so it might be benefiting from the extra nutrients. I do have to watch for the runners that tend to creep out but have been able to control the plant by just pulling them out. Let me know if you have success next year! ~Thea

      • Oh, I bet it loves the sun and the compost! I’m glad to hear that you’ve been easily able to control the runners. I know you’re from this area, so you’re the best person to ask about how I ought to go about growing these plants! 🙂 I appreciate all the input – I’ll definitely keep you posted with my “horseradish trial”!

  2. I like horseradish. I like it slightly sweetened with beet juice, but also plain. I like it with smoked meats, with ground fish balls (gefilte fish), with chunky apple sauce and nuts on crackers. But I admit it’s not for everybody.

  3. I’m a huge fan of the stuff, although I’ve never grown it and didn’t know how ‘unattractive’ it was LOL. I especially like it mixed with shredded beets (beet horseradish) they sell it at the farmers market here. I’ll put that on chicken (I don’t eat beef)….so delish. Looks like your’s turned out pretty well. Sounds like a lot of work?

    • Not too much work, actually – it’s way easier to make than I thought it might be. My biggest tip would be to let the blender or food processor do the grating!

      I think I may be the only one who didn’t know about the whole horseradish-mixed-with-beets thing…I can’t believe I haven’t tried that yet. Definitely something to rectify in a hurry – I love beets and the combination sounds fabulous. And I’ll bet it’s divine on chicken, as you say!

      You must be absolutely enjoying the sun on your vacation; I really liked your post about your trip to the Del. Great history there.

      • Many thanks for your reply and nice message Sheryl. Yep we are enjoying our little trip, comes to and end soon 😦 but will see kitties soon too 🙂 I’m glad you like the Del story…there’s so much more to it (as you can imagine), but I like to keep ’em short and sweet. Just a little tidbit for anyone who finds themselves this way. Cheers.

  4. Sheryl, thank you for stopping at my blog. I am having fun reading yours, I had to stop and comment here because one of my grandfather’s favorite plants was horseradish. This post brought back many memories.

    • I’m so glad you’ve checked out Flowery Prose! It’s wonderful how plants can be attached to memories of loved ones or past events, isn’t it?

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