The jar that ALWAYS calls me in for a look is horseradish.  Not quite fanatical; some might say quest. I wonder, ‘Will This Be ‘The One’?

So far the track record isn’t great.  We like some heat to the bite at our house but for some reason it’s been a hard nut to crack.  So I figure, why not share some thoughts on the journey..

The latest to hit our cupboard come with good pedigrees – Saskia Beer Barossa Farm Produce Horseradish (230g jar for $6.85 at Foodland) and Herbie’s Spices Horseradish Powder (30g packet for $5.30 at Bottega Rotolo).

Ok, I know its a bit (well, a lot) of an apples and cranberries comparison – one preserved, one dried – but as the person eating the beef I could easily reach for either option (and did).

For tonight’s mid-week dinner, we’re keeping it simple with scotch fillet barbecued, green salad and minted potatoes.  Speed wasn’t completely of the essence so I was able to mix up the Herbies Powdered form to the suggested recipe of Apple, Mint and Horseradish Cream.  Not that it took long to make, but with little ones in full ‘witching hour’ swing little extras like this are sadly a first-cut luxury.  I give thanks to Peppa Pig for the extra mixing room tonight.

Overall product challenge summary? Freshness and Bite .. but not necessarily for both.

The Saskia Beer Horseradish is marketed as the only domestic horseradish without condensed milk; (a good selling point that translates at taste) although I pretty much bought on Brand and local / Barossa origins.

Likewise Herbies is a go-to Australian brand for rich and authentic herbs, spices and blends.  Although I was a little surprised to see that the powdered form is only packed and not grown in Australia.

So how did they fare?

Without doubt there is a difficult-to-beat freshness in look and smell with the Saskia Beer version that just can’t be compared with the Herbies Powdered form.  Words like real and true keep going through my head.  And the texture is great, fresh on the palate and some lingering warmth and no bitter after taste. I want to go back for more, and do.

But does it have fiery bite?  For us, the Herbie’s version trumps on that.  From opening the packet I get wafts of sharp wasabi-esque tang to my nose that carry through to the cream once prepared.  So maybe I added an extra spoon when mixing.  But that’s the advantage of buying in this form – you can mix to taste and heat.  The recipe gives sweet complexity and texture, with heat that rises further with resting.  I enjoyed it a lot, even with the powdery hint that that stayed after eating.  It wouldn’t always be easy for me to whip up a quick batch, just while the kids are so young, but I will do it again.

Overall verdict?  My personal vote goes with the Saskia Beer Horseradish for a fresh, true and authentic option, yet what nirvana were it to have a little more kick.  I might be out-voted though, the Herbies version was the hit in the house.

So the quest continues.  What horseradish should we try next?