This bold, hot root, contrary to its name, is poisonous to horses! It is also the “new” wasabi since its “wasabi root cousin” became too scarce to use. The uncut or ungrated horseradish root shares none of its aroma. However, once open, it produces a mustard-oil type substance which highly irritates eyes and sinuses. To immediately tame it and keep it from turning a dark color, mix with vinegar.
It only makes sense the wildly pungent horseradish was highly popular in the stout-hearted Slavic regions of Central Eastern Europe, with the Yiddish, Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Slovakians and Russians who made heavy use of horseradish in traditional as well as religious observances.
The ancient Greeks had a party with the many properties of horseradish from medicinal to artistic to herbal. From Eastern Europe, consumption of horseradish gradually spread north to Scandinavia and westward to England where it became a must with beef and oysters. By the 1800s they liked horseradish in Boston.
The horseradish root belongs to the Brassicaceae family along with mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage.
As horseradish is so strong and consumed in small quantities, it is of little consequence it contains zero fat and few calories.
In these busy days most people buy horseradish in a jar and use it straight or add it as a very versatile ingredient to many dishes. You will be able to choose from a cream style prepared or a sauce. Keep the jar tightly covered and refrigerated to preserve its flavor. Once it takes on a beige color, replace it.
Make homemade horseradish sauce with the grated, peeled root, water, white vinegar and a pinch of salt.
Cole slaw/potato salad
Horseradish sauce on roast beef
Mashed with potatoes
Roast pork and lamb
With mayonnaise as sandwich dressing
With sour cream or Greek yogurt as sauce