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.
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 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.
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.