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What is horseradish? Why is horseradish hot?


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© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
Question: What is horseradish? Why is horseradish hot?
Horseradish is not a radish, but it is spicy hot when fresh
Answer: Horseradish is a root vegetable native to Russia or Hungary. Despite its name, it is unrelated to radishes. Horseradish is most widely used as a condiment, both by itself and as an ingredient in sauces and dressings. If you enjoy the pungency of bottled prepared horseradish, you simply must try it fresh to experience the full breath-taking flavor experience.

It is the volatile mustard-like oil in horseradish that brings tears to the eyes and heat to the tongue. Like mustard, the heat and fumes begin to rapidly deteriorate once the horseradish is cut or grated and exposed to air. Heat eliminates both aroma and zing which is why true horseradish afficionados prefer horseradish raw and freshly grated.

More About Horseradish and Horseradish Recipes:

What is horseradish and why is it hot? FAQ
Horseradish Cooking Tips and Measures
Horseradish Selection and Storage
Horseradish History
Horseradish Recipes
Horseradish Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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