You have just purchased your fresh wasabi rhizomes from the Wasabi Crop Shop and you cannot wait to use them in your cooking. First, however, you want to know something about the rhizome. So let’s look at the nutritional benefits of this wasabi rhizome, sometimes called wasabi root.
A typical wasabi root would consist of water (78.7%), protein (4.7%), fat (0.2%), carbohydrate (13.9%), fibre (1.3%) and vitamin C (50 mg/100 g).
Adding freshly grated Wasabi to your diet will keep you healthy and research has shown that Wasabi may help to prevent some types of cancer. Also, Wasabi has been shown to have anti-oxidative properties and may reduce your cholesterol level in the blood. In addition, Wasabi helps to promote the regrowth of brain cells and therefore may be effective against certain forms of dementia. Furthermore, Wasabi is a powerful antibacterial and has been shown to stop the increase of Helicobacter pylori and therefore prevent food poisoning
Wasabi rhizomes are spicy
Wasabi contains sinigrin within its cellular tissue. When you grate the rhizome, it causes the enzyme to react with the cells to bring out the zingy, spicy taste of Wasabi. The top of a root known as the crown has more pungency than the middle part. The taste can vary widely owing to the way a wasabi root is grated.
How do you store Wasabi?
Take the rhizome and wrap in a damp cloth use can use cheesecloth or simply a tea towel) and place the wrapped rhizome onto an opened glass bowl. Then place the bowel into the fridge for up to 28 days.
Take the rhizome, press the end against the stainless steel grater, or if you are lucky, use a sharkskin grater. However, both will work fine to give you freshly grated Wasabi. Only grate the required amount, but if you want to grate the whole rhizome, you can make small wasabi paste parcels and store them in the freezer.
Why are you eating fake Wasabi?
When you shop in supermarkets, you will come across Wasabi being sold in plastic tubes containing no wasabi or a minuscule amount to write WASABI on the packaging. This so-called Wasabi is just a mixture of horseradish, mustard and artificial green dye.
However, buying a plastic tube of Wasabi will not provide you with the health benefits of freshly grated Wasabi and it will not, if any, have the wasabi kick. What makes the flavour of Wasabi is the isothiocyanates which are released during the grating of the rhizome.
Remember, real Wasabi has antibacterial effects that’s why you have it with sushi.
I’m Sofia Kitson, the Wasabi Crop Blogger. My interests are writing articles on growing and cooking with wasabi.