Should Horseradish Be Refrigerated?

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Store horseradish, whether fresh or prepared, in the refrigerator. A member of the mustard family, horseradish is prized for its hot flavor. By reducing its exposure to heat and light, refrigeration helps preserve both the zesty bite and color of this root vegetable.

Prepared Horseradish

Most consumers who enjoy horseradish on sandwiches or as a complement to meat dishes buy it grated and mixed with vinegar. Once opened, the product must be tightly sealed and refrigerated immediately to protect it from the deteriorating effects of heat and light. This will preserve the horseradish's flavor and maintain its color. As the product ages, it will begin to turn brown, indicating a loss of freshness and flavor. Replace horseradish frequently for full flavor. Additional products that require refrigeration include creamy prepared horseradish, horseradish sauce, horseradish mustard and cocktail sauce containing horseradish. They too will lose flavor when exposed to heat and light.

Homegrown Horseradish -- Perennials

Since horseradish is a perennial plant in many areas of the United States, gardeners in climates with freezing temperatures will harvest the horseradish root as needed through the winter, as long as the ground is workable. If the root remains underground and is not exposed to light, it will maintain its color and potency. Once harvested, the horseradish root should be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, or stored in a root cellar with a constant temperature between 32 and 38 degrees. The root will begin to turn green and sprout if exposed to light and warmth.

Homegrown Horseradish -- Annual

In warmer climates, where the ground temperature stays above 40 degrees year-round, horseradish can be grown as an annual garden plant. Store the roots in the refrigerator so they can be replanted in spring. Refrigeration at 32 to 40 degrees will provide the cool dormancy period the plants need to simulate winter. The roots can be stored in the refrigerator for over six months. Store horseradish roots loosely wrapped in plastic to keep them from drying out.

Homegrown Horseradish Sauces

Dormant horseradish roots have the most flavor. Once harvested, they should be kept in the refrigerator or a root cellar to prohibit sprouting and growth. When making homemade horseradish products, prepare only the amount you will use in a short time. Once you grate horseradish and mix it with vinegar or add it to other sauces, it will not retain its flavor for long. Grate a small amount of a root, process it as desired, wrap the remainder in plastic and refrigerate for future use.

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