Unusual Vegetable Plants


Wasabi Japonica Eutrema Japonica.

 

Wasabi can really be thought of as being like a superior Japanese Horseradish. It is extremely expensive to buy and difficult to source, even in Japan and because of this it is often imitated in cooking rather than the genuine product being used. In fact if you buy processed Wasabi in the U.K. there is a very good chance that you will get a concoction of Mustard and Horseradish instead of the real thing. Although the plant is a native to Japan and grows wild, Japan has to buy much of its requirements from China.

Wasabi grows naturally along streambeds and therefore loves damp and chilly conditions with no strong sun and must never be allowed to dry out. One might cynically think that the U.K. would therefore provide ideal conditions for it to grow and indeed there is at least one commercial grower who has set up a farm in England.

This water plant takes a year, or two to mature growing to a height of about 2ft and a spread of 1ft before it its rhizomes are ready for harvesting and the tubers can be then cut at about 4-6 inches long.

The real reason that fresh Wasabi is very rarely available to buy is that it starts to lose its flavour within just an hour or two of harvesting. When the rhizomes are harvested they can be kept heavily chilled in a fridge that will preserve their flavour for up to a month, or alternatively the roots can be processed and dried, or even turned into a paste.

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