Scientifically checked

Horseradish

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 25. Jun. 2020

Horseradish has a spicy pungency that heats up a dish and adds a number of substances that are good for health.

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Horseradish...

  • ...acts like an antibiotic. Horseradish has shown to have a healing effect on various infectious diseases because of its mustard oil content.
  • ...may help prevent cancers. The mustard oil glycosides abundant in horseradish are among the secondary plant substances that are supposed to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • ...soothes coughs. The mustard oils abundant in horseradish have an expectorant effect and therefore help relieve coughs and bronchitis.
  • ...shortens urinary tract infections. Horseradish has an effect on urinary tract infections. It actively fights the bacteria responsible for inflammation and it has a diuretic effect so bacteria are excreted quickly.
  • ...boosts the immune system. For centuries, horseradish has been regarded as pure medicine for the immune system. This is partly due to its high vitamin C content (114 milligrams/100 grams), but also to its rich mustard oils, which have a positive effect on the immune system.
  • ...offers variety. Many people only use horseradish with smoked fish. But horseradish also tastes great in salad dressings, light sauces with fish or eggs, and in stews.
  • ...is best freshly grated. Paste and sauce from a jar are OK, but much tastier and healthier is fresh horseradish. Wash it well, before peeling and then grating it.
  • ...can't be tolerated by everyone. The pungency of the mustard oils contained in horseradish can be harsh for people with stomach, intestinal, kidney and thyroid diseases. This also applies to pregnant women, nursing mothers and children younger than 4 years old.

What You Should Know About Horseradish

Since horseradish tolerates frost wonderfully, it is usually left in the ground until the next spring and harvested only little by little. Using this method, the spicy roots remain top fresh without drying out or losing flavor.

Origin

Horseradish comes from eastern and south-eastern Europe; it still grows wild in the Ukraine and eastern Russia. 

Season

The main harvesting season for horseradish is the autumn and winter months from October to February. However, since horseradish keeps for a long time if properly stored, sales continue well into April. Ripe horseradish can be recognized by its leaves, which wither when the roots are ripe.

Taste

Horseradish tastes spicyand slightly (pleasantly) sulphurous.

Here you can find all horseradish recipes.

How Healthy Is Horseradish?

The essential oils in horseradish stimulate the blood circulation in the mucous membranes, so the root is considered a well-tried household remedy for colds and coughs.

The high vitamin C content (114 milligrams/100 grams) in horseradish supports the immune system; the abundant sulphur-containing substances also help, as they have an antibacterial effect.

Horseradish therefore has two advantages for urinary tract infections: It fights the bacteria responsible for inflammation while also having a diuretic effect so the bacteria present are excreted more quickly.

Horseradish appears in classic recipes combined with fish not only for culinary reasons. Sure, they taste great together, but there is also a health benefit to the combination: certain substances (so-called goitrines) in horseradish inhibit the thyroid production of hormones; iodine-containing sea fish effectively counteracts this.

Nutritional values of horseradish per 100 grams  
Calories 78
Egg white 2.8 grams
Fat 0.3 grams
Carbohydrates 11.6 grams
Fibres 7.5 grams

Shopping and Cooking Tips for Horseradish

Shopping

The horseradish skin should be intact and clean. The root itself may be slightly crooked, but it shouldn't have more than two "heads." Horseradish is available at the weekly market or in well-stocked supermarkets. Since the root looks similar to parsnips and parsley roots, you should make sure you get the right one when you buy it.

Storage

Well washed and patted dry thoroughly, horseradish can be stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for up to four weeks. Longer storage is usually not a problem, but the root will dry out. Once the root is cut, it should be used within two weeks.

Preparation

Before peeling the horseradish, peel it under running water. Then shake/dab dry before grating it on a fine or coarse kitchen grater. Freshly grated horseradish should only be added to the dish at the end of the cooking time, as prolonged cooking allows the aroma and pungent substances to evaporate.

What to Make With Horseradish

Grated horseradish is a classic seasoning for cold sauces, especially fresh and smoked fish, but also for beef.

You can also use the hot root to spice up salad dressings. If you like horseradish but find it too spicy, you can mix it with whipped cream or sour cream. Horseradish is certainly suitable for vegetable dishes, but it loses most of its aroma and pungency if cooked for a long time.

Knowledge To Go

Horseradish is super spicy, tasty and healthy. It helps with colds, is considered a bacteria killer and even prevents cancer.

If you have a cold with blocked sinuses, peeling and grating the horseradish can work wonders, as the escaping pungent substances cause deposits to flush out of the sinuses.

FAQs

What is the best way to freeze horseradish?

Put the unpeeled horseradish in a bread tin and freeze it. Alternatively the horseradish can be grated with a grater and sprinkled with lemon juice before freezing. This way the root will keep for several months.

What can be used instead of horseradish in recipes?

You can try a mixture of ginger and mustard seeds or a small amount of wasabi to create a similar spiciness.

What should you do if too much horseradish has got into the dish?

To reduce the pungency of the grated root in a dish, you can simply let it simmer a little longer. This allows the aroma to evaporate and the desired pungency is restored.

Scientifically checked by our EAT SMARTER experts
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