Can a small country like Hungary, whose territory only accounts for slightly over two percent of the total 4.42 million square kilometers of the area of the European Union, be the continent’s leader in any agricultural product? You might be forgiven for being skeptical, but in truth, Hungary is the largest horseradish producer on the old continent, daily Magyar Nemzet writes.
Timed for the Easter holiday — when many Hungarians would use horseradish to garnish the traditional smoked and boiled ham, hard-boiled eggs and fresh spring onions — the National Agricultural Chamber (NAK) has launched a campaign extolling the virtues of this root and the leading position of Hungary in its production.
The annual European horseradish harvest amounts to around 30,000 tonnes (33,000 tons), of which Hungary accounts for 12,000 tonnes produced on a combined area of 1,400 hectares (3,459 acres).
While most of it is consumed locally, Hungarian producers also export horseradish to Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic, typically in raw form.
Horseradish is a native plant in Hungary and its cultivation was mainly widespread in the Northern Great Plain. Horseradish harvesting typically begins in mid-October and takes place intermittently over months. It can be stored raw for a long time under the right conditions.
The food industry also uses horseradish root as a seasoning for pickled and pickled preserved products – cucumbers, cabbage, beets, mixed cuts, peppers, jam – because of its unique taste. Freshly grated horseradish has a high vitamin C content and is also bactericidal and antiviral.
Hungary is also fourth on the continent in another specialty agricultural product: behind Spain, Italy and France it is a major producer of truffles.
Title image: Horseradish. (Hungarian Agricultural Chamber)