Horseradish is one of those flavours everyone is familiar with. It pops up in crisp flavours, jars of condiments and even the odd Bloody Mary. It is so rare that the fresh root makes its way into our shopping baskets, which we think is a real shame. Why? Well, it’s a fiery edible that is far superior in its fresh form than pureed in a jar. In fact, just a pinch of the fresh stuff will have tears streaming from your eyes and steam coming out your nose.
Best used sparingly, horseradish root is great where mustard does the heavy lifting. Where you might have mustard in a sandwich, with a roast dinner or perhaps stirred into some mash potato, substitute in a little grated horseradish and you wont regret it. If you keep your horseradish in the fridge, it should last a while so you can enjoy that bold wasabi-like hit for some time. We suggest treating it like you would a block of parmesan - used as a topping every so often to give your meal a bit of an edge. We absolutely cannot recommend grating onto a spaghetti bolognese though.
To the untrained eye, horseradish growing in the wild will look a lot like dock leaves. There are differences in the way the leaves look - horseradish is generally larger, glossier and altogether a bit more succulent-looking - but the real test is in the taste. The good news is that dock leaves are also edible so a little nibble of a stem will help you identify the plant immediately. If you aren’t brave enough to eat a wild plant without knowing it (sensible!) then a quick smell will also do the trick.