Everything You Need to Know About Shopping for, Storing, and Preparing In Season Horseradish
Plus, 3 new recipes
The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we'll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To the market, we go!
There’s no better way to start this article than with a short story about my first (very painful) experience with horseradish. I must have been about five or six years old, sitting in my grandmother's kitchen, watching her prepare lunch: potato dumplings with horseradish sauce and boiled beef—still my favorite childhood meal.
Right after the seemingly harmless root was freshly grated in her old-fashioned food processor, my grandma noticed she had forgotten something in the pantry, and left me behind with the admonitory words: "Don’t touch or smell the horseradish." Obviously this well-intended advice had the opposite effect in combination with my childish curiosity, and my grandmother came back to find me sobbing on the kitchen floor—I had lifted the lid of the food processor and put my face directly over the freshly grated horseradish.
But as concentrated and sharp as fresh horseradish is, with the right preparation, you can wield the spicy root without fear.
1. Hello, my name is horseradish
Horseradish has been popular in the field of herbal medicine since medieval times. The spicy root with its cress-like taste contains a noteworthy amount of vitamin C, as well as a comparatively high content of B vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, and essential oils.
With this broad spectrum of essential nutrients, horseradish can serve your health well. Most significant, however, are its contained glucosinolates, whose antiviral and antimicrobial effects have been scientifically proven.
Responsible for its intense smell and spicy aroma is the so-called allyl mustard oil, which develops through the enzymatic conversion of the contained glucosinolates sinigrin and results in a pungent odor.
2. When and how to buy horseradish
If you want to harvest horseradish yourself, you should start growing it in the spring. As soon as the leaves of the horseradish plant begin to die, the root is mature, and the horseradish can be harvested. Harvest season usually falls from October through early February.
You can also buy horseradish at many farmer’s markets or in the supermarket, but you should make that purchase carefully and double check that it’s horseradish, because it can easily be confused with parsley root.
3. How to store horseradish
Horseradish can be stored for about four weeks in the fridge. If the root is already cut, it will last for about two weeks. You can also freeze horseradish for up to six months, either whole or finely ground.
Finely ground horseradish in ice cube trays is a perfect portion as a condiment for soups, sauces, or salads. Unfortunately, the spicy root loses a little bit of its taste when it’s frozen, so if you want to enjoy its full flavor, you should process and use the fresh horseradish root directly after harvesting (or buying).
4. How to prepare horseradish
Wash, peel, then grate fresh horseradish root—you can also use a food processor for it, just be wary of the strong, eye-watering scent when popping the top! Use the grated fresh horseradish for seasoning dips and sauces, as well as soups and savory creams.
In general, horseradish pairs well with fish and seafood, various types of vegetables such as beetroot, potatoes, celery, and arugula, as well as fresh herbs such as chives, dill, and parsley. If you don’t like it too spicy, you can cook or dehydrate the horseradish—this way, it will lose some of that edge.
5. What to make next
From classics with a twist to new recipe ideas, we’ll be publishing new recipes with horseradish throughout this week. Pop back to check them out or get cooking now with these savory horseradish recipes:
Published on October 20, 2019