Salt & Straw’s Raspberry Wasabi Sorbet Made With Oregon Coast Wasabi!

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Salt & Straw’s Raspberry Wasabi Sorbet Made With Oregon Coast Wasabi! 

We are thrilled to announce that Salt & Straw has made a wonderful Raspberry Wasabi Sorbet and this sorbet is made with Oregon Coast Wasabi!

This is how Salt & Straw describes this sorbet –

“This beautiful bright magenta sorbet has a punchy secret: sweetly hidden in every bite of raspberry flavor is a bit of freshly grated wasabi from Oregon Coast Wasabi, one of the only wasabi farms in the world outside of Japan. Fresh wasabi is like nothing you’ve ever experience, it has a bright, herbal taste, with a fraction of the heat.”

This sorbet is one of Salt & Straw’s July seasonals and it will be available at their Portland area stores.

The Raspberry Wasabi sorbet debuted yesterday - Friday June 29th, and Oregon Coast Wasabi CEO and Co-founder Jennifer Bloeser went to her local Salt & Straw and she loved this sorbet as did Pirro the wasabi farm dog!

Many thanks to Cynthia Ryan for the photo she took during Jennifer and Pirro's visit to Salt & Straw! 

 

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Posted on June 30, 2018 .

FAQs - Growing Wasabi in Your Backyard

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FAQs - Growing Wasabi in your Backyard

For those of you growing wasabi in your backyard we have put together this handy FAQ document.

Shade or sun?  Full shade. All year. Filtered sunlight is OK.

When to plant?  Wasabi can be planted any time of year.  It's not limited to spring planting.  We favor spring or autumn planting which assures a wet winter establishment period and ready in time for tender April leaves and leaf stems for wasabi zuke. 

What about transplant shock?  Wasabi is quite resistant to this shock.  The plants can be pulled out of the ground, the offshoots removed and everything replanted at any time.  If, after reading these FAQs, believe you could improve your plants' conditions, feel free to remove them from the ground, put them back in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel inside, refine the growing conditions or location and replant. 

The plants are bare root, how soon should they be planted?  They can remain in the shipping bag for up to 3 weeks with no problem.  Open the plastic bag to allow the plants to breathe and insert a damp paper towel.  Plant them when the temperatures are lower and/or there is rain forecasted.  It's better to wait to plant them when conditions are better than try to plant them in a hot or dry period. 

Singular or grouped?  You can purchase one plant, however Wasabi plants in a group form a leaf canopy that retains soil moisture and shades the central stalk.  Plant them approximately 8 inches on center.  The more plants there are the more successful they seem to be. 

Is it cold tolerant? Yes.  The garden plants at our home in Portland, Oregon experience lower temperatures than the farm plants at the Coast.  Winter of 2016/2017 experienced multiple days below freezing and consecutive nights in the upper teens (see link here). 95% of the garden plants survived.  The summer of 2017 was hot and dry and we realized more plant loss than in the winter.  It seems that Wasabi has more cold tolerance than heat and dry tolerance.  Stated differently, summertime is more of a danger than winter (this is of course a generality).  We recommend  keeping more of the leaf canopy in height of the summer to provide shade to the central stalk.

Does it spread?   No.  Not like horseradish or mint or strawberries. Wasabi propagates via offshoots that grow from the base of the plant.  The offshoots don’t grow offshoots while it’s attached to the main plant/stalk.  You can control the area of wasabi by pulling off the offshoots and replanting them in the area you want them to occupy. 

When can the offshoots be removed?  They can be removed and separated at any time of year although spring and fall seem to be the best times.  Plant the offshoots about 8 inches apart.  This allows the plants to form a leaf canopy. 

How long do they live? At least up to 10 years.  Most of our garden plants are 3-4 years old.  

When is it harvested? Leaves and leaf stems are harvested at any time. Whenever the plants have enough leaves and stalks for whatever you want to do with them. The central stalk (rhizome) that is grated into paste will likely take two years to grow into the size you would want for a meal of 4-6 people. The leaves and leaf stems can be harvested about every 6-8 weeks (this is how long it will take the leaves to grow back) without negatively impacting the growth of the plant.  The plant is a brassica and like kale, brussels sprouts etc. the leaves can be removed while this central stalk grows.  

