Horseradish is a root vegetable that is used as a condiment or a spice. It has gained popularity in the United States since it has several culinary and medicinal uses.
Horseradish significantly improves the flavor of dishes it is added to. Most people mix it with white vinegar to further enhance its flavor.
Horseradish is a versatile ingredient. You can add it to your sauces and stews to enhance their flavor in vegetable and meat dishes, deviled eggs, and potato salads. You can also use it as a condiment for prime rib or steak.
If you have had some horseradish stored in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer for some time and are unsure of whether it is still safe to consume, you may ask yourself; how long does horseradish last?
The average shelf life of horseradish is two weeks when stored in the pantry, two months in the refrigerator, and six months in the freezer.
This article discusses the shelf life of horseradish, proper storage, and signs of spoilage. We will also look at the possible consequences of consuming spoiled horseradish.
Does it go bad?
Like any other plant ingredient, horseradish goes bad after some time as time goes by, the aroma, flavor, and appearance of horseradish changes.
Compared to other ingredients, horseradish has a relatively long shelf life.
However, it would help if you stored it properly, either in your refrigerator or pantry.
Horseradish shelf life
Horseradish is one of those ingredients that can last for a long time when stored properly.
However, you should know that horseradish shelf life is highly dependent on how long the vendor stored the root before you purchased it.
If you buy freshly harvested horseradish, it will last much longer than the one that had stayed in the store for several days or weeks.
Horseradish shelf life is also significantly influenced by where you store it. If you store it in the pantry, it will stay fresh for approximately two weeks.
Note that your pantry needs to be clean with no insect infestation for the horseradish to last that long.
In the refrigerator, horseradish will retain its good quality for up to two months. However, you must check for any signs of spoilage because it may start going bad before reaching the two-month mark.
If you are using horseradish sauce, check its expiry date. If stored properly, horseradish sauce will be safe to use for up to two months after the indicated expiry date.
How to properly store horseradish
Proper storage is essential for horseradish to last long. You can store horseradish in your pantry, refrigerator, garden, or freezer.
The place you choose to store it will determine how long it will last.
If you plan to use horseradish within two weeks of buying it, you can store it in your pantry.
You should ensure that your pantry is clean and free from insects. The pantry should also be dry and located far away from sources of heat.
If you had used part of the horseradish, use plastic paper to wrap it before storing it. The plastic paper will ensure that the horseradish does not regrow.
Note that when you store horseradish in the pantry, it will only stay fresh for a maximum of 14 days.
When you store horseradish in the refrigerator, it can stay fresh for up to two months due to the cold temperatures.
To store horseradish in the fridge, place a damp paper towel at the bottom of a plastic bag, place the horseradish on top of the paper towel, seal, then place the bag in your refrigerator.
The moist paper towel ensures that the horseradish has sufficient moisture.
As weird as it sounds, you can store horseradish on the ground in your garden. If it’s the dry season, dig a small hole in the ground and bury the root there.
During the wet season, there is no need to dig a hole. Just place the horseradish on the ground.
Note that this method of storing horseradish is very traditional. Therefore, you cannot be sure how long the horseradish will remain fresh.
You can store horseradish in your freezer if you want it to last longer than two months.
If you freeze horseradish properly, it will maintain its good quality for six months.
I recommend that you cut the root into small pieces or grate it before freezing because thawing small pieces is much easier than thawing the whole root.
If you want your horseradish to last for a long time, your best chance is to freeze the root.
When you properly freeze the root, it will last for an extended time (up to six months). You shouldn’t freeze horseradish for more than six months because it may stop being pungent.
Here is how to freeze horseradish properly.
- Peel the horseradish. It would be best to get rid of the outer layer because it tends to hold on to the flesh during freezing.
- Use a grater to grate the horseradish. This step is optional since you can still freeze the horseradish whole. However, I highly recommend grating it to small pieces because you have the flexibility of only thawing what you need to use at a time.
- Line a pan with plastic wrap, then place the grated horseradish on it. Place the pan in your freezer for 30 minutes or until the horseradish hardens.
- Remove from the freezer, then transfer the horseradish into freezer bags.
- Seal the freezer bags properly and place them in your freezer for up to six months.
Signs that horseradish has gone bad
If you store horseradish properly, the chances are that it will last for a long time. However, like any other ingredient, it can go bad after some time.
Here are a few signs to look out for when checking whether horseradish has gone bad.
- Change in color.
When horseradish starts expiring, you will notice a color change. It changes color to either brown or dark brown.
If you notice that your horseradish is dark in color, dispose of it because chances are it has gone bad.
- Soft, mushy texture.
Horseradish starts having a soft, mushy texture when it goes bad. Fresh horseradish normally has a firm texture. Therefore, if the texture is too soft, the chances are that it has gone bad.
- Bitter flavor.
Naturally, horseradish has a sweet flavor. If you taste it and notice that it is bitter, it may have gone bad. Sometimes, the bitter taste becomes overwhelming. Throw it out.
- Terrible smell
Horseradish should always have a fresh aroma. If you notice that your horseradish has a terrible smell, you should discard it. This is particularly noticeable in horseradish sauce.
If mold grows on horseradish that you have stored in the pantry or fridge, it has gone bad. The presence of mold is an indication of spoilage.
Therefore, you should discard the horseradish.
What will happen if you consume expired horseradish?
If you consume horseradish that has gone bad, it may have adverse effects on your health.
Additionally, the horseradish won’t have any nutritional value as it would have lost its potency over an extended time.
Here are some effects of consuming horseradish that has gone bad.
Consuming expired horseradish can result in various stomach complications. Mushy horseradish is likely to cause stomach irritations.
I suggest that you don’t eat horseradish when you notice any signs of spoilage.
If you consume expired horseradish, the chances are that you will suffer from food poisoning. Therefore, you must discard horseradish when you see any signs of spoilage.
Don’t try salvaging it by scrapping the molds off the surface because molds grow deep inside the horseradish, and scrapping them off does not remove them completely.
To avoid food poisoning, do not consume expired horseradish.
The shelf life of horseradish significantly depends on how you store it.
Horseradish will last for two weeks in the pantry, two months in the refrigerator, and six months in the freezer.