Growing Wasabi in Northern Ireland

mazuma wasabi

Here at Wasabi Crop we have been growing Wasabi for the last several months and will be ready for harvest in 2018. To many this may seem a long time, but it does take two years to grow top quality rhizomes. The good news is that leaves and stems will be for sale in 2017. Wasabi Crop is the only commercial grower in Northern Ireland and we cannot wait to serve all our customers with our Wasabi varieties. These include Mazuma, Daruma and Green Thumb including all their corresponding leaves and stems.

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Mazuma Wasabi Plant from our Wasabi Crop Facility

The history of wasabi goes back to the ancient Japanese who were consuming wasabi around 14,000 B.C.  The cultivation of wasabi is mostly done in Japan and gained popularity through the serving of sushi. Wasabi complements sushi through its flavour and associated antibacterial properties to offset food poisoning. Wasabi has an interesting botany. It is known as Wasabia japonica which is part of the Brassica family. This family consists of horseradish mustard and cabbage.

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Fresh Baby Wasabi Leaves & Stems Grown at Wasabi Crop

Wasabi has very distinctive heart-shaped green leaves which can grow on long thick stems protruding from the crown of the plant.  The wasabi stem is known as the rhizome and is located at the base of the plant and over time grows upwards above ground. The rhizome is ready for harvest within two years. The rhizome is the most valuable part of the plant and this is used to produce freshly grated wasabi paste. The harvested pale green rhizome can be grated using a sharkskin grater.

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Large Wasabi Leaves from our plants

Wasabi is especially challenging and expensive to cultivate and this is the reason why there is a lot of fake wasabi being sold and consumed. These wasabi so called products contain tiny amounts of real wasabi such as less than 0.3%. It is amazing that they can sell these as wasabi products. Interestingly, just by reading the ingredients, on these so called wasabi foodstuffs, you will be amazed they contain a combination of horseradish, mustard and green dye and very tiny amount of real wasabi. Unbelievably, they are all marketed as wasabi products which do contain any wasabi at all – scandalous!

So, at Wasabi Crop we have set ourselves the challenge to grow real fresh wasabi – here in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. County Armagh is famous for growing apples such as Bramley

county-armagh

Bramley Apple Trees – County Armagh

After much research into cultivating wasabi we have mastered the growing. Presently, we are growing Mazuma wasabi. All our wasabi will be ready for 2018; this may seem far away because wasabi rhizomes take two years to mature. Just think our customers will be able to buy real fresh wasabi from us in 2018 and every year after that.

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Freshly Grated Wasabi

On receiving the wasabi rhizome – recognised by its stunning pale green colour – just grate it in circular motions by using a grater it is best to use a traditional Japanese sharkskin grater. Then just add the freshly grated wasabi to your favourite recipe of choice. Imagine the possibility of wasabi ice cream and wasabi chocolate or even a wasabi beverage. The experience of tasting freshly grated wasabi with its pungent heat generates a taste which is very different from chilli for example.

The wasabi kick comes into action and develops quickly to diffuse up the sinuses rather than staying in the mouth, then quickly dissipates. The wasabi kick experience delivers a refreshing heat, – so try it. Not only is wasabi a herb it is a medicinal plant providing heath benefits due to its key component of allyl isothiocyanate which releases during the grating process. The isothiocyanates enable wasabi to produce associated antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties.

Several research studies are evaluating the constituents for the prevention of certain disease states like cancer. Wasabi would make a great contribution towards a healthy diet by providing low cholesterol and sodium constituents. Consequently, it is a source of dietary fibre and vitamin C and a provider of vitamin B6. In addition to the elements of calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

So, please visit Wasabi Crop and sign-up for the latest wasabi crop updates.Enjoy your fresh
wasabi – providing new foods for your table!