Planting Depth:  Plant them only as deep as it takes to keep them upright. About 1/2 inch.  If you are repotting your plant don’t plant them any deeper than they were in the original pot. Don't compact the soil to remove oxygen from the root zone.  Wasabi prefers an oxygenated environment at the root zone.  Keep the growing medium light and fluffy.  Don't compress the planting area after planting. 

What to plant in: We recommend a good potting soil. If your soil contains clay, amend with the following: coconut fiber, pumice, or gravel.  Optimal is potting soil, coconut fiber and pumice at a 1:1:1 ratio. Wasabi prefers an oxygenated environment at the root zone.  Keep the growing medium light and fluffy.  Don't compress the planting area after planting.

Can they be planted inside?  Yes, but don’t put it on the windowsill remember this is a shade plant. Bathrooms are good.  Dark corners with no direct light are good.  See "what to plant in" in this FAQ.

Would they be invasive in a stream?  No, wasabi is a very slow growing plant.  It won't compete for space or sunlight with other plants that likely grow faster than wasabi. (also reference
"Does it spread" and "How long before I can harvest")

Can they be planted in a stream? Yes.  Though wasabi is happy on the stream banks and even slightly up the bank.  It may not grow in the stream channel if the channel is too deep, it is not an aquatic plant.  So, plant it on the sides of the stream with water moving through the soil.

How long before I can harvest:  The central stalk (rhizome/ not root) is what is grated into a paste.  It will take about two years in a garden to grow a good sized rhizome. But the leaves and leaf stems (as opposed to the central stalk) can be harvested about 15 times while the stalk grows. We recommend to harvest the leaves and leaf stems at most every 6 -8 weeks depending on how fast your plants are growing.  We also recommend to harvest fewer leaves and leaf stems in the summer to allow a canopy to form which shades the central stalk and helps prevent it from drying out and retaining soil moisture.

Can the central stalk be cut to make paste and the plant still grow?  No.  The plant won’t regrow.  The plant needs both the roots and the top of the rhizome to grow.  Cutting off the top and replanting the top won’t work either: we tried.  Additionally, cutting off the bottom to retrieve the stalk won’t work either.  This doesn't work with carrots, and neither with wasabi.  Enjoy the leaves and leaf stems while the stalk grows.  Enjoy the flowers and the year-round greenery.  

What's the best soil type and pH?  Slightly acidic soil.  Wasabi prefers acidic soil to as low as to 5.8pH.  Planting under fir trees is ok but the tree roots can compact the soil, preventing the wasabi roots from growing and retarding canopy (leaf and leaf stem) growth.  If you plant under fir trees, make a raised bed or dig out an enlarged area and replace the soil with the optimal amended type described in "What to plant in".

Why do the plants arrive bare root and not in pots? Shipping the plants bare root is easier on the plant and reduces the shipping weight.

Does it flower?  Yes.  The plants begin flowering about late January or early February and will flower until early to mid-May.  The flowers are edible and can be tempura-fried or steeped into a tea or raw in a salad or cooked into soup.

Does it get bitter?  No.  The flavor doesn't change during the flowering cycle. 

Does it bolt? No. Wasabi is a perennial plant that produces leaves year-round, it does not bolt and die off.  The plant parts are edible and delicious through the flowering cycle. Each central stalk / rhizome will have undergone multiple flowering cycles before harvest.

Are there any pests?  Wasabi is susceptible to some fungal pathogens. Also, aphids and slugs are animal pests.  Wasabi grows like a banana plant and the leaves naturally die off over time if they aren’t harvested.  Slugs seem to prefer the dying leaves. Leave these on for the slugs to eat and they’ll leave the center leaves alone; for the most part. If you have pest issues, you can use Safer Soap for aphids and a water/bleach solution for any fungal pathogens.  Put 3-4 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water and soak the plants for 20 minutes.  Rinse them in clean water and replant in fresh soil.  You can trim off the leaves and leaf stems if they are pulling the plant over after replanting.

Does it have to grow in running water.  No. Wasabi is not an aquatic plant. Wasabi does just fine in soil with the right conditions.  Reference "Can they be planted in a stream".

How hot is it / is it as hot as restaurant wasabi?  The leaves are like a radish leaf or arugula.  The leaf stem is slightly hotter than that.  Both lose their heat when cooked.  The stalk is as hot as restaurant wasabi as long as it's grated to a fine paste.  The finer the paste, the more heat and flavor is released from inside the cell walls of the plant.  If it's shredded on a microplane or ginger grater, it is only slightly hot, not sweet and not as flavorful.  (Note, most North American restaurant wasabi is horseradish and green food dye and stabilizers with little or no actual wasabi.  Alas!  Indeed, this is why we started this business, to bring fresh wasabi to more people to enjoy.)

