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What Makes Horseradish Hot? (And How to Make It Hotter)

What Makes Horseradish Hot? (And How to Make It Hotter)

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Horseradish is a condiment that many people like to add to their food. It is hot and spicy, and it adds flavor to most dishes. It can be used with meats or shellfish, and often people use it in sauces. You can also add it to salad dressings, relishes, gravies, and more.

Some people use a lot of it to make food spicy, and others use a little bit just for flavor. Either way, horseradish is a favorite for many people.

What Is Horseradish?

Horseradish is a root vegetable that is used as a condiment, as well as for medicine purposes. It is neither related to a horse or radish; in fact, it is a member of the mustard family.

It is believed that the name is an adaptation in English from the German name, meerrettich. This means sea radish, and it grew in coastal areas in Europe. Meer sounds like mare, and it may have then transformed to horseradish.

Horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable with a long, white root and green leaves. When the root is cut, an enzyme inside the root breaks down sinigrin into mustard oil. This oil is what makes horseradish hot and spicy.

Once the root is cut, it is usually preserved in salt, sugar, and vinegar to be used as a condiment. The sauce form includes mayonnaise or sour cream with this mixture.

What Makes Horseradish Hot?

Cutting the roots of horseradish is what makes it hot. When you cut the roots, an enzyme is released to break down the sinigrin inside into mustard oil. This oil releases compounds called isothiocyanates that can clear out your sinuses.

Often people neutralize this reaction with vinegar, which can make the horseradish milder. The sooner the vinegar is added, the more mild the flavor will be.

How to Make Horseradish Hotter

One way to make horseradish hotter is to wait to add vinegar. The longer you wait, the spicier and hotter it will be.

In addition, if you cool the horseradish immediately after it is cut and grated, it will stay hot and spicy. It should be stored in a jar that is tightly sealed in the refrigerator or freezer to hold its flavor.

You will also want to find horseradish with whiter roots. The whiter roots indicate that it is fresher and will be hotter. Over time, the horseradish roots darken and lose their pungency.

The key to determining how hot your horseradish will be is when you add the vinegar. If you add it right away, it will stabilize the flavor and make it milder. You only need to wait three minutes to add the vinegar to make it hot enough to make you cry.

You will add two or three tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and ½ teaspoon of salt per cup of grated horseradish.

If you use a fresh, white root and wait three minutes to add the vinegar, you will have very hot horseradish. Once it is ready, you can seal it in a jar and put it in the refrigerator or freezer to hold its pungent taste.

Final Thoughts

Horseradish is a favorite condiment for many people. It is a root vegetable that is a member of the mustard family. It has a distinctive flavor and odor that makes it unique.

Some people try to neutralize the flavor to make it less spicy, but many people enjoy making it as hot as possible. The key is to prepare it correctly and make sure that it is fresh.

When you look at the horseradish, make sure that the roots are white. The whiter they are, the fresher. Once they start changing to a browning color, they will lose some of the pungency and flavor.

You can chop up the root and grate it, and this will release the isothiocyanates that give it its hot flavor. If you wait three minutes before you add the vinegar, the horseradish will be very hot. If you want it to be milder, add the vinegar right away to stabilize it.

You can keep horseradish for up to six months in the refrigerator or the freezer. Put it in a jar and make sure that it is tightly sealed. If you want to keep it in the freezer, use a sealed plastic bag. Keeping horseradish cold will also make it hotter.

Horseradish loses its pungency over time if it is left out. The key is to make sure that it is fresh and then store it properly. It has medicinal uses because it has cancer-fighting compounds, and it has antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.

It is low-calorie and contains fiber and protein, and it will clear out your sinuses as well. You get all of these health benefits in addition to its pungent flavor.

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