If you like a powerful punch, then horseradish is the food for you! It’s more commonly used as a condiment, both by itself and a great incorporation to sauces and dressings.
The condiment is made from the large, white root of the horseradish plant, and you’ll find it in the same family as mustard and wasabi. The leaves are also edible, giving you plenty of opportunities for versatile use. Horseradish root can be grated and used fresh, or it can be dried or powdered.
You would mostly find horseradish in its early years in Russia and Hungary. There was also some record of it being grown in Greek mythology in Pliny’s “Natural History,” and Shakespeare.
As a condiment, horseradish is made with grated horseradish root, vinegar, and salt. The explosive mustard-like oil in the condiment is very pungent, making your eyes water and your tongue burn. If you are up for the challenge, it adds great heat and flavor to your dish.
Aside from its spicy, dominant taste, horseradish has also been used medicinally all over the world for centuries. Some of its health benefits include helping to reduce inflammation, fight cell damage, and improve respiratory health.
Horseradish also contains a number of important nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, folates, vitamin c, and zinc.
Now that we know horseradish is beneficial to your diet, we need to know if it can last a while or if you’ll have to eat a whole root in a serving. Does horseradish go bad? The short answer is yes but it takes a very long time, and we love to hear it.
Read on to learn more!
Does Horseradish Go Bad?
Like almost every other food, eventually, horseradish does go bad.
However, the good news is that the process of horseradish going bad takes a long time and when it does, it’s hardly noticeable.
In fact, horseradish is one of the most flexible ingredients to work with because of its long shelf life.
Can Bad Horseradish Make You Sick?
Since the flavor of horseradish is very intense, eating too much of it can cause irritation in your nose, mouth and stomach. For some people, it can trigger and upset your stomach and you can get some digestive issues.
With that being said, expired horseradish won’t necessarily cause any harm, and is not unsafe to eat. It just won’t taste as good as you might want it to.
How Long Does Horseradish Root Last?
If it is properly refrigerated, horseradish root can stay fresh for 1 to 2 months in the fridge.
However, if you’ve already cut or grated the root, the flavor and pungency will begin to lessen sooner rather than later.
Therefore, it’s best to eat freshly grated horseradish root within a few days.
How Long Does Horseradish Sauce Last?
If you purchase store-bought prepared horseradish sauce, they are typically labeled with a “best by” or “best before” date printed on the package. If you are able to keep the ideal storage conditions, then the product will retain its quality at least until that time, and maybe even longer.
After it’s opened, it’s recommended you use the condiment within a couple of months.
If you’re crafty and make your own horseradish, it will stay fresh for up to 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge.
How to Tell if Horseradish Sauce Has Gone Bad
When we say horseradish “goes bad” it does not mean that it rots. It actually looks the exact same as if it was freshly made.
You can tell if horseradish has gone bad because it will lose its distinct flavor progressively over time.
So although you can still consume the condiment, it will taste blander and less intense than when you first bought it.
How to Tell if Horseradish Root Has Gone Bad
If your horseradish root is spoiled, you can tell in a few ways. First, if there’s mold, it’ll be very prominent.
If you feel it and the root is soft and mushy, it’s also time to discard it.
Lastly, if it smells off, you can throw it away. And yes, I am aware that horseradish smells to begin with, but this is a different, unpleasant type smell.
However, if you see some tiny black specs, don’t worry. Those can be easily cut out.
How to Store Horseradish
Like other foods, you can store horseradish in a few different ways.
Certain methods are great for longer-lasting taste and freshness, and others lead to a shorter shelflife but are meant for quicker use.
Storing Horseradish Sauce
The most important step to storing horseradish is storing it in a tightly covered jar. Little jars are great because you can get one serving out of each. This way, you’re not continuously opening a jar and losing its quality of freshness.
Unopened jarred horseradish would have a “best by” date of 6 to 8 months because of the added freshness coming from the preservatives.
For unopened horseradish sauce, it is best to keep the can or jar away from sunlight and in a darker, cooler area. For example, store it in the kitchen cabinet.
If it’s already opened, reseal the can or jar as tightly as you can. Then, you should store it in the fridge for longer freshness.
Depending on how creamy your horseradish is, it’s also possible to store the sauce in the freezer.
Storing Horseradish Roots
The pantry has the shortest amount of shelf life, but it’s still a viable option. Store-bought fresh horseradish can stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks in the pantry.
Putting the root in the refrigerator can extend the expiration date by up to 2 to 3 months. However, for best results, use the root in less than 2 to 3 weeks. Place the root in a bag and stow it away in the fridge’s vegetable drawer.
A pro tip to really extending the shelflife is to store horseradish in the freezer.
Wrap the root in foil and then seal it in an airtight bag to make sure no moisture gets in. This can preserve horseradish for up to almost a year. However, the biggest problem with this is that the longer it’s stored in the freezer, the lesser the quality becomes.
Your best option when freezing roots is to cut the roots into small portions, this way you’re not constantly taking a root in and out of the freezer. This would cause a lack of texture and freshness each time you remove the root.
When putting away fresh horseradish roots, you can actually soak the horseradish in vinegar to preserve it. But you can always skip this step if you’d rather preserve the root as a whole.