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Also known as
Mountain radish, Red cole, Horse plant
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. Horseradish is a long, rough, tapering root, not unlike a parsnip, with rings, and tiny roots sprouting from the main root. Japanese horseradish, or wasabi, is a pale green powder, similar in flavour to horseradish but made from the tuber of a herb, Wasabia japonica.. When intact, the root has little aroma. Once scraped or broken, it exudes a penetrating smell and is apt to irritate the nostrils, making the eyes stream even more than onions do. The flavour and the taste is very strong, very hot and sharp.
Fresh grated horseradish
Fresh radish can be grated at home quite easily but the root should first be trimmed and scraped under running water to remove soil. Not much flavour lies in the central core, which is difficult to grate, and should be discarded. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, carefully remove the outer layer. Rub peeled horseradish root against a fine grating surface using downward, criss cross motion.
Fresh horseradish roots may also be finely shaved and added directly to a food. This simple method is frequently used by discriminating cooks. Fine shavings may also be placed in a dish of lemon juice to be served at the table.
It refers to dried and powdered horseradish. It is reconstituted by mixing with water but, like powdered mustard, remember to allow time for the full flavour to develop.
Frozen Horseradish- Horseradish freezes well, just put it into small containers and cover with a layer of plastic wrap before sealing.
How to select
Horseradish is sold fresh, but is more often available grated. Dried, flaked and powdered horseradish is also sold and this retains its pungency more fully than the grated form which is stored in vinegar. The best fresh roots are thick and well grown; thin and insubstantial roots, apart from being hard to use, are inferior in pungency.
· Horseradish is the perfect accompaniment for rich or rather fatty foods.
· The main use is in horseradish sauce. This is made most simply by mixing the grated root with sugar and vinegar to the desired consistency. However, cream, sour cream or wine is also a common base for this traditional English sauce to accompany roast beef, sometimes spices such as garlic, mustard and pepper are added.
· As a sauce, horseradish also complements tongue, sausages, cold egg dishes, cheese, chicken and hot ham.
· Mixed with yogurt it is a piquant topping to baked potatoes.
· Horseradish butter is excellent with grilled fish and meat.
· In America, horseradish is a favourite flavouring in party dips. With grated apple it makes a sharp dressing for fish, and in tomato-based sauces, like "seafood sauce" for shrimp cocktails.
· It may be mixed to a paste in the same way as mustard and used similarly as a condiment.
How to store
The whole root can be kept in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator for a few weeks. Grated horseradish may be kept in white vinegar or successfully frozen in a sealed container and used as required. If exposed to air or stored improperly, horseradish loses its pungency rapidly after grinding. Fresh horseradish also loses flavor as it cooks, so it is best added towards the end of a dish when cooking. You can store fresh roots for several months. Just wash them, place in polyethylene bags, and store at 32 to 38 degrees F.
· Richer in vitamin C than orange or lemon, horseradish is also a stimulant, diuretic, diaphoretic, rubefacient and antiseptic.
· Being a gastric stimulant, it is good with rich or fatty indigestible foods.
· In dropsy, it benefits the system by correcting imbalances in the digestive organs.
· Bruised horseradish was once used to soothe rheumatism, gout, swellings and chilblains.
· Horseradish is a good expectorant, soothing for respiratory problems, and may help relieve rheumatism by stimulating blood flow to inflamed joints.