Real wasabi is very expensive as compared to the consumed paste we eat with sushi in the restaurant. The paste can cost up to $250 in the market, which is 20 times the price of fresh horseradish. It isn’t easy to come across these plants in the world.
Fake and Real Wasabi
The normal paste people purchase in the market is fake. And when you observe the ingredients, you will notice that it has only 1% of real Wasabi. The ingredients are salt cornstarch, turmeric, soya beans, sorbitol, horseradish with only a small paste of Wasabi. You cannot get the difference if you haven’t tasted the real Wasabi, a report by makesushi.
It isn’t easy to grow the plant, as reported by agricultural specialists. It’s grown naturally in Japan near the mountains, where we have natural springs with modified climatic conditions. Any time the climate changes, all the plants get affected. This makes them lose their taste with an aromatic smell.
Difficulty growing conditions
Wasabi is grown in running spring water with shed conditions during winter. Temperatures must range between 8 and 20 degrees in both winter and summer seasons. Too much humidity may result in the absorption of more water, less evaporation; hence the plant might die. Furthermore, the plant cannot survive under various minerals.
Jan Old is a farmer in Wasabi Company, Japan. He talks to business insiders about how they started growing the plant. They tried out various things as they believed their land was unique with plenty of rising waters. Then a certain chef told them about that sushi paste.
They have a continuous supply of spring water from artesian springs. The water rises 40metres from the ground. It comes out at 10 to 11 degrees which means it has a balancing effect on temperatures. The land is rocky, which provides almost 98% of the required conditions, a report by Business Insider.
The farmer speaks more about the two seasons. During the winter, high-temperature season, they cover them with shed nets to avoid drying. Due to favorable conditions, the plant takes 18 months before harvesting time. Harvesting is also a time-consuming process as every activity is done with bare hands. There is still a specified machine that can uptake those tasks.
Harvesting process of Wasabi
During harvesting, the plant gets pulled from the ground. Since it’s rocky soil, pulling does not need much effort. Then, trimming takes place to eliminate the leafy sides. The stem is cleaned with much care. Craters are used for crushing the wasabi to form a thick paste. The paste tastes different from the fake one. More gently, it tastes like earthly vegetables with a sweet aroma.
It is rare to find real wasabi in the supermarket or restaurant with such a smell because the spice goes away. The spice comes from a chemical reaction that occurs when breaking it down; the sugary environment of sucrose then evaporates. The reaction only takes 5 minutes, after which the spicy flavor picks up. It only stays for 30 minutes, and it’s gone. Jan Old says if you eat the stem, just like a carrot, you will get a different taste where the sucrose is more aromatic.
This means the Fake wasabi is still in the market for a long time. There is no point the real wasabi can overtake that because of its hardship in growing it. Of course, few people know the difference; therefore, there is no offense as long as people use the spice similar to Wasabi.
Pacific Coast and Frog Eyes that are trying to grow Wasabi in greenhouses. They say the Japanese people disagree that the wasabi cannot grow in greenhouses with the US conditions. But they are trying their best as they have produced a certain number of Wasabi spices over the years. They are working towards expanding their territory to grow as much wasabi as possible to ensure the fake wasabi is no longer there.