Preparing Horseradish

Learn to prepare the root known for bringing the heat, horseradish.

From Heirloom Herbalist
Fall 2013

  • If you haven't grown your own horseradish, you can buy it shrink-wrapped at most grocery stores.
    Photo by Jim Long

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Preparing Horseradish

Freshly-chopped horseradish root, when exposed to air, begins an enzymatic reaction which causes it to become hotter very quickly. Adding vinegar stops the reaction and locks in the heat. If you want little heat, add vinegar when chopping the root. But if you like the bite and heat, use a bit of water in the food processing step, then add vinegar about 5 minutes after you’ve ground up the roots. Once the horseradish has been stabilized by the vinegar, it won’t become any hotter, but exposure to air again, such as leaving it out of the refrigerator for an hour or so, will quickly diminish the heat.

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