7 Clear Signals Your Horseradish Is Ready to Be Harvested (Plus Tips on Storing Them) 

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: October 28, 2023
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Key Points

  • Horseradish is a perennial plant from the Brassicaceae family, known for its pungent and spicy flavor.
  • Horseradish is ready to harvest during August and September and can be left in the ground over winter for further growth.
  • Proper storage of horseradish roots involves trimming off leaves, drying the root, and storing it in a cool, dark place.
  • Horseradish is a perennial plant that grows back every year and requires little maintenance.

Are you eager to harvest your horseradish but unsure of when it’s at its peak? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you on the 7 clear signals that indicate your horseradish is ready for harvesting. Plus, we’ll provide valuable tips on how to store them properly.

What is Horseradish?

Root horseradish freshly dug-out of soil

Fresh horseradish root has a powerful flavor.

©iStock.com/Orest Lyzhechka

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Horseradish is a perennial plant from the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, and cabbages. It is distinguished by its large, whitish root. Its flavor is pungent and spicy, and it is often used as a condiment for meats, vegetables, and sauces.

The plant itself is quite tall, reaching up to 4.5 feet in height, with large, dark green leaves. Its white root can reach up to 12 inches in length and is usually cut into smaller pieces before being used. The plant also produces small, white flowers, and its fruit is in the form of small, round pods.

Horseradish has a long history and was first cultivated in the 16th century in Germany. Today, it is found in many parts of the world, and its pungent flavor is used in a variety of dishes. Its flavor can be enhanced when mixed with other ingredients, such as mustard or vinegar, and it is often served with meats or fish.

When is Horseradish Ready to Harvest?

bright green leave top six horseradish roots arranged on dark brown wooden slats.

Horseradish is ready for harvest when the plant is dormant, and it is not actively growing.

©iStock.com/Nataliia Mysak

When it comes to harvesting horseradish, timing is key. The roots of this pungent plant experience their most significant growth during August and September. In order to yield the best crop possible, delay the horseradish harvest until late October or November. With careful precision, gardeners should dig up the horseradish, making sure to cut off the foliage approximately 1 inch above the crown.

Alternatively, some gardeners may choose not to fully harvest all their horseradish at once, instead leaving some plants in the ground over winter. By doing so, they can take advantage of an opportunity for further growth before harvesting the following spring.

7 Signs That Horseradish is Ready to Harvest

Horseradish roots are dug out of the ground with a shovel. Medicinal plants.

You will know when horseradish is ready to harvest because the foliage will die back to the ground.

©VASYL MYKHAILENKO/iStock via Getty Images

  1. The temperature is cooler. Horseradish harvested during hot summer months does not taste good.
  2. It is mid-October or November. These months are usually ideal for harvesting horseradish.
  3. A frost has killed the horseradish plant’s foliage. This is a sure sign that it is time to harvest your horseradish.
  4. The ground is not yet completely frozen solid.
  5. It has been at least 6-12 months since you planted the horseradish root.
  6. The plant is dormant and not actively growing.
  7. It is early spring, and the crown of the horseradish plant is just showing a hint of green color. Hurry and harvest before active growth begins.

How Do You Store Horseradish Roots?

Once harvested, proper storage conditions are essential for maintaining the freshness and quality of horseradish. First, trim off all of the leaves from the horseradish and clean the root with a brush. Let the root dry completely before storing it away.

Store these roots in a refrigerator or root cellar with a temperature ranging from 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Equally important is ensuring a relative humidity level between 90 and 95 percent in order to prevent dehydration. Damp sand makes a good storage medium for horseradish.

To preserve its vibrant flavor and prevent any undesirable changes in appearance, keep horseradish away from light while storing it. Exposure to light can cause the roots to turn green.

How Do You Grind Fresh Horseradish?

Preparing horseradish and turmeric sauce using mixer cup. Horseradish and turmeric raw roots.

Turmeric and horseradish can be pureed together for a tasty condiment.


Horseradish is a unique root vegetable that can be used to add a spicy yet flavorful kick to a variety of dishes. Grinding fresh horseradish is easy and only takes a few simple steps. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by selecting a fresh horseradish root that’s firm and has a pungent smell. The whiter the root, the fresher the horseradish.
  2. Peel away the skin and cut the root into small cubes or slices.
  3. Place the cut pieces into a food processor or blender.
  4. Add small amounts of cold water or ice cubes, enough to cover the blades.
  5. Put the cover on the blender or food processor and cover it with a towel before grinding. Horseradish fumes are very unpleasant and can burn your eyes. Perform this whole procedure in a well-ventilated room or porch.
  6. Grind the horseradish to the desired consistency, scraping the container as you go.
  7. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar.
  8. For every 1 cup of horseradish puree, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  9. Transfer the ground horseradish to an airtight container, such as a jar or Tupperware, and store it in the refrigerator.

Grinding fresh horseradish is a great way to give your dishes a unique flavor. The process is easy and takes only a few minutes. Once it’s ground, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a month. Enjoy!

Does Horseradish Grow Back Every Year?


When your horseradish is ready to harvest, leave a small piece in the ground for the next batch.

©Michel VIARD/iStock via Getty Images

Yes, horseradish is a perennial plant, meaning it will grow back every year. It is a hardy crop that can survive cold temperatures and can even be left in the ground over the winter. Horseradish grows best in full sun and well-drained soil and requires little maintenance. It is easily propagated by division and can also be grown from root cuttings. Horseradish is an ideal choice for those looking for a low-maintenance, high-yield crop that will produce for many years.

Can You Plant Store-Bought Horseradish Roots?

Yes! Planting horseradish roots from the grocery store is indeed possible. It’s a great way to start growing this flavorful plant in your own garden. To begin, it is important to first separate the top portion of the root, which can be used for culinary purposes, from the bottom part, which will serve as the new planting material.

Once you have obtained the desired section, it’s time to prepare the soil. Start by loosening the soil to a depth of about 12 inches. This will allow enough space for the root system to develop properly. Additionally, enriching the soil with compost will provide essential nutrients that promote healthy growth.

When ready for planting, position the root cutting at a 45-degree angle within the prepared bed. Do not plant it deeper than two inches. This positioning allows for optimal development and establishment of new shoots.

Should I Cut the Flowers Off My Horseradish?

White horseradish fowers close up in organic garden

Horseradish produces lovely white flowers that pollinators love to visit.

©svehlik/iStock via Getty Images

It depends. If you want the horseradish to spread, leave the flowers on the plant. They will set seed, and the horseradish patch will be larger next year. The flowers are also a favorite with pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

If you have a limited amount of space, you may want to let the plants flower so the pollinators can enjoy them. But be sure to clip the flowers off before they have a chance to form seeds. This will prevent the horseradish plant, which is already large, from taking over more space in your garden.

Where Did Horseradish Get Its Name?

Horseradish is an ancient vegetable that has been cultivated for centuries. It is believed to have originated in western Asia and spread to Europe and eventually North America. The name “horseradish” is thought to have originated from the German language, where it was known as “meerrettich” or “mareradish,” which translates to “sea radish.” It is believed that the name was given because it was often found growing near the seashore.

The English word “horseradish” is derived from the German, and it is believed to be a reference to the sharpness of the root, which was likened to a horse’s bite. In addition to its use as a condiment, horseradish has been used medicinally for centuries, as it has a number of beneficial properties. It is also an important ingredient in several dishes, including the classic Russian salad and the popular Bloody Mary cocktail.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/eskymaks

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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