 

Sofia Kitson

Wasabi Crop

Wasabi Crop -‘Everybody is Looking for Something Different’

Wasabi Crop was at the London Produce Show on June 8, 2017 and met many people interested in real fresh wasabi.  Firstly, they could not believe that we were growing wasabi in Northern Ireland and the three plants which we transported from Northern Ireland to the show were definitely a star attraction.  However, not only did we bring some wasabi leaves and stems for the delegates to try but they found the stems fresh and crunchy and the leaves having the right amount of kick. At the end of the show, we gave two mazuma wasabi plants to Chef Gavin from the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London where the show was held in the Great Ballroom. The remaining plant was given to Jason Danciger of Sushi Gourmet. You can see Sean Kitson (left) of Wasabi Crop and Jason in the photo below enjoying real wasabi!

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The title of this post was inspired by a presentation given by Chef Peter Gorton shown in the extract below.

Everybody is Looking for Something Different’ Says Chef Peter Gorton on The London Produce Show – 7th-9th June with many years in the restaurant business under his belt, Michelin-starred British chef Peter Gorton now travels the world consulting for the hospitality industry far and wide. Speaking to PBUK, he talks about the encouragement he feels when meeting with passionate growers, the ever-growing trend of seeking out that something new to eat, and the diverse and high-profile line up of chefs who will be cooking up a storm at The London Produce Show 2017.

 

Wasabi Crop’s vision is to produce ‘Everybody is Looking for Something Different’, so at the 2018 London Produce Show we will not only be bringing wasabi leaves and stems but the rhizomes will be the stars of the show!

Enjoy working with fresh wasabi!

Sofia

London Produce Show 2017

Hi Everyone,

Wasabi Crop will be attending the London Produce Show 2017

June 8, 2017. Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.

Dr Sean Kitson will be on the Invest Northern Ireland stand with Gilfresh, on booths 217, 219, 221, 223, on June 8

Show Preview

Wasabi grower brings the “zing” to London Produce Show

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Please ask for Dr Sean Kitson (Technical Director, Wasabi Crop)

Get a full picture of The London Produce Show and Conference 2016

London Produce Show – Looking Back @ 2016!

Wasabi Crop News

 

Wasabi Crop_Fresh Produce


 

Wasabi Crop_Belfast Telegraph


 

wasabi grown in NI


 

Tasty kick


 

 

Wasabi Crop_FDIN


More news articles to follow!

Sofia

Wasabi Crop

Delicious Fresh Wasabi Leaves and Stems – available from Wasabi Crop

Wasabi Leaves and Stems are traditionally used in Japanese cuisine for pickled sake lees. The crunchy large heart shaped wasabi leaves and stems are delicious and highly in demand outside Japan. The heat of wasabi is more prominent in stems than leaves but overall the heat is always greater in the prized rhizome!

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Contained within the wasabi leaves and stems are the natural products that give the wasabi kick with the associated health and nutritious benefits. When cooking the wasabi leaves and stems the heat will lessen and create a similar taste to spinach.

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In some recipes they are best used raw to spice up the salads and sandwiches or alternatively place them on your favourite steak, chicken or venison. For the simpler approach use them in stir fries, sauté or boil with noodles and stews. Or combine with sesame oil for a more delicate dressing.

Traditionally pickled in sake lees, stems have an excellent crunch with a radish and spring onion flavour when raw.  With a quick (20 minute) pickling solution of salt and sugar, the wasabi leaves and stems can be pickled to produce the famous Japanese dish Wasabi Zuke.

Remember wasabi leaves and stems can be eaten fresh, pickled or sautéed.  They taste similar to mustard greens and contain heat.  The stems are hotter than the leaf.

They work well in stews and casseroles and make an excellent stirrer for a wasabi Bloody Mary!

The succulent wasabi leaves and stems are harvested on the day of order and shipped in specially designed packaging to keep them at their maximum freshness. These wasabi leaves and stems are the Mazuma variety.

