You can make horseradish, that pungent root used as a condiment on sandwiches and in dips, soups and casseroles, in your kitchen with just a few ingredients. A member of the mustard family — related to cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe, kale and mustard greens — horseradish has been around more than 3,000 years. Homemade horseradish keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer. Just keep your face away from the blender when you remove the lid after grinding fresh horseradish root, because those fumes are extremely potent.
Start with about 1/2 pound of horseradish root. Wash the horseradish root thoroughly and pat it dry with a paper towel. Hold the root firmly and use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin. Cut out any blemishes or residual peel, because you do not want anything but white horseradish root in your finished product. Chop the root into small pieces. Alternatively, if you are hand-grinding the root, leave it whole.
While you could grate the horseradish root on a mandolin, that process is time consuming. It is more efficient to grind the pieces in a blender. A blender works better than a food processor because it keeps the root confined to a smaller area and grinds the horseradish evenly. Work in small batches.
Add just enough cold water to the blender to cover the blades. Fill the blender not more than halfway with the horseradish pieces. Place the lid on the blender and grind the horseradish until it reaches the desired consistency. For each cup of ground horseradish, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 to 3 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar, depending on your preference. Make homemade horseradish hotter by waiting 3 to 5 minutes to add the vinegar. For a milder version, add the vinegar immediately after grinding. Alternatively, place hand-grated horseradish into a bowl, and add the vinegar and salt with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water. Mix it well.
Pour the horseradish into a clean glass jar and cover it tightly with a lid. Homemade horseradish can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 months. Alternatively, it can be frozen for 6 months to 1 year. To freeze homemade horseradish, place it in resealable freezer bags. Don’t freeze it in glass jars: Once frozen, they may break if they are filled too full.
Make your homemade horseradish into a creamy sauce by adding 1 1/2 cups of sour cream and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for every 1/2 cup of horseradish. Add finely minced shallots or chopped chives for additional kick. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate the sauce for at least 30 minutes to eight hours before serving, suggests Bon Appetit magazine.
Because the horseradish is so pungent, rinse the blender thoroughly immediately after use for easier cleanup. Disassemble the blade from the jar and the cap from the lid. Wash each piece in hot, soapy water.