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Everything about Horseradish

Botanical classification
Horseradish is classified under the Latin name "Armoracia rusticana". It is a hardy shrub, which belongs to the cruciferous plant family.

Horseradish is native to south-eastern Europe and Asia. In Germany, it is known since the 15th century. Its German name "Meerrettich" is misleading and probably occurred due to a spelling mistake, because in old German, a horse is called "Mähre".

Cultivation Areas
For decades, German farmers haven’t been producing sufficient quantities of horseradish to meet the demands of the food industry. Hungary has emerged as one of the main cultivation areas in Europe besides Austria and Poland.

Well-manured, not too heavy and loamy soil with sufficient water supply is most suitable for its cultivation. In spring, the root seedlings (so-called Fechser) are planted. These are approximately 0.5 to 1.5 cm thick root side shoots, which were removed from the main root during the harvest in autumn and are cut to a length of about 30 cm.

From mid-April to mid-May, the shoots are placed in furrows of 10 cm depth at intervals of 60 to 80 cm, then are lightly covered with soil.

The horseradish roots still require a lot of manual work. Approximately 4 to 6 weeks after planting the seedlings, all side shoots are removed from the main root. This prevents the growth of "multi-headed" roots, since the industry demands mainly "one-headed" ones.

To grow smooth roots without insertions, the tubers are uncovered at the beginning of July and side shoots are cut away. Afterwards the stems are once again covered with soil. Depending on the rainfall, the soil has to be loosened several times to prevent encrustation and weed growth. Today, manuring consists mainly of mineral fertiliser, sometimes combined with animal dung.

The main harvest begins in mid-October. Since the horseradish is frost-resistant, it can stay in the soil till spring. The lifting of the roots is carried out with special ploughs.

Health aspects
For hundreds of years, the horseradish has been in high esteem as a remedy as well as a spice. It contains double as much vitamin C (114 mg per 100 g) as lemon and physiologically important minerals and trace elements. Its hot taste is due to the essential oils. The substances allicin and sinigrin have antibiotic effects. Horseradish is therefore also called "German penicillin" and used as medicine, e.g. for colds and intestinal infections.

The appetising effect of horseradish is widely known.

Trace Elements, Minerals and Vitamins (in in 100 g Horseradish):
Sodium 9,00 mg
Iron 1,40 mg
Potassium 554,00 mg
Phosphorus 65,30 mg
Magnesium 33,00 mg
Calcium 105,00 mg
Vitamin B1 0,14 mg
Vitamin C 114,00 mg