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Cooking with Horseradish

Cooking with Horseradish

With its nubby brown skin, this fleshy white root belongs to the mustard family. It can grow up to 15" in length. It has virtually no aroma until you scratch its skin; then, it will emit a sharp, penetrating aroma, similar to mustard oil, causing your eyes to water. Horseradish enrages the tastebuds and nostrils with its highly volatile oils and hot, pungent flavor. It also clears the sinuses. It's a favorite for seasoning beef, smoked fish, and strong-flavored vegetables.

Choosing Horseradish
Look for clean, unbroken roots with firm (but not dry) flesh. When fresh horseradish is unavailable, use prepared horseradish, which has been grated and preserved in vinegar. Some makers of bottled prepared horseradish pack it with grated beet, which colors it purple-red and gives it a sweet flavor.

Storing Horseradish
Keep fresh horseradish tightly wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months. Or grate it and freeze it immediately by lining a plate with plastic wrap and dotting it with teaspoon-size mounds of horseradish. Freeze until the mounds are solid, then peel them from the plastic and place them in a zipper-lock freezer bag for up to 6 months. Return to room temperature before using. Use bottled prepared horseradish within 1 month of opening it; after that, it turns bitter.

Using Fresh Horseradish
Peel the root and remove the fibrous core before grating. Use or freeze grated horseradish immediately, as its flavor tends to fade quickly.

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