HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


fresh horse radish??

Finally bought a hunka horse radish root at supermarket today. Wasn't AVOIDING it for any reason, just never bought it before. Looking for tips/hints/advice on use/storage. Have no idea if it'll be hot or HOT until I have at it. Like to use HR in my "pink" cocktail sauce and in yolk mixture for deviled eggs. Usually buy jarred stuff (Keltcher's) but it starts to lose it's ZIP too quickly... flavoe still there but kick dwindles.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Fresh loses it's kick even quicker once it's grated. And the key is to grate rather than cut to release the heat. Then set it with vinegar within the first 30 minutes after grating.

    1. SHould I just peel about as much of the root that I plan to grate and then just stash back iin veggie drawer in zip bag?

      1 Reply
      1. we just prepare enough for that day, grate and mix. I've never heard of setting it with vinegar

        2 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          I always add white vinegar to mine - not sure what "setting it" is supposed to be, but I do it for flavor and a more spreadable consistency. I know plenty of others who do it too, think it's traditional Jewish-style.

          1. re: BobB

            The idea of setting is that it will hold the "pop" of the flavor a bit longer - some even say intensify it a bit. Salt should also do some preservation. Most importantly, cover it tightly or the kick will diminish. Sometimes, when I want it to be real bright, I simply grate it on plates at the table as if it was black pepper (especially if it's just me and the Mrs).

            I don't know if it's really "traditional Jewish-style" so much as traditional Eastern European style. Although it's true that horseradish use appears to date to Ancient Egypt and Greece (Oracle at Delphi), I think some of the developments in the way we eat it are more likely more recent. Nonetheless, it's an interesting food history idea to consider.

            Edit - I shoulda added that I love fresh horseradish, to the point I pretty much use it exclusively. I like it to garnish steaks, chops, eggs, fish, liverwurst, etc., not to mention that it is essential in a Bloody Mary.

        2. I make freshly grated horseradish everytime I make gefilte fish.
          for those who like red horseradish add beet juice or grated beets
          i also add vinegar
          and a pinch of sugar

          1. My brother always uses fresh horseradish at Passover time and it's ALWAYS a challenge to keep it hot for any length of time. He's done endless research and tried countless methods of preserving it, but it always loses its punch within a very short time. This much I know for certain -- it MUST be kept in a tightly covered jar. The horseradish at the bottom of the jar will be significantly hotter than the stuff at the top, so dig down for the hottest portion. Vinegar does seem to help to sustain it and it must be added very soon after the horseradish is grated.

            1. You people are crazy. Have you ever actually DONE this yourselves? Whoever hasn't, DON'T TRY IT. As soon as you grate it a little the most HORRENDOUS NOXIOUS fumes come out. You can't even be in the same room with this stuff. It will burn your eyes and nose and throat. I'm no mary with strong smells and flavors, but this stuff is different.

              If you must insist, I recommend you cut into chunks, put in a food processor WITH VINEGAR, then spin, so the vinegar can immediately absorb/neutralize the gas. I would also recommend this as the way to keep the flaovor as long as possible. If you grind it without vinegar, that's just a chance for those flavors to evaporate into the air.

              In the same vein, horseradish-based "sauces" that use oil, you know, the horseradish "cream" if you will, would also logically keep their flavor longer - doubtful the flavors will evaporate once dissolved in oil.

              And salt will NOT help preserve the flavors. Salt will help preserve a food from SPOILAGE, but that's not a flavor-preservation thing, at least not with horseradish and most foods. Not that you shouldn't have salt, you should for flavor (tongue flavor, not aroma - yes I get the difference).

              7 Replies
              1. re: peanuttree

                "Have you ever actually DONE this yourselves?"

                Hundreds of times - starting when I was probably seven or eight.

                "As soon as you grate it a little the most HORRENDOUS NOXIOUS fumes come out. You can't even be in the same room with this stuff. It will burn your eyes and nose and throat. I'm no mary with strong smells and flavors, but this stuff is different."

                Wow, that was quite the dramatic recitation. If you truly believe that the aroma wafting off of freshly grated horseradish are the "most HORRENDOUS NOXIOUS fumes", you have clearly been lucky enough to live a pretty sheltered life.

                1. re: MGZ

                  Excuse me?
                  No, I've done this before, and there are countless historical and other accounts of this.

                  How about you actually read or try it yourself in large doses before going out your way to insult me for no reason?

