Here is a healthy and delicious Hungarian vegetable that even helps you to fight a virus thanks to its high concentration of vitamin C.
Hungary is a proud owner of many traditional folk methods to cure basically all sickness. This time, I am not referring to Pálinka – though, if you would like to give it a go, you can find Hungary’s best pálinka here. Furthermore, not so long ago, we already set up a list of some Hungarian remedies offering alleviation to many health issues. You can find further information by clicking here.
Today we bring you another speciality. Even though horseradish is popular in many European countries, as in Germany and Poland, both of these receive quite a big part of their daily horseradish intake from Hungary. This root vegetable used worldwide either as a spice or as a condiment is produced in a considerable amount in the European Union, around 30 thousand tons a year – almost half of which comes from Hungary, thus
making the small Eastern-European country the biggest horseradish cultivator of the EU.
Apart from the two already mentioned countries, Hungary exports the most to the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. Only after consuming a significant amount already inside the country, of course. And especially so at Easter-time, when horseradish is an obligatory condiment of the holiday feast.
In 2020, Hungary cultivated almost 12 tones of this delicious, indigenous vegetable on 1400 acres of land, mainly in the Northern part of the Great Plain. Debrecen, Makó, Nagykáta, Kiskunfélegyháza and certain territories around Budapest used to have original horseradish farms. Today, 98% of all cultivation areas are found South-East from Debrecen, writes sokszinuvidek.24.hu.
There are three typical types grown and consumed in Hungary. The first one proudly bears its cultivator city’s name, called debreceni édes-nemes (sweet and noble from Debrecen). This type grows abundantly into a longer form with a smooth surface. It is a fairly spicy vegetable full of aromas that make it perfect for industrial use and to be exported. The sweet from Nürenberg and the one from Erlangen might be a bit less known but not at all less tasty.
“Harvesting the crops usually starts in the middle of October and is done periodically for several months.
Under proper conditions, raw horseradish can be kept on the shelves for a long time.
The food industry usually uses the root of the vegetable for pickled products, thanks to its unique spicy flavour that enhances that of cucumbers, cabbages, beetroots, assorted pickled vegetables or peppers.”
Its unique and characteristic flavour is provided by the roots containing two chemical compounds: butyl thiocyanate and allyl isothiocyanate (the latter is an oil that also gives that pungent taste to mustard and wasabi). They both irritate the mucosa and the tear glands, causing sobbing while enjoying its strong but delicious flavour.
Freshly grated horseradish is rich in vitamin C, thus effectively fights bacteria and viruses,
improves the blood flow of the mucosa; it is, moreover, effective against kidney and urinary tract infections and chronic bronchitis. Furthermore, the horseradish juice stimulates the gallbladder and alleviates symptoms. However, excessive consumption can very much irritate the mucosa in a not so comforting way.