Ever thought about homemade horseradish? I didn’t, until recently.
Why? Well, buying fresh roots of horseradish around here can be a challenging task, I might have seen some a couple of times throughout the years, but really not often. And once I did actually buy a small root and paid so much for it, it really put me off from buying it again.
But then, recently, I realized my friend has a huge horseradish plant in her garden, she’s been having that for years, but somehow I had never really taken notice of it until now.
So when I needed some fresh horseradish root to put into my green tomato pickles, I asked her if she has a small piece of horseradish root for me. “A small piece?”, she asked. “I have a whole bush if you want it.”
So she came in the evening with these large horseradish roots packed in newspapers, full of long “mustaches” and coated in dirt and told me that they are hard to get out of the ground, but I could get 20 times as much if I wanted (and if I dig for it myself… 🙂 ).
No, I did not need that much, the amount she brought me was enough to get me through the winter, I would say.
As it was quite a large horseradish root, I grated and froze most of it and only preserved a smaller amount in vinegar. Keeping the preserved fresh horseradish for long is not really an option, it will lose its hotness in the end, so I prefer to make small amounts and use the frozen horseradish for a fresh batch.
I always have a small jar of store-bought horseradish, often the creamed variety, in my fridge, I use it mostly when making beetroot salad or on sandwiches, and I am particularly thinking of smoked trout or leftover cold meat sandwiches.
I love that pungent, fiery flavor, horseradish sauce takes any regular sandwich or salad dressing to a whole new level.
Grind or grate fresh horseradish in a well-ventilated room. The fumes are potent—a whiff may be stronger than you expect! Using a blender for grinding makes home preparation more practical and less tearful than hand-grating. In either case, if you are cutting fresh horseradish, you may want to wear gloves.
What Makes Horseradish Hot?
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 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. 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.
Keep It Cold To Keep It Hot!
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.
You can store fresh roots for several months. Just wash them, place in polyethylene bags, and store at 32 to 38 degrees F.
Selecting Horseradish Products
If you like horseradish as hot as it can be, 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.
Grinding Fresh Horseradish
To grate your own horseradish by hand, hold cleaned and trimmed horseradish root firmly. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, carefully remove the outer layer. Rub peeled horseradish root against a fine grating surface using downward, criss cross motion.
A quicker, more efficient method uses a blender. Wash and peel the root as you would a potato and dice it into small cubes. Place the cubes in the blender jar. Process not more that half a container load at a time. Add a small amount of cold water and crushed ice. Start with enough cold water to completely cover the blades of the blender. Add several crushed ice cubes. Put the cover on the blender before turning the blender on. If necessary, add more water or crushed ice to complete the grinding. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, add white vinegar. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of grated horseradish.
The time at which you add the vinegar is important. Vinegar stops the enzymatic action in the ground product and stabilizes the degree of hotness. If you prefer horseradish that is not too hot, add the vinegar immediately. If you like it as hot as can be, wait three minutes before adding the vinegar.
Fresh horseradish roots may also be finely shaved or grated 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.
When I use “prepared horseradish” in a recipe, yes, it is bottled horseradish; but I like to drain it. Some of the processors make their horseradish with too much water in it. Our processor, J. R. Kelly here in Collinsville, makes the best bottled horseradish, but Gold’s up in New Jersey is also good. I do not like my bottled horseradish runny.
The Root Queen’s Guide to Horseradish
Holiday Horseradish Recipes
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
The pungency of fresh horseradish doesn’t seem to last. Grated right away, it tastes stronger than the prepared stuff in a jar, but over time its flavor fades. Is there a way to preserve that complex heat?
The flavor of the fresh horseradish root is far more vibrant and complex than the jarred stuff. To see if we noticed the flavor fading, we grated the fresh root and tasted it plain and in tomato juice after two hours, four hours, and overnight. Like you, we found that the more time passed, the milder the flavor. We did some research and learned that when horseradish is grated (or otherwise cut), its cells rupture, releasing an enzyme known as myrosinase. This enzyme rapidly reacts with another compound to form allyl isothiocyanate, the chemical that provides horseradish with its characteristic punch. But that sharpness is short-lived: Left unchecked, the enzymatic reaction quickly exhausts itself and the condiment loses pungency. We’ve found that commercial prepared horseradish, on the other hand, can last for weeks in the refrigerator without losing its punch. It turns out that the key is the vinegar it’s steeped in. The acetic acid preserves the root’s heat by slowing down the activity of the myrosinase, resulting in a more constant and gradual production of the potent compound allyl isothiocyanate. The upshot: more robust, longer-lasting pungency.
