Horseradish is a popular root vegetable and plant that is used both for gardening and culinary purposes. It’s similar to other vegetables such as broccoli, wasabi, and cabbage. It is known for its spicy flavor and zesty taste. The plant where horseradish originally comes from is southeastern Europe and western Asia. The white, large root of the plant is what is usually cultivated to become the sauce or vegetable that is popularly used and consumed. The plant comes from the Brassicaceae family originally and is known for growing to be a couple of meters (about five feet tall). Horseradish can also be used in religious holidays as part of a ceremonial proceeding such as during the Jewish holiday of Passover. If you’re at the local supermarket and you see a big sale on either the horseradish vegetable or a prepared horseradish sauce in containers, what should you do? Would it be worth the savings in both time and money to buy a few of the vegetables or a few of the containers especially if you need it for a family gathering? How exactly would we store the horseradish properly in order for it stay well for a long time? The ultimate question remains; does horseradish go bad?
Does Horseradish Go Bad?
Unfortunately, the bad news is that yes, horseradish can indeed go bad whether its’ in prepared form like a sauce or if its’ a freshly bought vegetable. Most of the time, consumers will buy the prepared version of horseradish that comes in a can or container. It’s rare that a fresh horseradish vegetable will be sold in most supermarkets, although you’re more likely to find it in an outdoor fresh market. Regardless of whether its’ fresh or prepared, the horseradish product can go bad on you. It’s important to read on through the rest of the article to learn about how to best store the horseradish properly so that it can last for a long time, what is the shelf life like for the horseradish, and what are the signs to look for to tell whether or not the plant has gone bad or not.
Storing The Horseradish
If you bought prepared horseradish in a container or jar, you should be aware that it must be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place especially if it has been unopened. Examples of good places for prepared horseradish would be a kitchen cabinet, a cellar, or even a basement. Horseradish is not stored in the frozen aisle at the supermarket but rather in one of the regular aisles at room temperature. Thus, since it is stored at room temperature in the supermarket then an unopened bottle of horseradish should be stored at the same temperature at home.
Once the horseradish jar or container has been opened, the means of how it should be stored should be changed. When you’re not using the horseradish and it’s been opened already, you should know that it should be refrigerated at all times when it’s not in use. The horseradish bottle or container should also be tightly sealed with a functioning cap or cork in order to prevent the horseradish from being affected by outside elements. Outside elements like heat, sunlight, water, oxygen, etc. can cause the horseradish to go badly prematurely by affecting the overall quality, texture, and even the flavor.
Shelf Life of Horseradish
Compared to natural horseradish, processed horseradish that comes in a jar or container comes with a lot of preservatives that helps to preserve the product for a much longer time than the natural form of the horseradish. After the date of purchase, the horseradish that is processed and comes in a container should last for about a year total especially if it hasn’t been opened or used yet. Obviously, this timetable is flexible so it’s possible that the prepared horseradish could last for a couple of months longer or a few months shorter than a year depending on the type or brand being sold.
When the bottle or container of prepared horseradish is opened, the shelf life shortens quite a bit. After the horseradish contents are opened, the product will last for between three to six months total, which is a shorter amount of time than a container, which has remained unopened. The quality of the horseradish will inevitably decline after its’ opened initially and continue that degradation process over the next couple of months. The horseradish won’t be bad after a couple of months but the quality will have severely declined. It’s important to realize that the sooner you consume or use the horseradish after opening, the better the quality will be. If you don’t store the horseradish after opening it up and putting it in the refrigerator, it is likely to go bad even quicker that way as well.
Signs of Bad Horseradish
There are a couple of signs to look for when it comes to bad horseradish and how to evaluate it. The first thing to look for is what is the appearance like. If it has mold, discoloration, or there are clumps forming on the texture of the surface, those are all negative signs that something has gone wrong with the horseradish. You can also open up the jar or container of horseradish and smell the product with your nose. If the odor is off or extremely pungent, then there is likely to be a problem. Horseradish has a distinctive smell that is unique and potent but if it smells unappetizing or unbearable, then it would be best to throw it out.
However, if you’re still not convinced, the most surefire way to check the quality of your horseradish is to do a small taste test. You should take a small spoonful of the horseradish and taste it for yourself to see if the quality, taste, and flavor is still the same or if it has changed for the worse. A small taste test of the horseradish won’t make you sick and it will be an easy way for you to tell whether the horseradish should stay in the kitchen cabinet or go into the garbage can. Use your best judgment, and don’t be afraid of buying a new container of horseradish if the old one went bad on you. Good luck and enjoy!