Prepared horseradish refers to peeled, cleaned and ground horseradish which is preserved in vinegar and bottled. The sharp and piquant flavor and the penetrating smell of horseradish become apparent when the root is grated or ground. This is because the root contains highly volatile oils which are released by enzyme activity when the root cells are crushed. In processed and prepared horseradish, vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavor. So the degree of heat is determined by when the vinegar is added to the fresh horseradish. For milder horseradish, the vinegar is added immediately.
How to select
To prepare horseradish at home, use fresh horseradish roots. A good quality root is clean, firm, and free from cuts and blemishes. The freshly peeled or sliced root and the prepared product are creamy white. Generally, the whiter the root, the fresher it is. When available, fresh roots will be found in the produce section. High quality commercial or home processed horseradish has a creamy white color, a pungent, penetrating aroma, and a hot, biting taste. As processed horseradish ages, it darkens and loses it pungency and in time off-flavors may develop.
· Prepared horseradish is a condiment and used to flavour many recipes or used as an accompaniment
· The main use is in horseradish sauce. 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.
· Prepared horseradish is used to make salad dressings or dips.
How to store
To keep prepared horseradish (commercial or homemade) at its flavorful best, store it in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator or in the freezer. It will keep its good quality for about four to six weeks in the refrigerator and for six months or longer in the freezer. Buy or prepare only the amount of horseradish that can be used in a reasonable time.
· The heady, strong smell of prepared horseradish clears your sinuses pretty quickly.
· 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.
· 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.