How big do they get?  Height: approximately 2-3 feet.  Canopy: approximately 1.5 feet diameter.  Stalk: range from 0.5 inches to 2 inches diameter.  Leaves: up to 6 inches in diameter.  Leaf stems: up to 1.5 feet in length.

Do they die back?  No.  But they do grow more slowly in the heat of the summer and during any frost. 

Are they going to take over my yard or stream.  No.  Reference Would they be invasive in a stream?

Are they pet friendly? We've had one report that pet rabbits like eating the plant.  The rabbit was perfectly healthy.  We have also heard from people who have had their chickens and goats eat the plants. They are a bit spicy for deer.  We know of no known negative reaction with any animal. 

Will I kill the plant when harvesting the central stalk / rhizome.  Yes. Reference
 

Can I grow them in pots.  Yes.  Reference Can they be planted inside?

How big of a pot?   1-2 gallon sized pot for a single plant.  5-gallon for three plants or larger for more.  Reference When can the offshoots be removed?

What parts are edible: The entire plant including the central stalk (rhizome), leaves, leaf stems, flowers and roots.  

Should I peel the stalk before grating?  No.  We offer a brush to remove any dirt, or excess vegetal matter. 

How to eat the leaves or leaf stems?  Generally, raw, steamed, sautéed or juiced.  See our recipe page for more ideas.

How to divide the plant and offshoots.  Pull the entire plant out of the ground.  Wash off the roots in water either with a hose or soak in a water bucket.  The plant is quite physically robust, this won't harm the plant.  Gently pull the offshoots and associated roots away from the main plant.  Replant to appropriate depth and spacing.  

Planted under trees.   Yes. Reference What's the best soil type and pH

How much water in the summer?  As much as one would water lettuce.  Assure no direct sunlight for any amount of time in summer. 

UNHAPPY PLANT SYMPTONS AND LIKELY CONDITIONS

Leaf crinkle: likely aphids.

Yellow leaves on the side.  With green leaves in center.  This is natural.  The leaves naturally die away.

Top/central leaves are yellow.  Unhappy.  Amend soil with "optimal" ratio or the soil is holding too much water. 

Grow slow.  Too dry, too wet, too hot or too cold. 

Droopy leaves:  too much sunlight

Light red stems:  when young this is typical.  

Dark red stems : The plant is  unhappy.  Likely too much water at the roots. Amend the soil and relocate to another shady spot. 

 

Posted on June 21, 2018 .

Garden Wasabi Flowers and Spring Harvest and Fermentation

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer's husband and business partner

“Harvesting”, “picking” the heart-shaped leaves and wasabi stalks from the garden wasabi that was last “harvested” on December 6(?) approximately 2017.  The video shows the harvesting and leaf growth and some fertilizing.  The photos then show the steps of how I prepared the heart-shaped leaves and wasabi stalks for a slow ferment (identical to sauerkraut process), as opposed to a quick ferment wasabi zuke-sytle.  In another two weeks in a successive article, I’ll remove the vegetable (stalks and leaves) from the ferment and report on the taste.  Thank you for your interest in our produce.

~Markus

Step 1 (not shown) Wash the wasabi very well in a colander.  I recommend washing the leaves multiple times.  Slugs can leave "waste" on the underside which shouldn't be fermented. 

Step 2: separate the leaves and stalks (shown)

Step 3: cut leaves to desired size.  This is my preferred size.  The leaves will shrink naturally during fermentation from losing water.  

Step 4: cut stalks into desired length.  Mine are uneven, but 1/4 inch to 1 inch and includes flowers. 

Step 4: place salt in the bowl and mascerate to release water (standard sauerkraut process).  Place in a fermentation vessel and wait for your desired length of timm.  Then, remove and eat! 

Posted on March 25, 2018 .

Freezing Temperatures? No Problem! Garden Wasabi Cold Tolerance

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer’s husband and business partner.

