Horseradish is a root vegetable and a member of the Brassicaceae family. It is related to broccoli, wasabi, and cabbage. With the addition of green coloring, it can be used as a substitute for wasabi in sushi. The smell of horseradish is not noticeable until you cut into it. The hotness in the fruit is due to the presence of the compound Isothiocyanate.
Pepper is hot. The amount used in cooking or the type of pepper determines how hot it is. That kind of heat sets your tongue on fire. If you are served a dish, and it contains a mystery white sauce with heat that attacks your throat, eyes, and sinus, that is horseradish. It has a special kind of heat that differs from that of pepper.
What does horseradish taste like? Horseradish is hot and spicy, it has a radish-like flavor, but with a kick. The taste of horseradish is quite distinctive. While some have tried to compare it to salsa or chili peppers, it is quite different. It is more intense than chili pepper or salsa but the heat is short-lived.
The compound Isothiocyanate doesn’t react until it makes contact with air or saliva. So, the hotness manifests when you peel, cut, or grind the horseradish.
Horseradish looks like a tuber but it is a vegetable. Because of its pungent odor, you have to take certain precautionary measures when handling it.
Nutritional Benefits of Horseradish
Horseradish is not just some vegetable that is used because of its spiciness. It has a history of being used for medicinal purposes. Horseradish has a lot of health benefits to offer the human body. It contains quite a lot of basic nutrients that are necessary for growth. Nutrients like magnesium, folates, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and zinc
Horseradish can help to improve respiratory health. The burning sensation that the vegetable has on the throat and nose improves respiratory health. Some studies have shown that horseradish is capable of treating sinus infections. But more research needs to be done concerning that subject to verify its correctness.
This vegetable has a high amount of antioxidants which can help to prevent cell damage. These antioxidants protect the cells by attaching themselves to free radicals that cause cell damage. Horseradish might also be able to keep chronic diseases that affect the stomach, lungs, and colon away.
Horseradish contains a compound known as sinigrin. Sinigrin can reduce inflammation in the body by transforming parts of the immune system that cause inflammation. The studies carried out to come to this conclusion also suggest that Sinigrin can help relieve symptoms of atherosclerosis.
Culinary Uses of Horseradish
Horseradish is usually prepared commercially but you can prepare it by yourself. You can use horseradish to make dishes and recipes much livelier. The hot spicy flavor can be used to add a kick to almost anything. It is very versatile and can be used in various forms.
Traditionally, horseradish is served as a spicy complement to Meat. That is not all you can use horseradish for. It can be added to fillings for baked goods or spread on your toast for sandwiches.
Horseradish can be used in drinks. You can add a cut of horseradish to your juice or smoothie. Freshly grated horseradish can be added to a classic Bloody Mary or any other kind of drink you want to have.
The commercially prepared version of the horseradish is usually used as a condiment. The flavor is quite intense, so some people have learned to tone it down with vinegar. If vinegar is added to horseradish, it would stop the process of Isothiocyanate and stabilize the flavor. If you don’t like your horseradish to be so hot, add vinegar immediately after you grind it. If you grind your horseradish and leave it to rest for about 3 minutes, it would get hotter.
Where is Horseradish From? How Do You Procure It?
The name horseradish is an English invention. The term “horse” denotes strength with the full name interpreting into a stronger kind of radish. This vegetable is indigenous to Eastern Europe. It has been cultivated way back in history.
Horseradish was mentioned in Greek mythology when the Oracle of Delphi told Apollo that horseradish is worth its weight in Gold. Evidence of horseradish has been found in the lost Roman city, Pompei. The vegetable was depicted on a mural found by archaeologists.
Horseradish was used as a cure for almost everything during the middle ages. During the European colonization, horseradish was introduced to North America. Collinsville, Illinois is known as the horseradish capital of the world. The region produces 85 percent of the world’s horseradish.
If you need to get horseradish you can walk into grocery stores and ask for it.
Can Horseradish Become Toxic?
Too much of everything is bad. Horseradish is not exempted from this rule. The consumption of large amounts of horseradish can be very toxic and result in diarrhea and bloody vomiting. Horseradish has been known to irritate the esophagus and pharynx and cause stomach ulcers to act up.
Facts You Don’t Know About Horseradish
- Horseradish roots can take care of biliary tract disorders and help to detoxify the liver.
- The scientific name of horseradish is Armoracia rusticana. It is part of the Brassicaceae family.
- Outside Japan, horseradish is used as a replacement for Wasabi because of how scarce the latter is. The name for horseradish in Japanese is seiyowasabi, which translates to Western Wasabi.
- Horseradish contains an enzyme horseradish peroxidase. This enzyme is usually used in molecular biology and biochemistry.