Horseradish is believed to be native to Russia or Hungary. It is related to the mustard family, thus its biting flavor and aroma. The “horse” moniker refers to the size of the root as well as its pungency and was used to distinguish it from other radishes. At one time, horseradish was referred to as “German mustard.”

Used for thousands of years, horseradish is one of the five symbolic bitter herbs celebrated in the Jewish Passover Seder.

In the United States, an estimated 24 million pounds of horseradish roots are ground and processed annually to produce approximately 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish.

Each May, the International Horseradish Festival takes place in Collinsville, Illinois. Events include a root toss, a horseradish eating contest and a horseradish recipe contest. Begun in 1988, the festival was designed to create national awareness for the herb and the area where most of the world’s supply is grown, according to festival organizers.

The mustard-like oil in horseradish is the element that can bring tears to the eyes much like onions do, as well as the feeling of heat on your tongue. Like mustard, the heat and fumes rapidly deteriorate once the horseradish is cut or grated and exposed to air. Heat eliminates both aroma and the heat, which is why true horseradish lovers prefer horseradish raw and freshly grated.

The bite and aroma of the horseradish root are almost absent until it is grated or ground. During this process, as the root cells are crushed, volatile oils known as isothiocyanates are released. Vinegar stops this reaction, stabilizes the flavor and locks in the heat.

Horseradish Nutrition

In one tablespoon of prepared horseradish, there is only 6 calories , 1.4 grams of carbohydrates, 14 milligrams of sodium, 44 milligrams of potassium, 9 milligrams of calcium, 5 milligrams of phosphorous AND ZERO FAT. Review the label of your favorite horseradish for its specific nutrition information.

Horseradish Root

Horseradish root has antiseptic and stimulant properties, plus can aid in digesting rich and oily foods. Some people mix a little horseradish into salads, believing it wards off colds and chills and gets rid of persistent coughs. What gives it this kick? A glycoside called sinigrin that releases horseradish’s acrid sulfur bearing oil through enzymatic action. But continued heat reduces the pungency dramatically. It should always be added at the end of cooking at a low temperature.

Horseradish and Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight, make sure horseradish, mustard and salsa are on your shopping list, advises recent guidelines on obesity from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These condiments received high marks throughout the guidelines for their low-fat, high-flavor qualities. There are also studies underway and some that already suggest that hot foods can give your calorie burning ability a boost.

Ways to Eat Horseradish

Varieties of prepared horseradish include cream style prepared horseradish, horseradish sauce, beet horseradish and dehydrated horseradish.

  • Give store bought deli items, like cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans, an exciting new taste.
  • Make familiar “comfort foods” even more indulgent. Add horseradish to mashed potatoes, meatloaf, applesauce served with pork roast, sour cream on your baked potato.
  • A spoonful added to any meat stock adds a delightful flavor and surprisingly delicate horseradish taste to soups.
  • Cut down on cholesterol by using horseradish instead of butter and salt to top vegetables.
  • Season pizza sauce with horseradish before baking for a new twist on an old favorite.
  • Give corn-on-the-cob, sliced carrots, green beans, peas, or new potatoes a flavor boost with this easy butter: 1/2 cup soft butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish to 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt.

Horseradish Helpers

Add a little flavor to your next meal with horseradish!

At breakfast, add prepared horseradish to scrambled eggs, omelets and hash browns before cooking. Wake-up Eggs Benedict with a spoonful of horseradish added to hollandaise sauce or simply serve prepared horseradish straight out of the jar and on the side with sausage.

Add a splash to tomato juice for an early morning eye opener.

For lunch, add prepared horseradish to mayonnaise or salad dressing for sandwiches or to French dressing for salads. Spike ready-made deli items such as coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad with a heaping spoonful of horseradish.

At dinner, substitute prepared horseradish for butter and salt as a low calorie, non-fat vegetable topper. Add one (or two) spoonfuls to canned or homemade soups. Mash horseradish with potatoes or mix with low-fat sour cream for a quick baked potato topping.

Try adding a spoonful of horseradish to hollandise sauce and serve with salmon or asparagus.

Baste ribs on the grill with a combination of 2 tablespoons dry white wine, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon hot mustard.

Spark up beef stroganoff with a dollop or two of horseradish.

Try a dollop of horseradish on a steamy roast beef. As it turns out, this natural taste-enhancer may also be a useful food preservative.

As an appetizer: For tangy deviled eggs, mix together 4 minced, hard cooked egg yolks, 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, 1 teaspoon minced onion, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spoon mixture into egg-white halves.

Blend cream cheese with prepared horseradish for a nippy taste. Spread on thinly sliced ham. Roll up and place, seam side down, on plate. Chill. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Horseradish as a Snack

Filled Celery Stalks: Fill celery stalks with a mixture of 1 cup mashed avocado, and 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish. Sprinkle with paprika and chill.

Horseradish Yogurt Dip: Take 1/4 cup low fat yogurt, 1 tablespoon horseradish and 2 carrots. Place the yogurt and horseradish in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Scoop up the dip with the carrots. 1 serving. Nutrition information: Calories: 94; Fat: 1.5g; Saturated Fat: 0.9g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 150mg; Carbohydrates: 15.6g; Dietary Fiber: 3.9g; Protein: 6.1g

Horseradish Remedies

Anyone with a case of congestion knows that a dose of horseradish can instantly help. However, you can also apply it to acne and melasma for a natural remedy.

Quick Horseradish Recipe: Horseapple Sauce

Prepared horseradish sauce
1 or 2 Delicious apples

Grate 1 to 2 Delicious apples and stir into the prepared horseradish sauce. Serve with steak or on a steak sandwich. Makes 24 servings.

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