Horseradish Fun Facts!
- Horseradish is a root vegetable used as a spice.
- The horseradish plant is cultivated primarily for its large, white, tapered root, although the leaves can be eaten.
- Early settlers brought horseradish to North America and began cultivating it in the colonies.
- Horseradish dates to 1500 BC; early Greeks used it as a rub to alleviate lower back pain.
- In the name horseradish, “horse” is believed to denote large size and coarseness, and “radish” comes from the Latin “radix”, meaning root.
- Horseradish is a perennial plant that comes from the same family as mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage.
- Horseradish is celebrated at the International Horseradish festival in Collinsville, Illinois, on the first full weekend of June each year.
- Collinsville, IL, which supplies roughly 60% of the world’s horseradish production, is known as the “Horseradish Capital of the World”.
- When cut or grated, enzymes from the now-broken plant cells cause changes that produce isothiocyanate, a compound that generates the bite and aroma of the horseradish.
- There are only two calories in a teaspoon of horseradish.
- Unlike hot peppers that burn the tongue, the horseradish is experienced through the nose and sinuses.
- In the U.S., an estimated 24 million pounds of horseradish root are ground and processed annually to yield six million gallons of prepared horseradish.
- The cold winters of Illinois provide the required root dormancy, and the long summers provide excellent growing conditions for horseradish.
- Horseradish is still planted and harvested mostly by hand.
*From the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom SM Calendar for Teachers