According to the Horseradish Information Council, horseradish is a simple root vegetable that has won the hearts of many as both a spice and a condiment.
This vegetable has a variety of culinary and medical uses. These range from increasing detection of a molecule to enriching the flavor of food items. It is commonly prepared with white vinegar for a more enhanced flavor.
You might have some in your fridge this very moment, be it in the form of a sauce or the whole vegetable. It might have been months since you bought it, but the vegetable still looks like you just bought it yesterday.
Now, one befuddling question would be on your mind: does horseradish go bad? The answer to your query is right here.
How Long Does Horseradish Last? Does Horseradish Go Bad?
Well, for starters, horseradish does indeed go bad. However, this process takes a fair amount of time and is barely noticeable. Horseradish is one of the most flexible ingredients to work with in terms of shelf life.
To begin with, horseradish does not ‘rot.’ Instead, it looks the same, which is why many people are confused in the first place. Basically, horseradish tends to lose its distinct flavor over time, meaning that while you can still consume it, the taste will pale in comparison to when you just bought it.
Store-bought fresh horseradish can stay fresh for 1-2 weeks in the pantry. However, it’s better to toss it in the fridge. By doing so, you can extend its expiration date by up to 2-3 months.
A pro tip from nutrition magazine Healtholino for someone who wants to use horseradish all year round is to freeze it. This can preserve it for almost a year. However, the taste might still suffer and you won’t get the same quality as a fresh horseradish.
A can of horseradish sauce is a different story altogether. An unopened can would have a Best By date of 6-8 months with the added freshness coming from the preservatives. However, an opened can would only last 4-5 months.
How to Tell if Horseradish Is Bad?
As stated by Steve Albert, veteran gardener and blogger at Harvest to Table, horseradish loses its pungency and flavor after being cut or bruised, making it not worth consuming. Horseradish may be inedible if any of the following occurs:
According to ScienceDirect, loss of flavor in horseradish occurs because it releases minor amounts of an enzyme known as myrosinase. This enzyme reacts with another compound to form allyl isothiocyanate, the very chemical that gives horseradish its iconic taste.
This reaction occurs at an accelerated pace when horseradish is chopped up or grated, making horseradish lose its punch after the reaction has been exhausted. The same thing also takes place naturally but in small amounts over the course of time.
This reaction is inevitable, meaning that horseradish is guaranteed to lose its taste after a long time.
How to Store Horseradish Properly?
Storing horseradish properly is important to keep it from spoiling. To add, prepared horseradish must be stored as quickly as possible so as to retain its stingy, pungent taste. There are different methods of storage depending on the form the horseradish is in.
For fresh horseradish, it is best to grate it and add some vinegar if you intend to use it within a few weeks. In case you want longevity, the ideal solution is to seal it in an airtight bag and freeze it, giving you 6-8 months.
For unopened horseradish sauce, it is ideal to keep the can or jar away from sunlight and store it in the kitchen cabinet. This way, it stays as fresh as possible for 4-5 months.
For opened horseradish sauce, sealing the can or jar as tight as possible is recommended. Furthermore, storing in the fridge is most efficient. This will keep the sauce from spoiling for about 2-3 months. Then again, all of this is not necessary if you intend to consume the sauce within one or two weeks.
Like all spices and condiments, the absolute rule of thumb is to replace all condiments within 6 months of usage and replace all spices within a year.