My dad is a big fan of horseradish. I like to eat horseradish too, especially in mashed potatoes. So I wondered how hard it is, really, to make your own horseradish. Turns out it is pretty easy once you find a grocery store that actually sells the root and once you get over the $7 per pound price. I bought way too much root and ended up freezing about a third of it.
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a perennial root in the same family as wasabi. This makes sense as the heat burns in your nose and makes your eyes water in just the same way. The horseradish plant can grow to be 5 feet tall and the root which this tasty condiment comes from has almost no smell.
The spiciness and pungent odors occur once you cut into the root and the enzymes in the plant quickly break down the glucose compounds into mustard oil. Crazy, I know. You have to mix the cut up horseradish immediately with vinegar or it will keep breaking down and become brown and bland and nasty bitter.
1 cup peeled, chopped horseradish root
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Blend in food processor. I alternated with pulsing and scraping the sides of the processor with a spatula to get the mix nice and creamy. Be careful when you open the processor. The air in your kitchen becomes deadly! My nose felt like all the hairs had been stripped from the inside of it!
Divide into jars and pass out to all your friends since it will take you months to get through the 1/2 cup you kept for yourself. That big jar in front is for my dad.
To cut the heat so you can enjoy the flavor, mix horseradish with mayonnaise and throw in some capers. I served this on the steak sandwiches I made tonight for Christmas Eve dinner. Recipe for steak sandwich to follow shortly.