How To Properly Prep Fresh Horseradish

Grated horseradish with parsley on table
Grated horseradish with parsley on table - photocrew1/Shutterstock

The innocent-looking horseradish root transforms into one of the most pungent vegetables upon freshly chopping, or grating it -- the more pulverized, the more heat it releases. That's why, before this spicy veggie is incorporated into a dish, it needs to be freshly grated. However, there's one caveat: After exposure to air for some time (about 30 minutes), the freshly grated horseradish root loses its pungency and becomes bitter. Therefore, you need to prep it in such a way that it maintains its kick so you can add it to your dishes whenever you like. Enter prepared horseradish.

Prepared horseradish is basically freshly grated horseradish soaked in vinegar. Yes, you can buy it from the store, however, homemade is so much better and pretty straightforward to make once you get the hang of it. Begin by selecting fresh horseradish roots: Firm, unblemished, and heavy for their size. Avoid any with green spots, and that are soft or moldy. And when you're ready to prep, ensure you're in a well-ventilated room, or even outside, as the pungent fumes can irritate your eyes or nose.

Wash the roots thoroughly then peel them. Next, grate using a microplane or the smallest holes on a box grater. Alternatively, chop them into small cubes first then grind them in a food processor. Once pulverized, open the processor (with your face turned away to avoid the fumes), then add white vinegar and salt. Vinegar halts the enzymatic process that produces the heat and preserves the flavor.

Read more: Vinegar Cooking Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

How To Use Prepared Horseradish

Homemade horseradish sauce in bowl
Homemade horseradish sauce in bowl - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Now that your prepared horseradish is ready, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and you can use it for several weeks to come in whichever dish you like. Keep in mind that this vegetable has a strong kick, so start by adding only a small amount to your meals. One of the most common uses of prepared horseradish is in sauces. You can whisk in a spoonful into sour cream or mayonnaise to create a spicy dip to serve with roast beef or other grilled meats. The spicy vegetable also works well in salad dressings. Just combine your salad dressing ingredients with a bit of the creamed horseradish and mix well. Once the flavors meld after a few minutes, dollop the dressing over your bowl of greens and dig in.

You can also use horseradish as a flavoring for dishes. For example, spooning the prepared horseradish into your mashed potatoes and folding it in will add a delightful zingy flavor. And, to flavor deviled eggs, add horseradish to the yolk mixture before pipping it back onto the egg halves. Another popular use is in cocktails, particularly in a Bloody Mary. A bit of horseradish can give your drink an extra zing that complements the tomato juice and spices. And finally, prepared horseradish is a great condiment. Just slather it on your sandwiches and burgers for a flavorful upgrade.

Read the original article on Tasting Table