Why Is Horseradish Called Horseradish?

Do you ever find yourself craving the sharp, pungent taste of horseradish? Maybe you enjoy it as a topping for your favorite sandwiches, or consume it as part of a delicious sauce.

But do you ever stop and wonder why it’s called “horseradish”? After all, it isn’t a food that horses actually eat. It turns out that horseradish has an interesting history, and its unusual name has a fascinating explanation.

Read on for more about the fascinating history behind horseradish!

Why is horseradish called horseradish?

Horseradish is a perennial root vegetable that is most commonly used as a condiment. It has a distinct, pungent flavor that makes it a popular addition to numerous foods.

But why is it called horseradish?

Origin of the Name

The name horseradish comes from the 17th-century German term of meerrettich, which was derived from its scientific name, Armoracia rusticana.

Its German origin hints at the plant’s long history in Europe, as horseradish has grown wild there since 500 BCE. One popular theory behind the origin of the name is that horses were first used to harvest the root.

It was believed that horses were able to pull this particularly large and well-rooted vegetable out of the ground more easily than human labourers.

Popular Uses

The most common use for horseradish is as a condiment. This can range from a simple horseradish cream or a more complex flavor such as horseradish-honey mustard.

It is also used to add a spicy kick to cocktails such as bloody marys and Bloody Bullshots. Horseradish is also a key ingredient in traditional recipes such as shrimp remoulade, pasta salad, and steak sauce. It is also used as a topping for certain dishes, such as salads and eggs.

Health Benefits

Besides its bold flavor, horseradish also offers numerous health benefits. It is a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and other minerals that are important for healthy bodies.

Horseradish is also rich in an important antioxidant known as allyl isothiocyanate, which has been linked to cancer-fighting properties.


So, there you have it: horseradish is called horseradish because of its German roots and its potential use as a harvesting aid for horses. Not only does it add a bold flavor to meals, but it also provides a variety of health benefits.

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