The lesson: To keep the kick in horseradish once you’ve grated it, add some vinegar. For an 8- to 10-inch-long horseradish root finely grated on a rasp-style grater (peel it first), add 6 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Refrigerated in an airtight container, the mixture will hold the heat for up to two weeks.
It is incredibly easy to make prepared horseradish. This traditional recipe uses fermentation (not cooking) to create a flavor-packed jar of horseradish.
Homemade prepared horseradish has a few advantages over store-bought versions:
- It is free of sulfites and other preservatives that are typically added to keep commercial horseradish bright white.
- Very affordable. As long as you can find a chunk of horseradish root, you can make prepared horseradish.
- Zero-waste, like all fermented condiments!
The first time I tried making my own prepared horseradish sauce was by accident. I sent Brad to the store for a piece of horseradish root so that I could use it to keep my pickles crisp. (I always make a huge batch of fermented pickles in the fall, they’re just so easy).
He came home with something that was about the size of my arm. It was far more than I needed, so I consulted my herb book and discovered that preserved horseradish is a traditionally fermented recipe. So, of course, I had to make some!
How to use prepared horseradish
A spoonful of preserved horseradish is an easy way to add a burst of flavor to all sorts of dishes. Here are a few ways to enjoy your homemade prepared horseradish.
- Traditionally, horseradish is served with roast beef. However, it is also delicious with pork or fish.
- Horseradish mayonnaise is perfect for sandwiches and burgers. Mix 2 Tbsp of horseradish with 1/3 cup of mayonnaise.
- Use horseradish as a mild version of wasabi paste for sushi.
- Mix it into hummus for a bit of added zip.
- Make a carrot, apple, and horseradish salad.
- Horseradish mashed potatoesare packed full of flavor.
- It’s fine to use preserved horseradish in other pickled and fermented recipes that call for horseradish. Like my fermented pickles or zucchini relish.
5 from 1 reviews
Homemade prepared horseradish is so easy to make. This traditional recipe is fermented and will last for months in the fridge. See the section above for six ways to serve preserved horseradish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1 x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: British
- Diet: Vegan
- 2 cups of horseradish, peeled and chopped (about 10 oz )
- 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar (with mother)
- 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- Horseradish is quite strong, so I recommend making this recipe outside. At least for the peeling and mixing. Otherwise, you may end up in tears!
- Start by peeling the horseradish. Depending on how fresh it is, you may be able to use a peeler, but tough and gnarly horseradish root can be peeled with a knife. Rinse the root after peeling.
- Coarsely chop the root, then place the chunks in a food processor or blender. Grind until the horseradish is finely diced.
- Measure two cups of loosely packed horseradish root into a bowl. Stir in the salt.
- Pack the salted horseradish into a small jar. Pour over the cider vinegar. You need just enough to fully submerge the horseradish (3/4 cup to 1 cup).
- Place the jar in a dark cupboard and leave it to ferment for at least 5 days and up to 4 weeks.
- After fermenting, cap with an air-tight lid and store in the refrigerator. Use within 6 months
- Store-bought horseradish is high in added sulfites, which is why it stays white. Your horseradish will turn slightly brown over time. It should last for up to 6 months in the fridge as long as you don’t double-dip.
- I find it handy to ferment in the final serving jar. This recipe will fit in one 500mL mason jar or two 1 cup mason jars.
- To ferment the horseradish, it is important to use raw cider vinegar with a mother. If you can’t find raw ACV, then simply skip the fermentation step and place the horseradish directly in the fridge. It will end up being vinegar pickled rather than fermented.
Keywords: traditional, preservation, vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, sulfite-free, preservative free, 3 ingredients or less, 10 minutes or less, simple
By grandmaof13 Follow
We grow our own horseradish. We also travel out of state for 4 months of the year(snow birds). I found that by the end of the winter, the horserdish had declined severly in quality and flavor. The dilemma was figuring out how to keep the horseradish that long without losing the quality.
My first experiment was with canning. I do lot of canning and thought it would not be a problem. It had a vinegar base, so I figured a 10 minute water bath would do it. Wrong. It exploded, looked terrible and tasted worse.
I could, of course just cover it with sand and carry it with us. Not something I wanted to do.
Step 1: Make and Preserve Horserdish
Scratcher or scrub brush
Bullet, ninja or some grinding tool
Step 2: Make and Preserve Horseradish
White distilled vinegar
Step 3: Make and Preserve Horseradish
We grow our own horseradish, so we dig the roots up. If you decide to grow horseradish, it is advisable to grow it in a more or less contained area. It can be aggressive and spreads easily. We have ours next to the asparagus patch, away from our main garden. Do not throw even the peelings anywhere you do not want horseradish to grow. I put the leaves back on the patch. I put the peelings in a plastic bag and put it in the trash.
