last updated 12 Dec 2023

Contents: About | Products below | Wasabi shows memory-boosting powers:

| Uses Also known as "Japanese horseradish", real wasabi comes from a plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which typically encompasses other types of radishes, horseradishes, and mustard plants.
Either going by the scientific name of Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonicum, wasabi is the spicy horseradish condiment from Japan that’s best known as an accompaniment for sushi, sashimi, Japanese noodle dishes (like udon), and more.
More like a root vegetable than a spice, real wasabi is made from the rhizome of a wasabi plant, which is the underground stem part of it.
Japanese horseradish is not the same as European horseradish, though both plants are in the same family.

Most wasabi you get in the store is a mix of horseradish, Chinese mustard, and food coloring.

At Giving fake wasabi the chop: A production snapshot outside Japan | RealWasabi They say
"Anything you get in a packet I can guarantee is only going to be about 0.5% wasabi at best because it’s impossible to grate fresh and hold that flavor because what you're eating is a chemical reaction and that flavor has a timeline," explains Nick Russell of U.K.-based The Wasabi Company. is a North Carolina company that sells plants

True Wasabi | The Art of Eating says,
"If you are lucky enough to get your hands on fresh wasabi, treat it with care. Kept in a loose plastic bag with a damp pater towel, it will sast a week, perhaps two."

It will start to loose flavor and hotness.
The rhizomes keep fresh for at least three weeks in the refrigerator.

The wasabi plant:
The part used for wasabi paste is variously characterised as a rhizome, a stem, or the "rhizome plus the base part of the stem".
This is not like the rhizomes in things like groundcover which are small horizontal roots from which new plants sprout. They are like ginger which is a rhizome. Most wasabi has small rhizomes, but the Japanese wasabi plants are special clones which produce a thick rhyzome (root) which typically grows vertically.
An enzime in the cell wall, myrosinase, comes into contact to a compound in the cell glucosinolate (known as sinigrin) which react to form a sulfur-containing compound Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) or (ICT) and sucrose, a by-product.
It takes 5 minutes to reach its peak and will stay hot for 15-20 minute. After 30-45 minutes it will develop a cabbage like taste.
It's ready to eat. Don't add anything.
You can put the grated wasabi in the freezer for later use.
The unused rhizomes can be kept moist in a bag in the refig. for 3 weeks.
Quality Sushi chefs produce wasabi frequently in small quantities.

You need a special grater.
Each cell wall that is broken during grating releases that heat and flavor. Thus, the finer the grate, the more cell walls are broken and the more/better heat and flavor. The way to tell is the creaminess. More creamy texture means more cell walls broken.
Traditionally they used the fine, sandpaper-like surface of sharkskin, but are moving to special ceramic graters.

Growing to Grating:
The Wasabi Company UK
They show the whole process from planting, harvesting and grating.
Watch this before Buying Wasabi

The Wasabi Store Oregon Coast
  Some Wasabi Facts   Preperation and Storage


Wasabi-Garlic Crusted Prime Rib Roast | KitchenConfidante
Mashed Potatoes

Giving fake wasabi the chop: A production snapshot outside Japan is in North Carolina. They deal in wholesale plants.

They say there plants are better. The west coast growers from Oregon to British Columbia grow primarily in green houses. We’re at about 3,500ft elevation and we are growing wasabi in the traditional Japanese way, which is referred to as Sawa wasabi, grown in natural water.

"The markets go beyond culinary – culinary is just the tip of the iceberg and it’s the biomedical that is by far the reason we’re doing this," he says, clarifying that the food market "will always be there".

"It’s known as an anti-cancer agent, anti-inflammation, and anti-allergies is probably where we get the strongest positive results," he says, citing scientific articles from Japan that point to these and other conditions such as blood thinning and gastrointestinal issues.

wasabi's has higher concentrations of bioactive isothiocyanates (ICTs) compared to other plants in the mustard family.

The authors noted wasabi's ITC can have an inhibiting effect on enzymes involved in inflammation, bacteria, yeast, mold and platelet aggregation, the latter an important property for protection against heart attacks and strokes.

"There’s a reason the Japanese have been cultivating it since 1600 BC – originally for its ability to combat food poisoning, hence its pairing with raw fish.

"Commercially it’s one of the hardest crops in the world to grow. Although it’s a very hardy plant,

Wasabi is known to be one of the most difficult plants to grow, earning the nickname "the green gold of Japan."

Here's why:

Specific growing needs:

Shade: Wasabi thrives in cool, shady conditions, similar to its natural habitat in the mountain streams of Japan. Direct sunlight can quickly scorch the leaves. Image of Wasabi plant growing in shadeOpens in a new window Wasabi plant growing in shade

Moist soil: The soil needs to be constantly moist but well-drained, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8. This can be challenging to maintain, especially in hot climates.

Cool temperatures: Wasabi prefers temperatures between 45°F and 75°F. This means it can be difficult to grow in areas with hot summers or cold winters.

Slow growth: Wasabi takes a long time to mature, with the rhizome (stem underground) taking 18-24 months to reach harvest size. This means farmers have to wait a long time before they see any return on their investment.

Seed germination: Growing wasabi from seeds is extremely difficult and requires specialized techniques and very specific conditions.

Additional challenges:

Pests and diseases: Wasabi is susceptible to various pests and diseases, which can further complicate the growing process. Water quality: Wasabi is sensitive to water quality and needs clean, flowing water. This can be a challenge for some growers. Expertise: Growing wasabi successfully requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and attention to detail. Despite the challenges, there are a few dedicated growers who have successfully cultivated wasabi in various parts of the world. However, it's important to be realistic about the difficulties involved before attempting to grow this finicky plant.

