It takes a bit of forthrightness, a bit of ruggedness, and unwavering determination to prepare homemade horseradish. It's a painful process - literally.
Fresh horseradish is rich in volatile oils, after all, that's what makes the root so darn tasty, but it's these volatile oils that fill the air with an eye-burning intensity that only the most steadfast fermentation lovers can withstand in their quest for that perfect, probiotic condiment.
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Horseradish is a member of the brassica family - the same family of plants that gives us broccoli, cabbage, turnips, and radishes - each with their characteristic biting, if mild, mustard-like flavor. That biting flavor found in brassicas and, most potently, in mustard and horseradish is due to the content of allyl isothiocynanate which is stored in an inactive form in plants and released once that plant is cut, grated, or chewed as a deterrent to animals. Of course, I find it appealing especially as an accompaniment to a good beef pot roast.