Freezing Temperatures Are Tolerated by Flowering Garden Wasabi

This video shows the garden wasabi plants following several below-freezing nights and about one inch of snow in late February.  The video was filmed on Sunday Feb. 25 and the low on Friday Feb. 23 was 21 degrees fahrenheit and snowing.  Only one leaf indicated a slight bit of cold damage evidenced by a bruising.  Though, the majority of the heart-shaped leaves and leaf stalks and flowers were undamaged by the frost. 

Next video will harvest these leaves and leaf stems and ferment them in the same method as simple sauerkraut and make a cup of tea by steeping the wasabi flowers.

Markus

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Posted on February 25, 2018 .

You Can Grow Wasabi In Your Back Yard

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You Can Grow Wasabi In Your Back Yard

It is easier to grow wasabi than you might think!

We recently sat down with Jennifer Bloeser talking about how to grow Wasabi Plant Starts here in the US.

Jennifer Bloeser is the CEO and Co-founder (along with her husband Markus) of Oregon Coast Wasabi.

Below is what we learned from Jennifer.
 

How To Grow Wasabi Plant Starts

People offer think that it is very difficult to grow wasabi. The truth is that there are only a couple of secrets to growing wasabi and after to speaking with Jennifer we now know those secrets and this article will share those secrets with you!

Not only do Jennifer and Markus have the largest wasabi farm in the United States, they also grow wasabi in their very own yard in half wine barrels.

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Wasabi Plants Needs Full Shade

If you are going to grow wasabi in your backyard you need to make sure that your wasabi plants have full shade.

You can use the shade of another tree, the corner of your from porch, against your deck. Anywhere that you can get full shade.

To be overly clear – if a wasabi plant gets sunlight it will wither and droop very quickly.

Water Your Wasabi Plant Like You Would Water Lettuce

Lettuce lets you know right away if it needs more water. Bottom line – keep the sail moist.

Please note; while a wasabi plants native habitat in Japan is in a streambed, wasabi is not an aquatic plant and wasabi does not like to be in standing water.

Bottom Line – well drained, wet soil but not standing water.

 

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You Can Grow Wasabi in Pots

One option that is very successful for growing wasabi is to plant your wasabi starts in 1 to 2 gallon pots with good potting soil.  Doing this gives you flexibility for when the weather turns too cold or too hot. When that happen happens simply bring your wasabi plant indoors.

So what is too hot or too cold? Glad you asked! See immediately below for that answer!

What Parts of the United States Can You Grow Wasabi In?

Wasabi can and does grow all over the United States!

What you need to watch out for is weather that is too either too hot or too cold.

If the weather gets over 80 degrees or under 32 degrees - simply bring your pots inside and keep them out of direct sunlight.

If the weather is going to be over 80 degrees for just a few days and then go back to being under 80 degrees, you can leave the plants outside as they can handle warmer weather for a couple of days.

The Myth of Wasabi Seeds

Sadly, many of the wasabi seeds that are sold today (especially online) are not real wasabi i.e.

Wasabia japonica, they are actually mustard seeds or seeds for “wasabi” mustard for arugula or seeds for “wasabi” arugula.

Please note neither “wasabi” mustard or “wasabi” arugula is real wasabi. One is a variety of mustard and the other is a variety of arugula.

There is a reason that the largest reputable US seed companies don’t sell wasabi seeds on their own websites.

Wasabi seeds are very rare because they are very difficult to harvest.

You are much better off simply getting wasabi plant starts and growing those.

 

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How Long Before Harvest

 You can harvest three things from your Wasabi Plant Starts -

#1 The plant stalk i.e. the part that gets grated into wasabi paste. That part is knobby and green ands sticks up just above the dirt. This is often called the rhizome.

#2 The greens (leaves)

#3 The leaf stalk, or stems if you prefer.

 

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15 months to 2 years after you plant your wasabi start you can harvest the plant stalk (the rhizome).

This is the part of the wasabi plant that is grated into wasabi paste.

To harvest the plant stalk you pull the whole plant up and you will see some off-shoots / plant starts. Simply break those off. You can replant those and begin right away growing more wasabi!

Take the plant stalk and only grate want you want to use right then. The rest you store in the refrigerator and when stored properly, it will keep for weeks.

Keep your wasabi plant stalk in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.

 

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8 weeks after planting your wasabi start you can begin harvesting Wasabi greens i.e. the leaves.

Wasabi greens are delicious and have many culinary  uses!

When you harvest wasabi greens make sure to leave the little leaf that is sprouting from the very top center of the plant.

