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Many are familiar with the spicy wasabi seasoning that traditionally accompanies sushi or rolls in Japanese restaurants. In cans, tubes, or powder, it is sold in the supermarket. However, this is an ordinary surrogate that is very different from the real Wasabi. It contains mustard seeds, horseradish, artificial food colors and a taste stabilizer.

Real Wasabi or Japanese Eutrema (Eutrema japonicum) is a traditional Japanese culture that has been cultivated for over 500 years. In the wild in Japan, it grows along the banks of mountain rivers.

Wasabi: plant description

Eutremus japonica is a small perennial herb about 45 cm high, which belongs to the Brassicaceae family. She has a simple straight or creeping stem with alternate arrangement of leaves on long petioles. Leaf plates 6-12 cm wide have a rounded or heart-shaped shape and edges with rounded teeth. The upper leaves are divided into lobes. The foliage is more luxuriant at the bottom than at the top.

The plant blooms from April to May, releasing long racemose peduncles collected from small white flowers. Each flower consists of 4 elongated petals and bracts. Then the fruit is tied in the form of a pod with 8 seeds of light green color, which have a rounded-elongated shape and are covered with a hard shell.

Wasabi root, hiding in the ground, oblong, gray-green in color, has many adventitious roots, and also has a specific smell due to the high content of essential oils.

Wasabi: features of cultivation

Growing Wasabi is not easy. This is a laborious and time-consuming process that requires certain conditions.
For a long time, the culture has been grown on special farms, where exclusively manual labor is used when planting and harvesting. This is the reason for the high price of Wasabi in the market. It costs about $ 250 per kg and is one of the most expensive condiments in the world.
The plant belongs to whimsical and is considered one of the most difficult to care for and grow. To grow the root, special conditions are required - clean running water, which has a temperature of 13 to 18 degrees throughout the entire period.


Wasabi farms are located near the Japanese mountains, where springs originate, supplying them with water. It is not a simple soil that is suitable for growing a crop, but a mixture of sand and pebbles, so that the water remains transparent.

The root grows 3 cm per year. The plant will take 2.5 to 3 years for the aromatic root to reach maturity. After the plant has matured, it is dug up, washed from the dirt and the leaves and stem are cut off, leaving only an edible root.

How real Japanese wasabi is made

Before eating in traditional Japanese restaurants, wasabi is rubbed very finely on a special rough board covered with shark skin. Natural Wasabi is distinguished by a unique piquant aroma, which the tinted surrogate made of horseradish, mustard and taste stabilizer does not have. However, it loses its sharpness pretty quickly - after about 15 minutes.

Wasabi extract is added to many Japanese dishes and foods such as bread, chocolate, ice cream, chips, sodas, beer and even wine.