As much as the Accidental Locavore loves horseradish, it’s always been something that I grab at the supermarket, without giving it much thought. It popped up on my radar lately when I was reading a recipe on Love, the Secret Ingredient and Mary was raving about some Polish horseradish she’d gotten in Brooklyn.
Recently I was in Queens, at Muncan’s, a butcher that specializes in Eastern European sausages and salamis, and I picked up a jar there thinking it was going to be Eastern European, if not exactly Polish. Of course, if I had my glasses on and bothered to read the label, the good news (for a locavore) might have been that it was a lot more local than that—hailing from Pennsylvania.
In the midst of trying a pasta recipe that enticed because of the addition of breadcrumbs toasted and tossed in horseradish, I thought a quickie taste-test might be in order. There were three contenders: the one from PA (Old Country Packers Original White), Gold’s Hot Style, and an unmarked jar we picked up at Morse’s in Maine.
The Old Country Packers was whiter than the other two. It was quite sharp and assertive—certainly the hottest of the three, with a good flavor.
The one from Morse’s had great flavor, it was probably the most flavorful of the three, but not nearly as sharp as the Old Country. Consider it horseradish for wimps.
Gold’s Hot Style totally lacked heat and style. I thought for a minute about keeping it for emergencies and then quickly talked myself out of that! As I was dumping the jar, I noticed the expiration date: 2011—oops!
The clear winner was the Old Country, but it’s also the newest (and expires in April, so time to start using it up!). For flavor, the one from Morse’s was great and would probably be the winner if it was a more recent jar. I’ll give Gold’s another shot, if there aren’t any other options, but no matter what, I’m checking dates!
Of course, there’s always the homemade option…