Wasabi plants grow leaves year round and you can keep harvesting leaves every 6 -8 weeks and enjoy wasabi greens during the whole 15 months to two years that you are growing the plant stalks.

Wasabi greens can be eaten raw and you use them in cooking – they can be sautéed, juiced, or used raw in a salad!

One of Oregon Coast Wasabi’s customers has made a spanakopita using wasabi greens instead of spinach!

 

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The same 8 weeks applies to the leaf stalk or stem. When you harvest wasabi green make sure to also harvest the leaf stalk.

Wasabi leaf stalks are delicious! They are spicy and crunchy and you can eat them raw and use them in cooking. Think of them as thin spicy celery.

Just like the Wasabi greens You can sauté Wasabi leaf stalks, steam them, juice them, or simply snip them with kitchen shears and put them into your mashed potatoes for wonderful wasabi mashed potatoes!

 

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Getting Started!

If you want to grow wasabi in your back yard the best way to get started is to order wasabi plant starts.

Those who order wasabi plant starts from the Wasabi Store receive a copy of The Oregon Coast Wasabi Guide to Growing Wasabi.

Here is a link for you to buy Wasabi Plant Starts - www.thewasabistore.com/shop/wasabi-plant-starts

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 16, 2018 .

Winter Is a Great Time To Watch Your Wasabi Plants Grow

 

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer’s husband and business partner.

Winter is a Great Time to Watch Your Wasabi Plants Grow

This video shows the regrowth of the heart-shaped leaves and leaf stalks following the "harvest" or completely removing the leaves and stalks in early December 2017.  Through the lowest light of winter, the leaves and stalks have regrown with vigor and are ready again for harvest.  We are farmers and use the term "harvest" which translates to "eating". These leaves and stalks are ready for eating and the plants will be perfectly viable once again and ready for another tasty wasabi dish in another 6-8 weeks. 

The flower buds are a bit early this year.  The flowers are small and white and can also be "harvested"  In Japan, they are served as tempura (battered and fried) and also steeped into tea.  We garnish mashed potatoes, salads, or add them to a spring pesto.  

Markus

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Posted on February 16, 2018 .

Winter Is a Great Time To Plant Wasabi

Winter Is a Great Time To Plant Wasabi

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer’s husband and business partner.

The weather forecast for wasabi planting on the west coast looks perfect.  It may seem early, but if a deep freeze isn't likely, the earlier in the season the better.  It will give time for the roots to establish during winter rains.  The low light conditions will really get the leaf and stalk production accelerating.  The more leaf canopy in the summer will keep the plants humid and retain moisture.  The other bonus is that by the time the other vegetables are being planted, there will be wasabi leaves and stalks to harvest and eat.

Markus

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Posted on January 21, 2018 .

30 Days Later - Update on the Wasabi Plant that Had Greens (Leaves) and Leaf Stalks (Stems) Harvested from it in Dec 2017

30 Days Later - Update on the Wasabi Plant That Had Greens (Leaves) and Leaf Stalks (Stems) Harvested From it in Dec 2017

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer’s husband and business partner.

Garden plants in Portland Oregon on Jan. 5 2018. This video shows the heart-shaped leaves and stalks' new growth following harvest in December 2017. At the end, a juiced glass of wasabi heart-shaped leaves and stalks are sampled for heat and flavor. The greens (leaves) and leaf stalks (stems) were harvested from the garden in Dec.

This video is an update to the Dec. 2017 video titled "How To Harvest Wasabi Greens (Leaves) and Leaf Stalks (Stems) From Your Garden".  This video shows the harvested plants one month later.  The plants are producing new growth even in the depth of winter and through several frosty nights.  The video also samples the Dec. 2017-harvested heart-shaped leaves and stalks that were juiced and refrigerated.  The juice is still hot, spicy and has a pleasant vegetal flavor and natural sweetness.  Adding some apple, ginger and citrus would make a great healthy juice.  

The heart-shaped leaves could be a great substitute for spinach, kale, collard greens, cabbage, chard and other greens.  The wasabi stalks can substitute for celery, green onion or herbs.  It's a great spicy "celery stalk" in a bloody mary as well.  

Thank you for watching.  We hope you enjoyed our video.

Posted on January 6, 2018 .