                  If you're not getting the same fume from grating it, you're using weak horseradish or not doing a lot at once or you have ventilation or you're dropping it into vinegar immediately.
                  The one time I tried it I was in my parents huge kitchen in their huge house and I still couldn't even be in the kitchen with this stuff. I had to bail as soon as I realized how bad it was.

                  1. re: peanuttree

                    I shall simply submit that we are very different guys.

                2. re: peanuttree

                  <You people are crazy. Have you ever actually DONE this yourselves? Whoever hasn't, DON'T TRY IT>

                  This is what I find objectionable. This is a food site and we should be encouraging people with accurate information not scaring them.

                  Grating your own horseradish is not crazy or dangerous. If you have a good exhaust hood you can grind under the hood and have very little exposure to the fumes which can be strong.

                  Horseradish can be grated and used as a coating with no preservation method used. If you are grinding to make prepared horseradish then you do want to add an acid to hold the heat and preserve the root from oxidation.

                  I make 5 lbs at a time for family celebrations and live to tell about it.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    it's not inaccurate. I've done it before. What happened is as I described. I'm not the only one who's experienced this

                    1. re: peanuttree

                      my great grandfather used to grate his own horseradish, my great grandmother was particularly sensitive to the smell, although she loved the taste in certain foods. popa was made to go down to the - unventilated - basement to make it.

                      peanuttree, you might consider that not everyone feels as you do, and you might consider less acerbic ways of expressing your ideas.

                  2. re: peanuttree

                    In the words of an old English comedy show (Round The Horne) - 'Many, many times!'. It is a real pleasure to inhale those pungent fumes and then to scream until blue in the face. Isn't that what life is all about? Your comments about keeping the heat are pertinent but it never lasts that long in my house. It is wonderful with grilled steak, sometimes in combination with mustard and makes a tangy addition to mayonnaise with seafood. I always use it in prawn cocktail sauces. I find it freezes well for 6 months or so and, just like ginger root, grates well straight from the freezer. As for Wasabi, I love it too but it's very hard to find here except in London. It is rumoured here that a WW11 pilot first broke the sound barrier after eating a whole root. of horse radish.

                  3. And don't forget to try some fresh wasabi root from the west coast. You won't use the green powder again.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Fred Rickson

                      I was surprised to find that whole foods actually includes real wasabi in their little green packets in the sushi counter. Damn, they're really dedicated to fresh, gourmet food. I don't care for the whole organic, save-the-earth thing but I've been pleasantly surprised since I've been going there.

                      1. re: Fred Rickson

                        Where do we get the fresh wasabi root. And do we have to take out a new mortgage?

                        1. re: Quill

                          Google fresh wasabi retail. First was an Oregon product, now more widely grown. The mortgage is up to you!!!

                          1. re: Quill

                            I have seen fresh wasabi in Japanese market Mitsuwa in NJ

                            1. re: jpr54_1

                              I can vouch for that too, in Edgewater, in Mitsuwa, I seen fresh, real wasabi root

                        2. HR, especially fresh, is a great anti-inflammatory food that works against arthritis and helps the heart. Just sayin...

                          1. Here in England and in many countries in Europe fresh horseradish is still commonly used. The stuff we use comes in roots around 1 - 1 /2 inches in diameter (at the shoulder) and used to be seasonal but is now year round. We grate it finely and 'pickle' in vinegar but cream and other things can be used. It should be explosively hot, especially if kept on the dry side. I keep a couple of roots in my freezer to ensure I never run out. It is VERY easy to grow but don't use peaty soils, it makes for a multiple root growth, the last thing one needs.

                            1. If you like horseradish fresh, its really easy to grow. If you buy a whole root that has some smaller "bulbs" attached to the larger root, simply break them off and plant them. They grow well in loose soil. Great flavor when you pull them out and grate them. Had a steak at a resto in Montreal a couple of weeks ago where they served it under a shower of freshly grated horseradish. Terrific.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Bkeats

                                "[T]hey served it under a shower of freshly grated horseradish."

                                That's what we do at home. Just put the root on the table with the grater like it's parmesean cheese.

                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                    When it's just me and the Mrs., it's kinda common - even sometimes with roasted chicken. However, I had a steak party not long ago where I took a whole slab of NY strips, cut them to "order", and grilled over an oak wood fire. I served the meat with baked potatoes, sauteed spinach, and a four inch chunk of fresh horseradish. Everyone thought it was so cool to grate the root onto their meat. Moreover, it stayed good and hot until the last minutes (I did peel before bringing it to he table).