It goes without saying that Styrian horseradish is an integral part of the “Buschenschankjause” (platter of cold cuts). But did you know that there’s also a horseradish discovery trail? Yes, that’s right – in Mettersdorf am Saßbach. It runs twelve kilometres and has twelve stations to visit in the heart of the Styrian horseradish P.G.I. gourmet region.
Horseradish loves loamy soil, which is very fertile due to its high weathered mineral content and ability to store nutrients and water. There’s plenty of this kind of soil in the Thermen- & Vulkanland, so it’s no wonder that it constitutes the main growing area for the tangy tuber.
In March and April, farmers use machinery to help them, but in June every seedling is hand-lifted and any unnecessary side roots are removed. It’s back-breaking work. Horseradish is harvested from November onwards, although half of the crop is left in the field. The harvest recommences in March, so there is always fresh horseradish to be enjoyed at Easter. In wine taverns, it is the most important side on every “Brettljause” (platter of cold cuts) all year round.
Over the last few years, people have been experimenting with horseradish, so you will find more recipes around besides the customary horseradish soup. Now that horseradish has been awarded P.G.I certification (P.G.I means “Protected Geographical Indication”), its value has shot up. From a niche product, horseradish has become a delicatessen. If you ask Southeast Styrian horseradish farmers if they cry a lot, they’ll answer you straight: “Yes, maybe a bit more than elsewhere. But horseradish only makes our eyes water because of its smell, otherwise we absolutely love it – and hopefully our customers do too!”
Styrian horseradish has always been prized as a tried-and-true home remedy. The root vegetable is popularly known as the “penicillin of the garden”. It contains mustard oil, vitamins and minerals, which have a disinfectant, purifying and antibacterial effect, and also encourage blood flow. Horseradish encourages kidney function, helps with bladder trouble, renal pelvis problems, urinary tract inflammations, and stimulates digestion. It also strengthens the immune defences and helps to tackle coughs.
• contains essential oils, valuable minerals
• has twice as much vitamin C as lemons
• has antibiotic effects
• protects against colds
• boosts digestion
• stabilises the heart and circulation
• increases blood flow through the mucous membranes