How to Make Homemade Horseradish

Though I was originally told that the time to dig horseradish root is in the spring, before the leaves form, I have since learned that you can dig up horseradish any time of year, as long as the ground is not frozen. Therefore, I decided to make a batch of ground horseradish last week so we’d have some for Thanksgiving dinner.

Ingredients for Prepared Horseradish

  •  1 cup peeled and cubed horseradish root
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Since horseradish is not a particularly attractive plant, and because it spreads, we have ours planted behind the old chicken coop. Though I’m sure you can make bigger batches, we like to grind our horseradish as we need it.

What our plants would look like if it weren't November in Ohio.

I normally only dig up enough root to make a jar or two.

These are relatively small roots. Larger one are often twisted together.

Brush the dried dirt off the horseradish root. Use a sharp vegetable peeler and paring knife to remove the (very) tough bark and expose the white horseradish root. As you clean the roots, place them in a bowl of cold water.

Next, chop the horseradish into smaller pieces. This makes the horseradish root much easier to process.

Chunks of horseradish root before I added the other ingredients.

Drain the horseradish root and dump into the bowl of a food processor. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt. (Make sure you have plenty of room in the processor—I started this batch in my Black and Decker mini processor and ended up sloshing vinegar all over the counter.)

*Just a warning: Processing the raw horseradish begins rather violently. It is noisy and the food processor may shake a bit.

Processing the horseradish in my often-used Kitchen Aid food processor.

Process the horseradish mixture until it is finely ground and the pieces look uniform. Carefully remove the lid from the food processor and scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is processed; If the mix is too coarse, the finished product may taste bitter or woody.

*Another warning: Do not put your nose too close to that lid…this stuff is potent!

The finished horseradish.

Once you’re happy with the finished grind, spoon the prepared horseradish into a 1/2 pint jar or small container; store it in the refrigerator for a day or two before eating.

(When you first grind the horseradish, it may not taste that great, but let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days and…wow!)

Serve the finished horseradish with ham, beef, or kielbasa, or try this recipe for creamy horseradish sauce.

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11 Comments on “How to Make Homemade Horseradish”

  1. Suzanne Burkett says:

    Every year I grow the roots and make horseradish, however, the last two years, it tasted too bitter. I use white vinegar and sugar and use a food processor. Any suggestions? Thanks

  2. Cheryl Digs says:

    When I bought my farm in upstae NY the old farmer told me” Harvest the horse radish during the Januaray thaw, the root is the most tender and it has the most flavor”. I just dug some up out of my lily of the valley patch (August)and it still very hot but VERY WOODY.

    • Thanks for stopping by.

      I’ve heard that. However, I’ve had success harvesting horseradish throughout the year IF I stick to only using the smaller, tender roots.

      I also thin the patch from time to time to give the roots somewhere to go.

  3. The Chairman says:

    Thanks, you are most helpful. I’ll carry out some further tests!

  4. The Chairman says:

    I’ve just followed your recipe. I blended the ingredients and I’ve just put the mixture in the fridge, as instructed.

    I was blasting it quite a while and the mixture still tasted quite woody. It’s also looks a bit drier than your pic.

    I’ll let you know the results in a couple of days.

    Eyes still stinging!

    • Horseradish tastes much better after a few days in the fridge. Let me know how it turns out.

      • The Chairman says:

        After a few days in the fridge it tastes great, thanks! Do you have any tips for making it more potent?

      • Apparently the heat is affected by when you add the vinegar.

        From Yahoo Answers: Here’s some good info on how to make fresh horseradish hotter. I read on several websites that it’s most important to use a very fresh horseradish root and the later you add the vinegar (to stop the enzymatic process of the crushed root) the hotter it will be. If you add vinegar immediately, it will be milder. If you add it after 3 minutes, the horseradish will be HOT!!!!:

        Here’s the important part of the article from that website:

        What Makes Horseradish Hot?:
        The sharp and piquant flavor and the penetrating smell of horseradish become apparent when the root is grated or ground. This is because the root contains highly volatile oils which are released by enzyme activity when the root cells are crushed. In processed horseradish, vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavor. So the degree of heat is determined by when the vinegar is added to the fresh horseradish. For milder horseradish, the vinegar is added immediately. If exposed to air or stored improperly, horseradish loses its pungency rapidly after grinding. Fresh horseradish also loses flavor as it cooks, so it is best added towards the end of a dish when cooking.

  5. That looks delicious. I love horseradish, but I tend to make it a little strong. It clears the sinuses.

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