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We are all guilty of buying condiments and sauces for one use and then letting them sit at the back of the cupboard or the fridge without ever knowing when we will next touch them.

This is particularly the case for sauces we buy for things like ThanksGiving and Christmas – one off occasions each year. One sauce that has a particularly distinct flavor, and therefore doesn’t compliment many meals too well, is horseradish.

With a unique flavor, horseradish sauce can make a massive difference to some meals and foods, but these are far and few between, meaning that the rest of the jar can often be left untouched.

To find out the best ways to use your horseradish and how to store it so that you can get as long as possible out of it, then look no further!

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What is Horseradish?

Fresh horseradish is an edible root vegetable, closely linked to wasabi, broccoli, mustard and radish. Much like radish and mustard, fresh horseradish has an extremely pungent flavor which makes it really unique in flavor.  

How to Use Horseradish

Horseradish root is primarily used to make condiments and sauce, as opposed to being eaten on its own. Horseradish can come as fresh horseradish roots, prepared horseradish or pickled horseradish, and then it can come available as horseradish sauce.

Prepared horseradish is made using horseradish roots, vinegar and salt, and comes in a jar. It is commonly used in things like salads.

Horseradish sauce, on the other hand, is created using similar ingredients to prepared horseradish but blended and then sometimes with the addition of cream or mayonnaise, which helps give it a milder taste. 

Fresh horseradish roots have a slightly spicy, sharp taste, and so combining it with something creamier helps to ease this flavor, which is why horseradish sauce is the most common way for people to consume horseradish roots.

How to Make Horseradish Sauce

There are many ways to use horseradish, but if you do find that you have fresh horseradish leftover, you can always try and make your own horseradish sauce.

Making your own horseradish sauce is really easy and can be a great way of using up a fresh horseradish root before it goes bad. The vinegar in the sauce helps to preserve the horseradish and so horseradish sauce tends to last longer than a fresh horseradish root.

For an 8 to 10 inch root, you should also have 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Start by peeling the surface layer off the root of your horseradish and then chop it up into small pieces before blending in a food processor. Blend in your water and if the mixture is too watery then drain some out before adding the vinegar and salt and blending that in too.

The smell of horseradish is extremely pungent and so working at arms length is definitely recommended. The vinegar will help to neutralise this, but sometimes people add in some cream of mayonnaise to help mellow the flavor even more – this is entirely optional.

Simply transfer your mix to a jar and you have some homemade horseradish sauce without the guilt of binning your horseradish roots!

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How to Store Horseradish

If you have some fresh horseradish roots, the best way to store this is in the exact same way as other vegetables of a similar type. When kept at room temperature, the roots will begin to rot quite quickly. The best way to store the roots is in the refrigerator and to use within a few days, however untouched roots can last up to a month if they are stored correctly and haven’t been cut open.

If your roots have already been peeled and chopped they will begin to lose their taste but develop pungency, these will not keep well and so you can preserve them by storing them in an airtight container with vinegar, salt and sugar, and this can be used in cooking at a later date – this is the equivalent of prepared horseradish.

If you have begun to chop the horseradish and do not want to make prepared horseradish, you can loosely wrap it in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge but you do need to use it up within a couple of days.

Storing store bought horseradish sauce or prepared horseradish is similar to any other jarred condiments. If unopened, store it in a cool, dry area somewhere. Once opened, make sure you keep it refrigerated.

Like any other condiments, horseradish sauce will come with a use-by date. Similarly to things like ketchup and mustard, they are usually good to eat for a few months beyond the use-by date, however horseradish sauce will deteriorate in flavor over time. To make the most of your horseradish sauce, you should use it within a month or two.

How to Tell if Horseradish has Gone Bad

Fresh horseradish is bad when it has started to soften and has a pungent, earthy scent to it. Like any vegetable, it can develop mold. If there are smaller black or brown areas, you can cut these off. If larger areas have turned darker in color then this is a sign that it is ready for the bin.

Similarly, you can tell if your horseradish sauce has started to go off if there are any signs of mold. It will also go slightly off in color or may develop a bad smell. If everything looks okay you can take a tiny bit to do a taste test.

If the heat you are expecting does not kick anymore, this may be a sign to stop using the sauce.

Don’t Eat Expired Horseradish!

Like anything, horseradish and horseradish sauce will eventually go bad. The best way to ensure your horseradish doesn’t go bad is to use it up by creating a horseradish sauce or prepared horseradish, or to store it correctly without opening the root up or allowing oxygen to get into it.

Horseradish should be stored in the fridge, as should horseradish sauce and prepared horseradish once they have been opened.

Creating your own horseradish sauce and prepared horseradish can be really easy, and is a great method to help preserve any leftover horseradish you may have.

How do you know if horseradish sauce is bad?

If it has developed a bad taste, color or you can see areas of mold developing on it.

How long does horseradish sauce last after opening?

All store-bought sauces will come with a use-by date, and can usually be used for a few months beyond this. Due to the vinegar in the sauce, it helps preserve the horseradish for a lot longer than fresh horseradish and if stored correctly in the refrigerator, it can usually be used for around six months to a year after being opened.

Can bad horseradish make you sick?

Bad horseradish is not likely to make you severely ill, but it will taste bad and can cause your stomach to become slightly upset, like any vegetables that have gone out of date.