Horseradish is a culinary spice from the long firm dry root of the horseradish plant with a pale brown exterior and bright white interior. The spice is mostly used across the globe as a powerfully pungent and distinctive tasting addition to condiments.
What does horseradish taste like?
The flavor is distinctive, predominantly a hot peppery spice that encompasses the sinuses with a fresh earthy taste. The aroma is pungent and also initiates a throat tingle.
Where does horseradish come from?
The horseradish or armoracia rusticana root is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. The name is believed to come from the German ‘meerettich’ meaning sea radish, mispronounced to become ‘mareradish’. As a mare is a female horse, this then led to the name ‘horseradish’.
Horseradish is used throughout Europe, most popularly grated and mixed with cream, vinegar, and salt to prepare a typical beef condiment, as part of the British Sunday roast.
In America, horseradish sauce is made by mixing freshly grated horseradish with mayonnaise or sour cream. Horseradish can also be used in a condiment, sandwich spread, soup, stew, and vinaigrette.
The root is strongest when freshly grated, but it can also be pickled or cooked. The leaves of the horseradish plant are edible and can be used with salads or cooked as a green with a sharp, bitter, and peppery flavor.
- Wasabi: both roots are from the brassicaceae family, so they have very similar flavor profiles, but horseradish is more intense in spice.
- Mustard: mustard causes a similar reaction of heat felt throughout the sinuses, so it’s a suitable substitute for horseradish.
Horseradish Compliments and Pairings
The spicy heat of the horseradish root works well to enhance meats and vegetables or balance sharp acids. Ingredients which pair best include beef, pork, chive, potato, beetroot, egg, fish, oysters, sour cream, cream, lemon, vinegar, apple, and radish.
Horseradish Expiration and Storage
- Fresh: store fresh horseradish wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for up to two months.
Fun Facts About Horseradish
- Horseradish is a substitute for the expensive and difficult to cultivate wasabi, most wasabi is in fact horseradish and green food coloring.
- Shakespeare mentions horseradish within Tewkesbury mustard, in Henry IV ‘his wit’s as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard’.
- The spice within horseradish is a defense mechanism to prevent the plant from being eaten.
Popular Horseradish Recipes
- Bloody Mary
- Horseradish dumplings
- Tewkesbury mustard
- Sfecla cu hrean
- Horseradish soup
- Celeriac and horseradish gratin
- Horseradish deviled eggs
- Horseradish gravy
- Oysters with apple and horseradish dressing