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(About Horseradish(root))

Revision as of 20:22, January 21, 2010

Hradish

Horseradish(root)

Name Variations

  • german mustard

About Horseradish(root)

Wikipedia Article About Horseradish on Wikipedia


Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which includes mustard and cabbages. The plant is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, but is popular around the world today. It grows up to 1.5 metres (five feet) tall and is mainly cultivated for its large white, tapering root, although the leaves are also edible.

Its root is used as a vegetable or ground in a condiment called prepared horseradish, and has at times been used as the bitter herbs in the Passover meal in some Jewish communities. Horseradish, sometimes blended with cream and called horseradish sauce, is often served with roast or boiled beef or sausages, as well as smoked fish. Horseradish is also used in some prepared mustards. Also, much of what is styled wasabi is actually common horseradish dyed green.

The horseradish root itself has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosilinate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if not used immediately or mixed in vinegar, the root darkens and loses its pungency and becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.

Over two thirds of the world's horseradish is said to be grown in a small region around Collinsville, Illinois in the US, the self-styled "Horseradish Capital of the World", whence it is even exported overseas as a gourmet version of the product to places more renowned for consumption of the root. The biggest US production for domestic supply comes from Silver Springs in Eau Claire,Wisconsin.

It has been speculated that the word is a partial translation of its German name Meerrettich. The element Meer (meaning 'ocean, sea', although it could be derived from the similar sounding Mähren, the German word for Moravia, an area where the vegetable is cultivated and used extensively) is pronounced like the English word mare, which might have been reinterpreted as horseradish. On the other hand, many English plant names have "horse" as an element denoting strong or coarse, so the etymology of the English word (which is attested in print from at least 1597) is uncertain.

Horseradish contains potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as volatile oils, such as mustard oil, which is antibiotic. Fresh, the plant contains 177,9 mg/100 g of vitamin C.

The enzyme horseradish peroxidase, found in the plant, is used extensively in molecular biology in antibody amplification and detection, among other things. For example, "In recent years the technique of marking neurons with the enzyme horseradish peroxidase (HRP) has become a major tool. In its brief history, this method has probably been used by more neurobiologists than have used the Golgi stain since its discovery in 1870."[1]

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