Horseradish: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits, history, and culinary uses of horseradish in our ultimate guide, and learn how to incorporate this pungent root into your daily life.

What is horseradish?

Horseradish is a root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family, which includes mustard, wasabi, and cabbage. Originating in Eastern Europe, this pungent, spicy root has been used for centuries to add flavor and heat to various dishes. Its taste can be described as a sharp, sinus-clearing heat that's both refreshing and invigorating. Horseradish is commonly used in sauces, dressings, and as a condiment for meats and seafood.

Is Horseradish Healthy?

Yes, horseradish is healthy! This root vegetable is low in calories and packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It also contains glucosinolates, compounds that have been linked to various health benefits, such as cancer prevention and immune system support.

7 Health Benefits of Horseradish

  1. Boosts immune system: Horseradish is rich in vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system, protecting against colds and infections.

  2. Aids digestion: The natural enzymes in horseradish can help improve digestion and prevent bloating and gas.

  3. Anti-inflammatory properties: Horseradish contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with conditions like arthritis.

  4. Cancer prevention: Glucosinolates in horseradish have been shown to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells.

  5. Antibacterial properties: Horseradish has been found to possess antibacterial properties, which can help fight off harmful bacteria.

  6. Supports healthy liver function: Studies suggest that horseradish can help protect the liver from damage and improve its function.

  7. Weight loss support: Being low in calories and high in nutrients, horseradish can be a healthy addition to a weight loss diet.

History and Background of Horseradish

Horseradish has a rich history dating back over 3,000 years. It was first cultivated in Eastern Europe and was used both as a food and a medicine in ancient Greece and Rome. Throughout the centuries, horseradish has been prized for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, from respiratory issues to digestive problems.

What is the Best Way to Store Horseradish?

To preserve the freshness and quality of horseradish, store the whole, unpeeled root in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When properly stored, it can last for several weeks. Once grated or prepared, store horseradish in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within a week.

What are the Different Types of Horseradish?

There are two main types of horseradish: common horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and Japanese horseradish (Wasabia japonica), also known as wasabi. While both types have a similar pungent taste, wasabi is generally considered to be more intense and hotter than common horseradish.

What is the Best Substitute for Horseradish if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have horseradish on hand, suitable substitutes include wasabi, mustard, or a combination of Dijon mustard and white vinegar. These alternatives can provide a similar sharp, spicy flavor in your recipes.

What Cuisines Use Horseradish?

Horseradish is used in various cuisines, including Eastern European, German, British, and American. It's a popular ingredient in dishes like roast beef, cocktail sauce, and the classic Jewish condiment, chrain, or horseradish paste.

How is Horseradish Made?

Horseradish is typically made by grating the fresh root and combining it with vinegar, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like sugar or mustard. This creates a potent, flavorful condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Why is Horseradish Called Horseradish?

The name "horseradish" is believed to have originated from the Old English word "hoeradisc," which means "coarse root." Another theory suggests that the name comes from the German word "meerrettich," meaning "sea radish," which was later mispronounced as "mareradish" and eventually became "horseradish."

Horseradish vs Wasabi: What's the Difference?

While horseradish and wasabi are both members of the Brassicaceae family and share a similar pungent taste, they are different plants. Horseradish is native to Eastern Europe, while wasabi originates from Japan. Additionally, wasabi is generally considered to be more intense and hotter than horseradish.

What Is The Horseradish Paste You Can Buy In Refrigerator Section Of A Grocery Store?

The horseradish paste you can find in the refrigerator section of a grocery store is typically a prepared condiment made from grated horseradish root. It is commonly sold in jars or tubes and is known for its strong, pungent flavor.

Horseradish paste is made by grating the horseradish root, which releases its distinct aroma and heat. The grated horseradish is then mixed with vinegar, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like mustard or sugar to create a paste-like consistency. The vinegar helps preserve the horseradish and gives it a tangy flavor.

How Long Does Horseradish Paste Last In Your Fridge?

Horseradish paste, when stored properly in the refrigerator, can last for several months. The exact shelf life can vary depending on factors such as the brand, quality, and specific ingredients used in the paste. It's important to check the expiration date or "best by" date provided by the manufacturer on the packaging.

As a general guideline, unopened horseradish paste can typically last for several months, often up to one year, when refrigerated. However, once the container is opened, the shelf life can be shorter. Once opened, horseradish paste should be tightly sealed and stored in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and flavor.