What Makes a Great Prepared Horseradish?

The texture of a high quality horseradish spread will have an expected level of astringency, heat intensity, fibrousness and nasal stinging quality, but not to the intensity of a full horseradish. The spread should also have some richness to add to its quality.

The aroma and taste profiles should lead with a horseradish note, followed by vinegar and “mayonnaise-like” notes of egg and oil. The egg intensity should not be to the intensity of a strong sulfur note. There may also be dried mustard and honey notes present.

The taste profile should lead with sourness and saltiness, followed by bitterness and a little sweetness.

The spread should appear to have some thickness and there may be some visible specks. The darkness of the ivory color is stylistic.

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Tasting terms

  • richness

    Associated with creamy and dense mouthfeel; often evident in products containing significant amounts of butter or cream. Example: Alfredo sauce, coffee and super premium ice cream can be described as rich.

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.