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Growing Horseradish for the flower buds

 
gardener
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Horseradish leaves and roots are annoyingly bitter. Ok,  my hubby likes the root ground and added as a condiment, so I started growing a little of it.  However, what I find more intriguing is the flowers. They do have a little horseradish kick, but they can pass as broccolrhabi. Every year, that is what I look forward to in my horseradish crop. I don't see anyone else getting excited about this. Why not? Is there some other perennial cold hardy broccoli substitute I'm missing?
 
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I have not seen any flowers on mine. Although I have not looked either. I have had them 2 or 3 years now. When do they flower?
 
pollinator
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Mine flowered, this is interesting about the spicy raab idea. But I'm a nut about horseradish root on venison. It is AWESOME (to me anyway). The idea of eating flowers too is cool. They must be like nasturtiums which are similar flavor.  

I planted a whole bunch last year and this year, it sure hasn't taken over the world. Kinda hoped it would...
 
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Amit, how do you like preparing the flower buds?  Just simply cooked, or do you prefer them prepared a specific way?  Thanks.
 
Amit Enventres
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Mine flower early spring, about the same time the first burst of dandelions. I'm zone 5/6.

I just treat them like broccolrhabi. They are related, so the everything about them is similar... just horseradish is perrenial. I have mine under shade too, because I don't like it real hot, that's supposed to help. They have a little bit of that horseradish bite and a significant similarity to broccoli,  in my opinion.

They don't flower profusely or repeatedly. I would assume that's due to breeding. It makes me think I need to do some breeding myself.
 
Greg Martin
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Two others to consider that are used for their broccolis are sea kale and it's larger cousin giant colewart.  Both are growing great for me in zone 5.  A side benefit, they both smell wonderful in bloom.
 
pollinator
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I love it too! I put them in my taste bomb salads, ups the what-am-i-tasting-now factor and it's decorative. If people have a sweet tooth i add fruit to balance the bitters. Looks great too.  
 
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Wow, I learn new things every time you come by here.

I haven't thought to use my horseradish leaves, and in the 4 years of the horseradish sitting in my garden, I have never seen a flower head on it, but love broccoli raab (sp?), and things that are a bit bitter and astringent when cooking fattier animal based foods. I use radish tops from conventional red radishes and daikon for lactofermenting already. But I have competition for my horseradish. The chickens adore them and swiftly wipe out my whole patch if they get into the fenced portion of my garden, so I usually just dig up roots for my kitchen, and throw the leaves in my chicken run, and try to make sure the chickens don't see where I got them.

The bigger leaves made me wonder today if I can wrap meats or fish into them for cooking in stead of banana leaves, that I don't currently grow (I think I could, I see bananas as ornamentals around here, just not with the expectation of a banana crop), and whether or not I could chop them up in stir fries (I tasted leaves as-is, and wasn't impressed by the uncooked flavor). The slugs ate my whole bok choi patch overnight and my bumper crop of radishes was another casualty of the ongoing slug war, too, so I'm low on conventional garden greens, and foraging nettles and dandelions to fill the gap. Horseradish would help stretch me over that gap further.
 
Amit Enventres
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Yes! I learn something all the time here too.

Houzz even recommends "towering colewart" as a garden center piece! I need to get a ton more of this stuff.
https://www.houzz.com/magazine/great-design-plant-towering-colewort-adds-playful-drama-stsetivw-vs~13516768

I didn't know horseradish made a good chicken treat. I should see how quail like it when I get them.

I personally would eat broad leaf plantain before chowing down on horseradish,  but I have a low tolerance to bitter stuff. As for them slugs....trying not to get too off track, but...we had slugs that were successfully dealt (from what I could tell) with by crumbled egg shells, diatomaceous earth, and coffee grounds.
 
pollinator
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Bitter? Not a flavour I would call horseradish roots. But the flowers come in early spring they are massive and on my plant anyway HOT HOT HOT. I moved my horseradish this year so I cut all the flower spikes off it in the spring, and it has not tried to make any more so I expect it's a one off thing each year.
 
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