Horseradish has been named the Herb of the Year for 2011.


10 Things to Know About Horseradish

April 20th, 2011

  1. Horseradish is the ugly brother of the crowd favorite condiment triumvirate (ketchup, mustard and mayo). It has been around for thousands of years.
  2. Horseradish is the root of the Armoracia rusticana plant. Its cousins are wasabi, mustard, broccoli and cabbage.
  3. When the root is peeled and grated, it releases a chemical similar to mustard oil. This creates a unique aroma that is both mildly irritating to the nasal passageways and bitterly pleasant.
  4. Grated horseradish must immediately be mixed with vinegar or else it darkens and becomes a bitter mush.
  5. The horseradish vinegar mix, and variations on these two main ingredients, are used as a condiment for meat and fish, in sandwiches, and also in some cocktails.
  6. Nutritionally, horseradish is a good source of various vitamins and minerals, but since it is consumed in such small quantities (teaspoon or tablespoon max), they barely register. No calorie worries either.
  7. The origin of the name “Horseradish” is unverified. One of the stories is that in order to soften up the roots before grating them, horses would stamp them.
  8. In Eastern Europe, prepared horseradish is called Chrayn, and is usually prepared with beets and some sugar to balance the heat.
  9. Southwestern Illinois grows 85% of the world’s horseradish !
  10. Horseradish is sold in small jars. Look at the ingredient list to choose a simple preparation without sulfites as preservatives. Vinegar is all that’s needed. Some sauces are mixed with mayonnaise and the calorie count for a dollop of these can be quite high.