​​​​​​​How To Harvest Wasabi Greens (Leaves) and Leaf Stalks (Stems) From Your Garden

How To Harvest Wasabi Greens (Leaves) and Leaf Stalks (Stems) From Your Garden

Markus Mead, Co-Founder and Farmer of Oregon Coast Wasabi.  Jennifer’s husband and business partner.

Harvest Recommendations, Procedures and Preparation (Summary):

·      Harvest frequently and enjoy often.

·      Harvest every 2-4 weeks.

·      Trim/harvest the stems surrounding the center meristem leaving the first “ring” of stems around the center. 

·      Don’t trim/harvest the reddish central leaves or the smaller leaves yet to fully unfurl.

·      Sauté the stems in olive oil on low/medium heat for 7 minutes.  Add the leaves at the 7 minute mark and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy.  Kampai!

·      See below for additional leaf and stem recipes and photos of this recipe.

Most textbooks start  at the beginning.  In this case  it could  be,  “what is wasabi?”,  or “the  origins of  wasabi as a  food”  or “wasabi habitat descriptions”.  I’ll reserve those topics are for future articles.  Please indulge  me and enjoy this first article and associated video about harvesting and enjoying the wasabi.  In later articles, I’ll describe more of the information, facts and wonders of this miraculous plant.

At this moment, either your garden wasabi is growing or you’re imagining your garden wasabi.  If your wasabi patch has dark green opaque leaves growing together in a mini canopy of what looks like lily pads suspended in the air, now is the perfect time to harvest these wasabi leaves and stems.  Any resistance about removing plant material you have is to be expected.  Resist your resistance and liberally, gleefully, snip away and add some home-grown exoticness to your next meal.   Most of the leaves you see will soon  senesce anyway and  only decay into  the  duff.  Why not snip off these greens and enjoy them?  Periodic harvesting of the leaves and stems won’t hurt the plant.  It won’t affect its viability  or the  rhizome (central stalk) growth.  Make sure to leave the center - top  “bud” for future growth (this is shown in the video as the unfurled leaf called the apical meristem). The plant will continue sprouting from this meristem, unfurling little tender leaves, and it will  do this  year-round even inn the depth of  winter; albeit a bit slower than the Spring and Autumn.

Wasabi is  different from many other  plants in that photosynthesis is not as crucial and it can be reduced by leaf removal (harvest).  Wasabi obtains much of its nutrients from water and soil, which is taken up by the roots.  As long as there are a few leaves remaining, it will photosynthesize enough to be perfectly viable.   If all the leaves  are removed  - if  you get overzealous or are cooking for a large party - it’s ok.   The plant  will recover just  fine as long as that central meristem remains.  Enjoy the  “produce” rather than being too concerned with harming the plant.

Harvest procedure.  Reference the embedded video.  Harvest all the stalks and leaves that are growing any other direction than vertical and/or are in an area other than the immediate ring of the crown surrounding the  center-top  “bud” (called the apical meristem).

Recipes

Pickled Leaves and Stems (quick pickle, not fermented – though that’s completely possible and really tasty.)

Fresh Wasabi Stems with Miso Dipping Sauce

Add the prepared (as above) or raw leaves and stems to noodle or rice dishes pictured below.

Article Recipe With Photos

1.     With a chef knife, separate leaves from stems at the base of leaf by cutting away stem within one inch of the leaf (precision is not mandatory as all greens can be eaten raw)

2.     Chop stems into ¼-1-inch lengths.  Consistency is more important than the actual length.

3.     Dice leaves into any desired size. 

4. Sauté the stems in olive oil on low/medium heat for 7 minutes.  Add the leaves at the 7 minute mark and sauté for another 2 minutes. 

5. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy.  Kampai!

Posted on December 10, 2017 .

We Now Offer Gift Certificates!

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We Now Offer Gift Certificates!

We have made it easier for you to share some Oregon Coast Wasabi love over the holidays.

We now offer two Gift Certificates that you can have sent to your loved ones –

Garden - www.thewasabistore.com/shop/garden-gift-certificate

Culinary - www.thewasabistore.com/shop/culinary-gift-certificate

These new gift certificates will allow you to give your loved one a wasabi gift of Wasabi Plant Starts that they can grow in their own backyard, or a Culinary Wasabi gift pack, that they can have shipped to them at a time that is best for them.

Happy Holidays! 

 

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Posted on November 24, 2017 .

Our Gift to You - 20% Off Discount Code

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Our Gift to You - 20% Off Discount Code GFT2017

We are very grateful for the customers who have helped us get this far, and we are offering you a 20% discount code that you can use this holiday season!
 