Storage

  • Store your wasabi leaves and stems in a chilled place or a suitable refrigerator below 5°C.
  • Wasabi Leaves and Stems store very well in the fridge for about 7
  • Before use wash the wasabi leaves and stems in cold water, leave them moist; store them in the bag provided or something similar.
  • You can always perk them up by just placing them in a vase of fresh water – regularly replace the water and keep the wasabi leaves and stems out of direct sunlight.

What better touch for your next dinner party than a wasabi leaf-stem salad!

Enjoy your fresh wasabi leaves and stems from Wasabi Crop

Sofia

Wasabi Mayonnaise

Why not make some delicious fresh wasabi mayonnaise for your favourite burger. This may well be an Asian Turkey Burger or for fish lovers on a salmon or tuna burger.  Wasabi mayonnaise can be a sauce for steamed baby bok choy in addition to asparagus spears, crisp-tender cooked sugar snap peas and grilled vegetables. It can also be used on dishes including chicken and pork.

Raw Organic Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

Asparagus on rustic wooden background

Asparagus Spears

Wasabi mayonnaise can simply be added to a baked potato and finished off the top with some freshly cut chives and lets not forget the French fries!

How do we make Wasabi Mayonnaise?

Simply just blend the egg, mustard, vinegar, salt and sugar.  After blending add a stream of oil and continue the process until all of the oil is mixed in and becomes emulsified, to produce thick looking mayonnaise.  The exciting part is adding the freshly grated wasabi rhizome obtained from Wasabi Crop. Once added blend the contents for a short time, then transfer to a glass bowl and keep refrigerated until further use. Fantastic you have just made wasabi mayonnaise that will keep for up to 5 days for a delicious accompaniment to your sandwiches.

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Freshly Grated Wasabi Paste

What’s required to make about 300 mL of Wasabi Mayonnaise:

One large ‘organic’ egg

One tablespoon of Dijon mustard

One tablespoon of unseasoned rice vinegar

One tablespoon of kosher or sea salt

One tablespoon of granular sugar

One cup full of 240 mL canola oil

Three tablespoons of Freshly grated Wasabi Paste

Enjoy Fresh Wasabi Rhizomes, Leaves and Stems from Wasabi Crop!

Sofia Kitson

Wasabi Guacamole

This Wasabi Guacamole recipe will produce the wasabi kick! So, to produce this zingy pale green dip which is an alternative to the traditional Guacamole having a combination of avocados, onions, and sea salt.  For this creation, eggs, hot pepper and Worcestershire sauce are added. Moreover, the best ingredient of all is freshly grated wasabi rhizome.

Just buy the following:

Two eggs

Two ripe Hass avocados peeled and chopped

One onion, finely diced

One tomato, finely diced

Three tablespoons of fresh lime juice

One teaspoon of hot pepper sauce

Half teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

One teaspoon of kosher salt

Quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of freshly grated wasabi rhizome

1 Green onion, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure:

  1. Place two large eggs into a saucepan and cover with water
  2. Cover the saucepan and bring to boil
  3. Once the water is boiling, remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in hot water for at least 15 minutes
  4. Discard the hot water and cool the eggs under cold running water
  5. Proceed to peel and dice the eggs
  6. Mash the avocados in a suitable bowl
  7. Then add the hard boiled eggs followed by the addition of onions, tomatoes, lime juice, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. In addition to salt and pepper followed by freshly grated wasabi rhizome – Wasabi Crop
  8. Mix all the ingredients and add little salt and pepper if required
  9. Place the Guacamole in a suitable serving bowl and finish off by garnishing with green onion and cilantro
  10. Finally, cover and place the Wasabi Guacamole into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to form.

 

Enjoy Fresh Wasabi Rhizomes, Leaves and Stems from Wasabi Crop!

Sofia Kitson

Wasabi Zuke – A traditional Japanese pickled dish!

Wasabi known as Wasabia japonica is famous for its swollen stem called a rhizome and is very central to Japanese cuisine. Wasabi is a relative of the Brassicaceae family which includes cabbages and horseradish. Wasabi was first grown in Japan and has been cultivated for over the millennium.

