Horseradish root is medium to large in size, averaging 5-20 centimeters in length and 2-5 centimeters in diameter, and has a slender, cylindrical, and tapered shape with one bulbous end. The semi-rough skin is firm, thin, covered in gnarled notches and bumps, and ranges in color from tan to light brown. Underneath the surface, the white flesh is dense, crisp, and aqueous. Horseradish root has a sweet flavor, and when crushed or ground, a hot and pungent flavor emerges from volatile oils that create a mustard-like heat.
Horseradish is best suited for raw applications as prolonged periods of heat can reduce the pungent flavor and is most commonly found in fresh, dried, or powdered form. The root is predominately used as a condiment and is lightly grated, minced, or shaved and mixed with vinegar for use in sauces, dressings, soups, salads, bloody marys, and baked beans. Horseradish is also made into a sauce with sour cream or mayonnaise and is layered in sandwiches, blended into devilled eggs, or spread over roasts, prime rib, and steak. Horseradish pairs well with grilled meats such as beef or chicken, seafood, sausage, roasted root vegetables, mashed potatoes, tomato juice, and asparagus. The leaves of the plant are also edible and have a similar flavor to the root.
Horseradish root will keep 1-2 weeks when stored in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.