Name Variations[edit | edit source]
- German mustard
About Horseradish root[edit | edit source]
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."
Horseradish is a member of the mustard family and is native to Eastern Europe, although it may have originated in Asia, Germany, or the Mediterranean area. The ancient Greeks used it, so did the Hebrews — it is one of the 5 bitter herbs of the Jewish Passover. The strong flavor of this root has an underlying sweetness and seems more like garlic than a spice.
Availability, Selection, Storage, and Preparation[edit | edit source]
Horseradish roots are available year round but are plentiful during the fall and early spring. Buy roots that are hard avoiding sprouting, greenish tinges, blemishes, and shriveling.
Although Horseradish is one of the most popular vegetables used in different dishes, you can get it for a very reasonable price. If you are cooking for a large family, you will want to purchase larger quantities of Horseradish and store them properly. The cost of this vegetable varies depending on many different factors, such as marketplace location, local competition, type of Horseradish that you want to purchase and so on. An older Horseradish will most likely cost less than a freshly picked one, but this also depends on where you buy it from, as some stores might not differentiate their vegetables like this.
Store these roots in plastic bags and refrigerate up to a week or freeze grated root in an airtight container for several months. Scrub the root and peel the brown skin. Finely grate or food process the root.
With an ever-increasing speed of life, cooking times are now more important than ever. Cooking Horseradish is fast and easy, thus recommending this vegetable as a good first choice for many meals. When cooking this vegetable you should try and slice it up, so that you diminish cooking time even further. Most dishes using Horseradish require you to prepare it before starting the dish, but only call for cooking it for a short time. Sine this vegetable cooks so quickly, it’s a good idea to supervise it closely so that it doesn’t get overcooked.
There are so many ways in which you can use Horseradish. Cook it in soups, chop it up and toss it in salads or use it as a side dish for different meat dishes. The list of Horseradish recipes is almost endless, mainly because this is a very popular vegetable in many countries and chefs are always coming up with innovative ways of preparing Horseradish. Many vegetarian menus place Horseradish within the top ten plants, but this nutritious vegetable is also used in many meat-based dishes.
Prepared horseradish[edit | edit source]
Cooks use the terms "horseradish", "horseradish sauce" or "prepared horseradish" to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in color. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will start to darken, indicating it is losing flavor and should be replaced.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Vegetable of the Month: Root Vegetables by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, public domain government resource—original source of recipe