Wasabi ‘King of the Herbs’ is tough to grow and requires a moist, shady environment. It grows naturally in mountain streambeds in Japan. The cultivated wasabi is called ‘Sawa’ when grown in semiaquatic conditions compared to ‘Oka’ when grown in the fields. Today, Wasabi is grown in Northern Ireland by Wasabi Crop Wasabi Crop.

Real fresh wasabi is expensive. The cheaper version is dispensed from a tube to give a green paste that is used to complement sushi dishes in restaurants. True wasabi is grated in front of the customer using a traditional Japanese Sharkskin board or something similar. Wasabi is so rare that even in Japan fake wasabi is used. This imitation wasabi is a mixture of horseradish, Chinese mustard and green food colouring.

Real wasabi paste looks and tastes quite different from the fake stuff. Rather than a uniform green, it is a mix of coarse light-green and white particles and has a flavour that is more than just zingy heat.

Wasabi has associated medicinal properties which are antibiotic in nature and are capable of inhibiting microbial growth and suppressing oral bacteria.  In some research articles, wasabi was found to have anti-cancer properties in addition to anti-inflammatory activity.

Why not buy some wasabi leaves and stems to make delicious Wasabi-Zuke!

Wasabi zuke is a popular pickled dish served in Japan and can be prepared by taking all parts of the wasabi plant. This chopping and mixing of all the leaves, flowers, leafstalks and the ground roots with salt water and sake including sugar.  Wasabi Zuke can be a great dinner dish or even a suitable side dish especially with drinks. These types of dishes are called kasuzuke (food pickled in the lees from sake brewing). Wasabi Zuke was developed by merchants in Fuchu which is modern-day Shizuoka which flourished in the Edo Period.

Today, Wasabi Zuke is modified to contain added spices, fragrance, and wasabi flavouring to boost its flavour. The related dishes are ‘wasabi-nori’, ‘wasabi-miso’ and ‘kazunoko’ (herring roe).  Wasabi zuke means ‘pickled wasabi’ and it is a product of the Shizuoka Prefecture.  Shizuoka City is the reported birthplace of wasabi in Japan.

Wasabi Zuke is avaiable in Shizuoka but unfortunately, it is a rare and expensive delicacy away from this region – even in Japan!  The Wasabi is grown on the mountain slopes along the Abe River in Shizuoka City.  The central ingredients for Wasabi Zuke are the sake kasu/sake white lees which all came from the sake brewery in Shizuoka Prefecture.  The other ingredients salt, brown cane sugar and the mirin/sweet sake are all made in Japan! – a truly Japanese favourite.

In Japanese cuisine both the rhizome and the leaves of the wasabi plant can be used to create fantastic dishes.  The rhizome can be grated over foods for added spice. Fresh wasabi leaves can consumed, either fresh, pickled or to create Wasabi-Zuke. The ‘zingy heat’ of wasabi is not released until it is macerated in your mouth.  Consequently, the flavour depends on how finely it is grated and how long it is exposed to air.  Remember wasabi releases the volatile compound allyl isothiocyanate – the Wasabi Kick and flavour and heat dissipate in about 20 minutes.  It is best to grate the wasabi rhizome just before you consume it, and use an oroshi grater or something similar.

Only true fresh wasabi can be found at specialty grocers and high-end restaurants.  This product is usually sold as a rhizome (sometime referred to as a root) or as a jarred paste.  In addition,wasabi can be ready to use as a dried powder.

You can add real fresh wasabi to roasted legumes for extra spice or grate over fish and rice dishes.  The more adventurous could spread fresh wasabi on your favourite sandwiches and if lucky served with your mashed potatoes at your favourite restaurant and politely finish off with a spice up Bloody Mary with wasabi leaves and stems.

Wasabi Leaves and stems are available from Wasabi Crop – all grown freshly in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Wasabi Crop

Sofia Kitson

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