Watch Wasabi Crop on TV on 27 April 2020 at 2 pm on the James Martin’s Islands to Highlands show
In this episode of the new series, James meets Dr Sean Kitson and his son Zak who produce fantastic wasabi, a type of Japanese horseradish, in a polytunnel in the garden of their home in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
James met Dr Sean Kitson in one episode of the new series. Pictured: James Martin, Zak Kitson and Paul Rankin.
Quotes from James Martin
Proper Japanese wasabi is very expensive – one stalk can be £90 – and it’s very difficult to grow as the roots are mainly grown out of the ground so it can take over two years,’’ says James.
But here’s this 17-year-old lad and his dad growing it.
I’d never seen it grown, now I’m a fan. I wasn’t into horseradish but this stuff is amazing, and I created a wasabi salmon recipe around it.
As a pig farmer’s kid, I’ve always said that to fully understand food, you’ve got to understand how hard it is to produce.
Enjoy fresh wasabi
Its been some time since my last wasabi post but I have been waiting for the rhizomes!
Wasabi Crop had a great weekend, and Zak dug up 51 rhizomes with the biggest weighing 170 g. We prepared the rhizomes for our customers by first trimming them. This involved cutting the head and trimming off the bottom. The rhizomes were then washed in fresh cold water and prepared for vacuum packing. They were then frozen.
vacuum packed fresh wasabi rhizomes from wasabi crop
These freshly frozen wasabi rhizomes will be delivered to our customers in a vacuum pack. On receipt of the vacuum-packed wasabi rhizome, it should immediately be taken out of the bag and washed it under cold running water. Each fresh wasabi rhizome is then individually wrapped in damp cheesecloth which will be supplied with the order. The customer must then store them in an open glass bowl on the top shelf of their refrigerator. The cheesecloth is then periodically checked every 2-3 days to ensure that they remain moist; changing or dampening the rhizome again as required. It is important to remember not to seal the dish. This Wasabi Rhizome should last for up to 10 days in the fridge.
real fresh wasabi rhizomes
Overall this is an excellent approach as during the preparation the wasabi rhizome is trimmed by removing the crown and the root tip to ensure the customer receives all the rhizome!
Your wasabi rhizome has taken over 2 years to grow in Northern Ireland. Yes, you heard right! It was grown in Northern Ireland, and Wasabi Crop is the first Company to achieve this.
Most people have never tasted real wasabi: FAKE wasabi which is consumed come out of a plastic tube. What you have actually been eating is common horseradish with a little green food colouring and mustard.
Why is it so rare? Wasabi is a temperamental crop requiring particular growing conditions and critical care to flourish. It is also somewhat perishable: because of these factors, real wasabi can be extremely hard to get your hands on!
If you would like to buy some, please visit the Store at Wasabi Crop!
I have to go now and help dig up more rhizomes; it would be great to beat the British record of 377 g!
Enjoy your fresh wasabi – providing new foods for your table!
The Food Tours and Trails of County Armagh, Northern Ireland came to Wasabi Crop. The objective behind these tours is as a result of local chefs and producers willing to showcase the rich heritage of food grown in County Armagh. The tour created a unique opportunity for the guests to be able to meet the chefs and producers and hear about their passion and commitment to food. The great thing about these food tours is that you have the pleasure of tasting the local produce and for a brief moment enjoy the journey.
On this particular tour, Head Chef John Whyte of the County Armagh Hotel gave an inspirational talk about food preparation in ‘The Friary Restaurant.’ The monks lived in the nearby Franciscan Friary from the 13th Century. Chef Whyte and his team mirror the monks’ ideology by using the best locally sourced ingredients as the basis for all their menus.
The tour then headed to the picturesque Drumlin belt towards the outskirts of Portadown for a visit to the Armagh Cider Company. The Troughton family have been growing delicious apples on their farm at Ballinteggart House for four generations. A short drive took the party to Groucho’s pub located in the 17th Century Square of the historic village of Richhill. Head chef Mervyn Steenson served a delicious lunch made with the finest produce from County Armagh.
The final part of this culinary journey was at Wasabi Crop where the party picked and sampled wasabi leaves and stems. This is the first time that Wasabia Japonica has been cultivated in Northern Ireland. Zak Kitson gave an inspirational talk about the origins of Wasabi and the reasons behind the formation of Wasabi Crop. Currently, Wasabi Crop is in partnership with Gilfresh Produce.
Everybody enjoyed a good day out!
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!
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!
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
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!
More news articles to follow!
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!
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.
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.
- 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
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.
Baby Bok Choy
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.
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!
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 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
- Place two large eggs into a saucepan and cover with water
- Cover the saucepan and bring to boil
- Once the water is boiling, remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in hot water for at least 15 minutes
- Discard the hot water and cool the eggs under cold running water
- Proceed to peel and dice the eggs
- Mash the avocados in a suitable bowl
- 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
- Mix all the ingredients and add little salt and pepper if required
- Place the Guacamole in a suitable serving bowl and finish off by garnishing with green onion and cilantro
- 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!