The Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI is a horseradish of the family Brassicaceae with a high level of vitamin C, essential oils and antibiotic substances.
The production area of the Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI is within the terrains suitable for its cultivation, such as those in Middle Franconia and Upper Franconia, in the federal state of Bavaria. The transformation also takes place in Bavaria, specifically in the Landkreise of Erlangen Höchstadt, Neustadt an der Aisch/Bad Windsheim and Forchheim, in Franconia.
The cultivation method of the Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI is complex and requires numerous manual operations. At the end of February, once the frosts are over, the underground silos are opened, where the horseradish roots spent the winter. The roots are then deposited in a luminous room, until they start to germinate due to the effect of the light. During the month of April, they are placed in a slightly upwards-oriented position in formerly prepared furrows. The 'topping' stage starts at the beginning of May, when the first sprouts show. At this point, half of each stolon is exposed, and the shoots are cut with the exception of the most robust ones, in order to collect only the roots that have no ramifications afterwards. The harvest takes place in autumn, when the colour of the leaves indicates the ideal level of maturation.
Appearance and Flavour
The Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI is 30 to 40 cm long with a diameter of 4 cm. It is earth brown on the outside, but inside it is white and the paste is soft. The taste is particularly spicy, and the aroma is extremely particular and characteristic.
The Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI is cultivated in Bavaria following an age-old tradition. Since the middle of the 15th century, the production area of the Bavaria horseradish has been the richest in the world. Horseradish was introduced during the 15th century in the region of the river Regnitz. In 1650, the first references to the Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI emerge and, starting from 1912, the horseradish was commercialised grated and ready to use by the producers of Baiersdorf and its surroundings.
Once cleaned well, the roots of the Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI are generally immersed in white wine vinegar, either grated or sliced, but they can also be frozen, preserved in sand and placed in a cool place, or dried up. The Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI can be consumed fresh, grated or cooked. It is perfect served with meat and fish, and is ideal with boiled beef. However, it is also appreciated with vegetables, salads and is used as ingredient in hot mustard.
The product is sold as Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI. It is marketed in its coarse form, as well as grated or sliced and packaged in small jars.
The soil and the climatic peculiarities of the Bavarian production area offer optimal growth conditions for horseradish. The temperate climate - with a yearly average temperature of 8.5°C -and the poor precipitations of approximately 600 mm per year, associated with soil features such as the crumbliness, the sandy and the clayey characteristics, lend the Bayerischer Meerrettich PGI a high quality level. Furthermore, since the nutritional properties of the horseradish depend on the soil in which it grows, in can only be cultivated on the same ground following 3-year-cycles.