Few people buy fresh horseradish from grocery stores. Actually, very few grocery stress carry fresh horseradish in their produce departments, as most consumers prefer buying prepared horseradish.
This “sharp” root vegetable, famous for its sinus clearing and eye watering characteristics has been cultivated for at least three millennia.
When the phallic-shaped vegetable is grated the cells release a volatile compound (isothiocyanate) but mixing the mass with vinegar prevents the eye watering effect.
Grated horseradish mixed with whipped cream or sour cream, or with cooked and grated beets along with a few other ingredients change the flavour of roasted beef, enhances strongly flavoured wild meat stews, cooked ham, roasted suckling pig just to name a few foods.
While horseradish enjoys popularity with British, Germans, and eastern Europeans, most southern Europeans find it too “strong” for their traditional recipes.
In fact, horseradish is a cool-climate vegetable and improves in flavour after a few frosts before harvesting.
Illinois, U S A, produces more than 50 per cent of the world’s supply of horseradish.
Horseradish contains vitamin C, folate, mustard oil and fibre.
Buy healthy looking horseradish free of soft spots and avoid green tinged specimens.
Keep refrigerated and grate only shortly before use. You can prepare horseradish at home by grating 225 grams ( 8 ounces) and mixing it with 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar and kosher salt.