Sunday, January 24, 2010

Product Review: Hren (horseradish relish)

The pink stuff’s hren (хрен). Say it with me: hren!* Hren means horseradish in Russian, and that’s horseradish relish with beets in the photo. Hren is a very popular Russian condiment, and Eastern European groceries sell different varieties that range from mild to bitingly spicy. The beet version is my favorite: sweet-and-sour and delightfully fuchsia. Hren is typically eaten with meats or cold cuts, but I also like it on roasted potatoes.

*By the way, in Russian, the word “hren” and its variants are a milder version of the equivalent to the f-bomb. It’s sort of like saying “freakin’” instead of the real thing in English.

17 comments:

Dimitry said...

Nice I actually just bought some horseradish roots, and also some beed, so I'm going to make some fresh home made hren.

RCakeWalk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RCakeWalk said...

I've never heard of this, but it looks great! There are a shortage of pink foods...and I love horseradish.

I'm going to look for this, any local Russian groceries that you recommend?

D'Anna said...

Hi! Just found your blog and am interested in learning more about Russian cooking! I am an American, married to a Russian, living in Smolensk, Russia.
This summer I had FRESH hren - - WHOO HOO! That stuff nearly knocked me out! I still can feel the fire! HA!

adele said...

I love beets, and I'll eat horseradish straight from the jar. Hren sounds like my kind of condiment!

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Dimitry-I've never made homemade hren. Do you have a recipe?

Rebecca-International Foods in Shorewood and Spartak in Whitefish Bay are good. The Shorewood store is probably friendlier and easier to navigate for non-Russian speakers.

Adele-I ate half the jar in one sitting.

D'Anna-I'd love to try fresh horseradish. Maybe I'll buy some this summer at the farmer's market.

Lo said...

Well... and here I was going to shout out the word "Hren!" :)

I had no idea of the origins of this, but my grandmother made a relish that I think might be quite similar. She called it beet relish, but it was definitely pungent from the flavor of fresh horseradish. We ate it with roasted meats, but my grandfather also spread it on his sandwiches. Good stuff!

Seattle Guy said...

Hello! Just blogspotting. Great blog! I bookmarked it.

Happy blogging! :)

shushka said...

I can't say "hren" at ALL - my husband loves to make fun of me whenever I try :)

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Lo-In some contexts, yelling "hren" could mean "the hell with it," or such like. :)

Shushka-I like saying "hren," too.

Anna said...

It goes well with holodetz (aspic) too. And I remember my grandfather making it from scratch all the time. You could smell it in the house for a few days; he'd make it pretty spicy.

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Anna--The only time I tried holodetz, I had it with super-spicy Russian mustard. Hren is also great on rye bread.

Anonymous said...

Hren is also the mandatory accompaniment to Jewish Guefilte Fish. My Gramma used to prepare it herself...

Sofya said...

I made some last year - my hubby gave me a horseradish plant for my BD a couple of years ago, but last year we had to move the garden and dug it out. I made it with beets and it was good but lost its potency quickly in the fridge. It froze well. He loves horseradish and he likes to put it on pelmeni. Yeah, I know.

irina said...

Oh! I just saw this post! We call it "hran" in Romanian, so I guess I know now where we get the word from. I also prefer the beet-coloured variety.

irina said...

Speaking of first-language attrition, it's not hran, it's hrean, in Romanian. (How sad that I had to look it up.)

But your post inspired me to write up a quick home remedy involving hrean right here:

http://cookingromanian.blogspot.com/2010/02/romanian-solution-to-stuffy-nose.html

BTB said...

We Poles eat this stuff, too. I especially love the horseradish with beets. My grandpa used to make his own, which was fabulous because we always had several jars of it in the fridge. I wish we would have stockpiled it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails