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Wasabi or Japanese horseradish is a paste made from its ground rhizomes. On the record, Japanese started using wasabi as a portion of food from the 8th century AD. The plant grows naturally in the mountain river valleys in Japan. Let’s get to know more about why wasabi is Japan’s most famous condiment.
Here are the things you need to know about Wasabi.
- Wasabi is green as a result of ultimately grating up the lower portion of the plant’s stem. Most people think wasabi is made from the plant’s roots.
- Wasabi or Japanese horseradish is not really a horseradish but an herbaceous plant (Brassicaceae) that is much related to a cabbage.
- Japanese people first discovered wasabi as a medical food before it became a spice condiment. They have added wasabi to their food as eating raw fish or poorly cooked meat could lead to food poisoning. Wasabi contains a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate. This chemical is now used as an insecticide and also an anti-bacterial.
- The wasabi plant is difficult to grow as the plant needs a particular condition to thrive. It grows in the mountainous terrain of Japan with the river valleys as its natural habitat. It needs to be protected from the sunlight and with its roots reaching into running underground water. Planning to plant wasabi in your back garden would not be possible as this plant won’t thrive if the air temperature is below 8°C or above 20°C.
- As hard as this plant grows, the price also is like a gem. There aren’t a lot of wasabi plants available on the market for sale. It was reported in 2014 that the price of wasabi per kilo would cost $160 and increase by up to 10% each year.
- Real wasabi is expensive, that’s why there are people who tried to emulate wasabi. Many restaurants and manufacturers create an imitation of wasabi with horseradish, mustard, flavoring, etc., along with powdered wasabi. Real wasabi lasts quite a long time if properly stored. Unfortunately, grated wasabi flavor lasts only 15 minutes so be sure to grate only when you need it.
- Regular consumption of wasabi is perfect for your body’s defenses. A few pharmaceutical companies have even started using this ingredient in antibacterial creams. Although wasabi is pricey, eating just a small portion every day will give your body some tremendous nutritional boosts. Wasabi has antibacterial properties and isothiocyanates, it also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. The leaves and stem have a lot of calcium and vitamin C. Aside from those benefits, this plant is believed to fight allergies, inflammation, and cancer.
The wasabi plant has many uses. Japanese people have created many different wasabi-flavored foods like wasabi-flavored chips, wasabi-flavored nuts, wasabi-flavored chocolates, ice cream, and even macaroons. Indeed, wasabi is an all time favorite for Japanese and the most consumed condiments in the country.
Want to experience authentic wasabi in Japan?
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