Here are some resources if you're interested in learning more about growing wasabi:

Note: Ratings are amazon ratings shown as e.g.4.6 (3,040); 4.6 is 4/6 stars out of 5, with 3,040 people rating it.

Stores in Davis:
Safeway and Trader Jose do not sell wasabi. Nugget had 4 or 5 options.
Co-Op sells 1 oz portions of the wasabi they use for their sushi plates for $1.75.
It is mixed in bulk from Tetsujin Natural Powdered Wasabi 4 (10).
Comments: Most restaurants in the US serve this type of paste made from horseradish. It's very hot with a lot of nose burn, so I like to dilute it in soy sauce first.
Ingredients (on the labels with small containers they sold): Spicy Sauce (Mayonnaise, Chili Sauce, Garlic, Distilled Vinegar,), Sesame Seed oil, pepper.
Ingredients on the large package: Horseradish, Mustard, Corn flour, Citric Acid, Vitamin C, FD&C Yerllow No.5, Blue No.1.
I don't know why the ingredients are different since they came from the same bag.

The ingredients in popular Kikkoman Wasabi Sauce<>/b> are: Soybean oil, horseradish, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, sugar, natural wasabi flavor, salt, egg yolks, mustard flour, artificial flavoring, yellow and ETDA calcium disodium, wasabi powder, blue 1, spices.

A few of the most popular (according to amazon) products.
Most don't list the % of wasabi.

A lot of grocery stores import from Cominport in poland

S&B 4.6 (3,040) 1.5 oz $3 S&B Tokyo
Used in restaurants.
Ingredients (at Amazon): Wasabi, Sorbitol, Lactose (Milk), Rice Bran Oil, Salt, Water, Modified Food Starch, Cellulose,
Compared to the one I had in the restaurant, this is more flavorful and thick.
3 star because it tastes good but not real.
At S&B Foods Wasabi is the 6th ingredient.

Muso From Japan Real Wasabi 4.4 (1,109) 1.5 oz $4
Distributed by Japan Gold USA a division of MUSO in the US
Ingredients: Wasabi (Wasabia Japonica), Sweet Potato Syrup , Green Pea Fiber, Rice Oil, Salt, Water, Tapioca Dextrine
Absolutely worth it. For those complaining about it not having enough punch, real Wasabi needs to be prepared fresh and consumed within about 20 minutes to have its full zing due to a chemical reaction.
I'm Japanese, with family in Osaka. I have eaten freshly-grated wasabi (grated right in front of me) many times at high-end sushi houses in Osaka. This product is close but it's not freshly-grated so there's a lot missing when it comes to flavor. \For me, to achieve the"taste" and "heat" I added a bit of "faux" wasabi. That worked. Overall a good product.

Wasabi-O 1.5 oz. $7 from Thailand 4.4 (660) Comments:
Good flavor. Label says 15% real wasabi, which is more than S&B or others.
not as good as restaurant
Ingredients: Horseradish 40.0 % Wasabi 15.0 % Iodized Salt 8.0 % Soybean Oil 7.0 % Corn Starch 5.0 % Mustard Powder 1.0 %

  Kinjirush Brand Kizami Wasabi (Chopped Frozen Wasabi) 3.8 (10)
  Comments: Flavor was excellent, just took a few minuted to defrost. I like this far more than the 'normal' wasabi paste.
Did not stay frozen durning shipment. Non-returnable.

Wasabi Roots | PacificWildPick (grate it yourself) 70-110g (2.5 oz. - 3.9 oz) $55

Wasabi salt gift pack 1 original 1 lemon | The Wasabi Store. 2 oz each $20 at the WasabiStore in Oregon This is a premium wasabi salt made with sea salt, and Oregon-grown freeze-dried wasabi.
Ingredients Original: sea salt, Oregon grown freeze-dried wasabi, ginger, black pepper, mustard, cayenne, onion powder.

Susih Sonic Real Wasabi powder Walmart (mail order only) 1.25 oz $23

Most sushi restaurants don't serve real wasabi.
Tetsujin Natural Powdered Wasabi is a common one used in restaurants.
Ingredients are Horseradish, Corn Oil, Salt, Water, Citric Acid, Turmeric, FD&C Blue #1.
Tumeric has some kick.

The ingredient giving that familiar kick in your sushi restaurant's wasabi is primarily horseradish, specifically a species called European horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). It's used instead of the real wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica).

See Top 10 Best Real Wasabi Resturants Near San Francisco, California | Yelp

Wasabi shows memory-boosting powers:
Wasabi shows memory-boosting powers in study| MedicalExpress December 2023
It was published recently in the journal Nutrients.
In the study, 72 healthy volunteers between the ages of 60 and 80 were split into two groups. One took 100 milligrams (mg) of wasabi extract at bedtime, while the rest took a placebo.

Those who got the wasabi saw their episodic memory scores jump an average of 18%, Nouchi said, and they scored on average of 14% higher than the placebo group overall.

The researchers theorized that 6-MSITC reduces inflammation and oxidant levels in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory

Wasabi is also known as an anti-cancer agent, and also has anti-inflammation, and anti-allergie benefits.

Health Benefits of Horseradish:

Sinus congestion: Horseradish's strong aroma can help clear the sinuses and relieve congestion. Inhale grated horseradish or add it to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Digestion: Horseradish stimulates digestive juices and can aid digestion. Consume small amounts of horseradish root or horseradish sauce with meals.
Circulation: Horseradish has warming properties and can improve blood circulation. Consume small amounts of horseradish or apply it topically as a compress.
Muscle soreness: Horseradish's anti-inflammatory properties may help relieve muscle soreness and stiffness. Apply a horseradish paste topically to affected areas.

How is wasabi made and where does it come from?