Cut off the top of the plant. Wash the root in clear water, scrubbing it with a scracher or scrub brush.
We found that the best thing to peel the root with was a potato peeler. After peeling the root, cut into small chunks. At this point you will find that the root is starting to get pungent.
Step 4: Make and Preserve Horseradish
I recommend that you do this step outdoors, or at the very least, in a very well ventilated room. Experience speaks. The horseradish fumes are very strong. Tears run, and the nose burns. You cannot even breathe through your mouth to avoid the smell.
The first few times we ground the root in a regular blender. It was slow and did not handle the horseradish well.
We bought a Bullet, and found that it did the job much better. The last time we ground horseradish, I thought I had burnt up the Bullet. I called my daughter and had her bring over her Ninja. It did the job much faster. I think the cut was a little rougher, but it was adequate.
Giving a precise amount of vinegar is difficult. For one thing it depends on how much root you are going to grind. I pour a couple of inches of vinegar in the bottom of the grinding instrument and then add the root. If it is too runny add more root, if it is too dry add more vinegar. Be stingy with the vinegar, you can always add more if needed.
Although I pictured the bullet, my husband said to me, “Why don’t you buy the Ninja before we start”. What woman could pass up a chance like that? I did the rough grind with the Ninja and finished it off with the Bullet.
Step 5: Make and Preserve Horseradish
Fill the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch head space. Put the lids on, but do not tighten them down. Place in the freezer. After they are fully frozen, tighten down the lid. These travel well and refreeze without loss of flavor or quality. When we travel, I place the jars in a vacuum bag, primarily to be sure they don’t get water in them from the cooler.
I love horseradish, the hotter the better. When you buy it prepared you’re pretty much stuck with what comes in the jar. But it turns out it’s pretty simple to make your own. A knife, a food processor, two ingredients and five minutes later you’re done. Awesome.
(this is not an exact science, so no measurements this time)
Cut off a couple of inches from the end of the horseradish root and peel it.
I’ve seen this recipe done without peeling it first. I’m sure it makes no difference to the flavor, but you can see little brown specs in the finished product. I’ll take an extra minute to peel it. But I’ll do it quickly with a knife, not carefully with a vegetable peeler. The less time you spend handling fresh-cut horseradish root the better.
Now dice the root into chunks small enough to fit comfortably in your food processor.
Put the chunks in the food processor — since I’m using a mini, I had to dice pretty small — and run it until everything is finely chopped.
I’ve seen this done in a blender, but you’d have to make a pretty big batch for that to work well. I like the mini-chopper since I can do just enough for a single meal.
Carefully remove the lid from your food processor.
I’m completely serious about doing this carefully. I’ve seen recoemmndations to only do this outside. I think that’s taking it a bit far, but don’t expect this to just be run-of-the-mill food heat. If you get too close to the horseradish at this point it’s like chemical tear gas. I thought because I didn’t smell anything at arm’s length that I might have gotten a bad root, so I stuck my nose right into the chopper and inhaled deeply. It felt like I’d been punched in the nose. Don’t do that! Learn from my mistake.
The longer you process the root — or even let it rest — without adding vinegar the more heat it will develop. When it’s hot enough for you, pour in just enough vinegar to cover all the root.
Process again to make sure everthing gets coated, then strain the vinegar out using a strainer or simply a paper towel over a bowl. (You might recognize this technique from the pages on rendering tallow and storing bacon fat.)
Once it’s done draining, turn the finished horseradish out and serve with rare roast beef.1 And that’s it.
1 If you think this is foresadowing an upcoming post, you’ve been paying attention. If you just can’t wait, you can check out this earlier post for how to make pot roast. In fact, you might want to use that one anyway, unless you plan on spending 12 hours tending a spit over a fire. Subscribe using the link in the column to the right — you won’t want to miss this one.
Horseradish is a hot, peppery root that releases its volatile oils when processed. Hot horseradish is best prepared in a food processor to contain its pungent odor, which can sting the eyes. Adapted from Serious Eats’ simple Sauced: Horseradish recipe, this recipe recommends adding Tabasco or a hot sauce of your choosing to create a fiery hot horseradish.
Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Servings: Around 1/2 cup
Difficulty Level: Beginner
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh horseradish, cubed
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice), optional
Peel and Cube the Horseradish Root
Peel the horseradish root with a vegetable peeler, making sure to remove all the tough, dark skin until only the white flesh remains. Cut the root into roughly 1/2-inch cubes, until you have enough to fill 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
Pulverize the Horseradish
Pulse the horseradish in a food processor until finely chopped. Let sit for 5 to 7 minutes; the horseradish will increase in heat the longer it rests.
