Everyone knows that Wasabi is indispensable for Japanese dishes such as Sushi, Sashimi, and Soba-noodle.But, did you know that Wasabi is used for Western-style dishes as well? There are two types of wasabi; Japanese wasabi and Horseradish (seiyo-wasabi).Having a little more knowledge about wasabi makes you more enjoy our wasabi products on your dishes!
The earliest known cultivation of Wasabi dates back to the 10th century in Japan.
Wasabi is native to the wet banks of Japan’s fresh mountain streams. Wasabi is grown in a rice field that is flooded with water from the pure, fresh mountain streams and therefore is classed as premium Wasabi known as“sawa”or “hata” wasabi.Sawa wasabi is the highest quality wasabi and takes from 2 ~ 3 years to mature.
Wasabi’s main cultivation areas are in Hokkaido, northern Kyushu, Nagano, Shizuoka and Shimane. Our Wasabi is grown in our hometown Okutama. Outside of Japan hon wasabi is farmed in Taiwan, Indonesia, China, New Zealand, Austria and Canada. However, outside of it is rare to find real wasabi. Often packages labeled as wasabi do not contain any wasabi at all.
Horseradish is native to the eastern Europe. It flourishes in the mild climate that stretches from Finland to Caspian Sea. The cultivation of horseradish was introduced to Hokkaido, Japan, from the west during the Meiji era. Horseradish is a member of the Brassicaceae family, the same as Wasabi, and often the root is as long as 30cm.
Its grated mash is pale, less sticky than Wasabi and has a sharp flavor. It is also known as raifort in European cuisine. It is frequently procured as a garnish with roast beef.
In Japan, dried Horseradish is used as main ingredient for Wasabi powder.
Horseradish used to be farmed on a much larger scale in Nagano, Saitama and Hokkaido.
However, now you can only find small quantities of them being harvested in Hokkaido.
Nowadays, to meet Japan’s consumer demands, horseradish is imported from China.
The unique pungent heat of Wasabi comes from the isothiocyanates (ITCs) content.
When you break down Wasabi plant cells, usually by grating, instigation of the chemical reaction between Wasabi enzymes and glucosinolates generates isothiocyanates (ITCs).
Robert Koch reported the anti-bacterial effects of isothiocyanates (ITCs) in 1882. Studies also indicate Wasabi’s powerful characteristics which include; enhancing the effects of vitamin B and C, stimulation of appetite, anti-parasitic effects and improved digestion.
Wasabi is effective in suppressing microbes and bacteria that can cause food poisoning such as, Escherichia coli O157, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and staphylococcus aureus.
After dipping the larval anisakis into solution of salt mixed with grated fresh Wasabi juice for 7 hours, the larval anisakis are inhibited.
A component of Wasabi’s ‘Sawa-aroma’ is effective in restraining platelet aggregation and prevention of blood coagulation.
The improvement of intestinal tight junction permeability, accelerated digestion and absorption.
|Tatamiishi method||Izu Amagi||1.5 to 2 years||The flooding of fields with fresh mountain stream water.|
|Keiryu method||Shimane and Tottori, mountain region of Chugoku district||2.5 to 3 years||Spreading sands on natural mountain streams to create Wasabi fields.|
|Chisawa method||upper river
region of Tama・Abe
|1.5 to 2 years||An improved method of the keiryu style, incorporating the best growing methods of the tatami-ishi style|
|Heichi method||Hotaka Azumino||1 to 2 years||Cultivated in pure underground stream water.|