If a recipe calls for prepared horseradish, does it actually want you to use creamy horseradish sauce? Find out the answer here!
The Short Answer:
No, prepared horseradish is not the same as horseradish sauce.
The Long Answer:
A lot of recipes call for prepared horseradish. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that this means grabbing a bottle of creamy horseradish sauce and pouring it in. That is not the case at all. Prepared horseradish and horseradish sauce are completely different from one another.
Horseradish is a root vegetable that is grown throughout the world. In its natural state, horseradish does not have a strong smell, as one would expect from this particularly pungent product. The strong taste and smell that we use to accent savory meats like roast beef is actually a defense mechanism that is meant to protect the plant against herbivores.
When a rabbit or some other woodland critter bites into the root of a horseradish plant, a compound is released which creates that powerful taste and smell. It is meant to drive the attacking creature away. As it turns out, we humans actually like that taste!
The problem with horseradish is that the longer it sits after being grated or cut, the stronger that smell and taste become. If left for too long, horseradish could actually burn the sinuses. That’s why we mix it with some other ingredients to create prepared horseradish.
Prepared horseradish contains vinegar, and often salt or sugar. This helps prolong the life of the horseradish and keep it manageable. Prepared horseradish is typically used as an ingredient in anything that calls for horseradish. It can also be used on its own as a condiment.
So, what then is horseradish sauce?
In the U.S., horseradish sauce is prepared horseradish mixed with a number of other ingredients to create a creamy sauce that goes perfectly with steak and other meats. Some common ingredients found in horseradish sauce include egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup, mustard flour, cornstarch, salt, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, and lemon juice concentrate.
Adding horseradish sauce to something like cocktail sauce would completely change the makeup of what you’re attempting to create. So, while prepared horseradish is a core ingredient of horseradish sauce, the two are not interchangeable and clearly not the same thing.
Do you prefer using prepared horseradish as a condiment, or do you need the creamy consistency of horseradish sauce? What is your favorite food to pair horseradish with? Sound off below and let us know!