Prepared horseradish

Easter is coming, so it’s time to share the recipe of prepared horseradish. In Hungary horseradish is an inevitable part of the Easter menu, boiled ham can’t be served without this condiment. Stores offer a wide range of bottled varieties, but homemade prepared horseradish tastes fresher and more intensive, and it’s twice as strong as the store-bought versions.

Horseradish root
Horseradish root – photo: zserbo.com

Horseradish is one of those foods that people either love it or hate it. Some people can’t resist it, and some people will leave the room if it’s on the table. Horseradish is a member of the mustard family and it’s known for its pungent taste and odor. The telltale smell and aroma of horseradish comes from isothiocyanate, a volatile compound that, when oxidized by air and saliva, generates the “heat” that clears out anyone’s sinuses.

Horseradish is available year-round in most places, but harvest season is in spring. If you don’t have access to a garden plant, you can often find the roots at markets. When buying horseradish roots, choose those that are firm, not soft. Roots that appear dry or shriveled are not ideal, either.

Prepared horseradish
Prepared horseradish – photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (~7 oz) fresh horseradish root
  • 100 ml (~1/2 cup) water
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt

Peel the horseradish and cut out any dark veins. Rinse thoroughly. Keep the windows open and prepare some tissues. Either you grate the horseradish finely on a box grater or you cut the horseradish in smaller pieces and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. (The net weight of my grated horseradish was 110 grams / 3 3/4 ounces.)

Add water, vinegar, honey and salt to the grated horseradish and mix well. (The amounts of these seasonings are informative only, always degust and adjust them according to your taste.). Transfer the flavoured horseradish in a jar and refrigerate until serving.

The following step is for those who don’t like hot horseradish.

Heat reduces the “hotness” of horseradish, so if you would like to make it milder, cook the seasoned horseradish in the oven at 200°C / 392°F for 5-10 minutes. Cool completely, then put in the fridge.

This is the basic recipe of prepared horseradish, which can be enriched with cream, sour cream or mayonnaise.

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