Finish the Hot Horseradish
Add the white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt and Tabasco or hot sauce of your choice to the food processor and pulse until just combined.
Store the Horseradish
Scrape the horseradish into an airtight storage container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Substitutions and Variations
Horseradish is hot on its own, so feel free to leave the Tabasco or hot sauce out if the heat is too much.
If you don’t own a food processor, use a blender. You can also use a hand grater to shred the horseradish root, but do so in a well-ventilated area and wear eye protection.
White vinegar has a potent sour tang, whereas apple cider vinegar is more mellow, with underlying hints of sweetness. If you’d prefer a stronger white vinegar taste, go ahead and use a full 3 tablespoons. If you want to mellow the acidity and add more sweetness, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Stir in a generous spoonful or 2 of sour cream to make a hot horseradish cream sauce that has a cooling effect.
Horseradish: How to can your own homemade canned horseradish sauce (complete directions with photos )
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For refrigerator or freezer storage
(Photos coming soon)
You think making your own horseradish sauce is difficult or expensive? Not at all! You won’t believe how much more flavor it has than the store bought horseradish sauces. Perfect for shrimp cocktail, with prime rib or roast beef and Yorkshire pudding!
So, here’s how to make horseradish sauce! The directions are complete with instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated.
Prepared this way, the jars have a refrigerator shelf life of about 1 or 2 months. The pungency of fresh horseradish fades within 1 to 2 months, even when refrigerated. For that reason the batch is small. Let’s be clear about storage: the USDA says that the prepared sauce should be stored only in the refrigerator or freezer, not at room temperature.
Directions for Making Horseradish Sauce
Yield: about 1 pint total, usually canned in 4 four-ounce jars or 2 8-ouce jars
Ingredients and Equipment
- 3 or 4 horseradish plants (about 2 lbs of roots, minus the tops) to produce about 2 cups (or 3/4 lb) of freshly grated horseradish (see step 1)
- 1/4 tsp powdered ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh)
- 1 cup vinegar (5% acidity) (note: I have successfully substituted lemon juice)
- 1/2 teaspoons canning or pickling salt (optional – besides flavor, it helps with color and retaining pungency)
Pickled Horseradish Sauce Recipe and Directions
Step 1 – Selecting the horseradish
The most important step! You need horseradish that are FRESH and crisp. Limp, old horseradish will make nasty tasting canned horseradish. Guests will probably throw them at you.. Select firm, crisp horseradish. Remove and discard any soft, diseased, spotted and chewed up horseradish.
How much horseradish and where to get it
You can grow your own, pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store. About 3 or 4 plants with of 1-inch diameter roots makes about 4 four-ounce jars – similar to the ones in the grocery store.
Step 2 – Wash the horseradish
I’m sure you can figure out how to scrub the horseradish in plain cold or lukewarm water using your hands or a vegetable brush. Wash horseradish roots thoroughly to remove as much dirt as feasible.
Step 3 – Trim the ends and cut into smaller pieces
Cut the small roots off and with a vegetable peeler and a sharp knife, peel off brown outer skin.
Step 4 -Grate the horseradish!
I prefer to use a blender, pouring the vinegar or lemon juice in to help liquefy the roots and keep the blender moving it around. But the peeled roots may also be grated in a food processor or cut into small cubes and put through a food grinder. Grating horseradish releases the enzymes that cause the hot flavor. And the finer the grind, the hotter the heat!
Step 5 – Mix in remaining vinegar, salt and ascorbic acid.
I prefer not to use any salt, and for ascorbic acid, I use “Fruit Fresh”. Just mix them up (again I do this in the blender). Note that adding the vinegar stops the heat from developing, so if you like very hot horseradish, let the grated horseradish sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour, before adding the vinegar!
Step 6 – Store the jars in the refrigerator
Just put the lids on and put them in a colder part of your fridge!
Try to use them within 2 months!
From left to right:
- Jar lifting tongs to pick up hot jars
- Lid lifter – to remove lids from the pot of boiling water (sterilizing )
- Lid – disposable – you may only use them once
- Ring – holds the lids on the jar until after the jars cool – then you don’t need them
- Canning jar funnel – to fill the jars
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to can horseradish sauce in a traditional water bath? If so how long do you do process them?
A. No, the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation has not found a reliable, safe way to can horseradish, using home canning equipment (which includes both water bath canners and pressure canners). It’s fine to prepare it and store it in the refrigerator or freezer!
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Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It’s much cheaper than buying the items separately. You’ll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
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