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7 Things You Need To Know About Horseradish

Dennis’ Horseradish was proudly founded in 1960, but horseradish history goes back much further. Check out this list of our top seven quirky, fun, must-know details about this small but mighty root vegetable.

1. Worth its weight in gold

Horseradish has been around for a long, long time, dating back to antiquity.

Fun fact: according to Greek mythology, the Oracle of Delphi, told Apollo that horseradish was worth its weight in gold. Now that’s how you get a good reputation. ๐Ÿ†

2. Why do we call it ‘horseradish’?

Fortunately (or unfortunately?), it doesn’t have to do with horses.

The word horseradish in English was first recorded in the 1590s. It’s believed that the ‘horse’ was used figuratively to mean ‘strong’, along with the word ‘radish’, due to the root.

In other Europeans languages, it’s usually spelled like “khren” and you might also hear it called can de bretagne, cranson, great raifort, moutain radish, moutardelle, pepperrot, among many others.

3. The secret to the spice

If you love horseradish, you’ll probably also love the whoosh of heat that comes along with it.

That heat is actually due to a volatile compound called isothiocyanate. Interestingly, horseradish won’t be hot until it’s grated or ground – this is when the root cells are crushed and isothiocyanates are released.

What’s more, just chewing it makes it hot! It’s the mix of air and saliva that oxidizes the compound, creating that hot feeling that seems to really clear out your sinuses. ๐Ÿ˜…

4. Most common ways to enjoy horseradish


As a condiment enjoyed around the world, there are tons of ways people enjoy eating prepared horseradish.

In North America, we often eat it with roast beef, in Caesers (or Bloody Marys), in seafood sauce, with oysters and on burgers. Check out our recipes here for some of our favourites, including a supremely easy and underrated dip, perfect for veggies or chicken wings.

In the UK, it’s part of a traditional Sunday Roast, in France, it’s a staple of Alsatian cuisine and in Jewish culture, grated horseradish is often part of a traditional Seder plate during Passover.

In addition, it’s commonly used in salad dressings, potato salads and as a topping for any grilled or roasted fish, meats or veggies.

5. Is it like Wasabi?

Yes and no.

Horseradish and wasabi are totally different root vegetables, but they are from the same family and used in similar ways.

Both are root vegetables of the Brassicaceae family, also known as the mustard family. (Also known as cruciferous vegetables, other common veggies in this family are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and kale.)

โ€œRealโ€ wasabi comes from Wasabia japonica. However, due to the wasabi root being difficult to cultivate and prepare, horseradish often stands in for wasabi – mixed with food colouring, of course.

6. Health benefits you’ll love

Horseradish is filled with nutritional benefits, which arguably puts it in the superfoods group.

Rich in calcium, fibre, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and many more important nutrients, this small but mighty root truly is worth its weight in gold.

Moreover, along with showing antioxidant properties, a 2016 medical journal reported evidence that a component of horseradish, sinigrin, showed promising results of health benefits, including:

Be sure to ask your doctor or health care professional if you’re interested in learning more about these findings. You can also check out our 9 favourite health benefits of horseradish here.

7. They love it Sweden?

We love this recent post out of Sweden, highlighting some awesome facts and uses for horseradish. As mentioned, we typically think of it as an accompaniment for red meat dishes in Canada. However, in Nordic countries, it’s usually served with fish.

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Let's talk about horseradish: the nordic ginger/garlic/wasabi! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿด๐Ÿ‘ โ€ข This root is an easy plant to grow that is optimal for the Scandinavian and Swedish climate. Horseradish has been cultivated by humans for a long time, for example, the Egyptians used it a lot and the legend has it the oracle from Delphi told Apollo, โœจย โ€œThe radish is worth its weight in lead, the beet its weight in silver, the horseradish its weight in gold.โ€ โœจ โ€ข It's a versatile and generous root that has a very rigid acidness, deep strength but also a very cool and complex overall composition of flavour. โ€ข The flavor is most potent when fresh so store it dark + cold and grade it close to serving. Horseradish is actually related to hot mustard and wasabi which means that the intense heat it stimulates extracts in the nose ๐Ÿ‘ƒ ๐Ÿ’จ rather than on tongue like chili ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘… โ€ข Classically this root is used in fish dishes and sometimes with meat, but we believe it is super good with vegan Nordic food. Like Scandinavian sushi, with meat substitutes (marinated in spices like thyme, sage, rosemary, and nutmeg), to replace garlic in any dish you would serve garlic butter, in bean spreads or as a cool fresh graded garnish in a salad ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿฅช๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿฅ˜๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿฅ—๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿž๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ โ€ข Have you tried horseradish lately? ๐Ÿ†๐ŸŽ—โœจ โ€ข #vartsweden #tasteofsweden #beyondfoodwaste #horseradish #delphi #oracleofdelphi #apollo #nordicfood #newsushi #radicalflavours #radicalfood #newflavor #combination #inspire #insteadof #replace #replacement #daretochange #rethink #progressivefood #local #livelihood #actnow #nowaste #foodcanfixit #foodwaste #planetaryhealthdiet

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The full experience

3 jars of horseradish

Now that you’ve heard learned a little about horseradish, it’s the perfect time to try it for yourself. Choose your favourite here, including our horseradish flights that feature a trio of our top-sellers and fan favourites.