Use code GFT2017 when you check out, and you will receive this special 20% discount!
 
This special code will expire Midnight Dec 31, 2017.

 
Remember - we now offer both:

Garden Gift Certificates -  www.thewasabistore.com/shop/garden-gift-certificate and

Culinary Gift Certificates - www.thewasabistore.com/shop/garden-gift-certificate
 
Thank you again for the support you have given us these past 7 years!
 
Happy Holidays,
 
Jennifer Bloeser

Posted on November 21, 2017 .

Recommendations for Local Food Gifts By Women Featuring Oregon Coast Wasabi!

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Recommendations for Local Food Gifts By Women Featuring Oregon Coast Wasabi! 


Portland Food Writer Pechluck Suwatanapongched Laskey Founder of Pechluck's Food Adventures has included Oregon Coast Wasabi in her article - Recommendations for Local Food Gifts By Women! 

Here is a link -

www.pechluck.com/recommendations-local-food-gifts/#more-24091 
 

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If you would like to order either Wasabi Plant Starts or culinary Wasabi for a loved for the holidays, we now offer Gift Certificates for both!

See this link here for more information - www.thewasabistore.com/shop

Finally We are honored to be included with these other businesses also run by women including - Marshall’s Haute Sauce, Only Child Chocolate Co., Hot Mama Salsa, and Et Fille Wines!

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Posted on November 21, 2017 .

Garden Wasabi Success Stories

Someone once exclaimed to me that: "....wasabi is nearly impossible to grow...".  

"Nonsense!" I replied.  And so have thousands of others each year.  The following are some of our customers' plants and gardens.  All of these customers have provided permission to use their communication and photos and used the below offer.

If you're an existing, past or future customer, remember this offer: 50% your next purchase from The Wasabi Store: Submit your photo(s) of your wasabi plant growing (or harvested), and information you think would be helpful to other wasabi growers.  For example, provide the date planted (approximate), growing environment (soil and amendments), nutrients added, potted or not, watering cycle etc.  Post this on Instagram with #wasabiplants #growingwasabi #exoticplant #FreshHotReal #homegrown #freshwasabiroot #womenofwasabi #freshwasabi #wasabi #FrogEyesWasabi   OR on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/FrogEyesWasabi/) Send the photo(s) and information to Info@TheWasabiStore.com and your approval to use it and we may put it on the blog.  If it's posted at any of the above, we will contact you to ask you if we may use the photo on the blog.  For any future order, provide your name and email info@theWasabiStore.com for your discount code.

" I finally did it! My first "big" harvest after two years:) Thank you so much for your dedication and education for this plant. It has been a great gardening experience! 
Best wishes Robbie (from eureka ca;)"  

That looks a very healthy and tasty wasabi there Mr. Olson!

@rottenkoala grew a rhizome in Portland Oregon.  And I love the nail polish color.  That's enough for at least a few sushi rolls.

Mr. Chang in Utah is growing these in a pond in a gravel substrate.  "

"I've received the order yesterday and planted them already. By the end of the summer we shall see the result. I've already use the leaves to make Ozuke with pickled plums and shiso leaves. I'm planning to make some pesto sauce and salsa verde out of some. I'm going to incorporate them in my ramen somehow.   Thank you for making wasabi possible in the States."

Growing in the corner of the house in a shady spot and a wine barrel. 

The above photos and below information is from a customer John:  

"Jennifer, here are some better pictures of the 4 plants I got from you about 3-4 months ago. They are all planted in Black Gold choir potting soil.  All get a sprinkling of bat guano that is infused with good soil "bugs".  I water with a mix of about 1/2 tablespoon of Epsom Salt mixed into a gallon of water and a tiny pinch of Miricle grow.

The plants from you have been living in the garage since the cold and snow started that last week of December.  Temperature in there has held between 45-50 degrees. I do take all of them outside on days when it is over 45 and let them soak up some of our liquid sunshine.

I found your site and bought 4 roots which cost about 1/2 what my first root cost. I cant tell you how impressed I was after receiving your shipment. The packaging was exceptional, a bubble wrap box with cold pack inside. And unlike the tiny plant with 2 leaves on it like my first root, the roots you sent were huge and very healthy looking. Easily 4 times the size of my original. Very sure these will be good starts.  Just wanted to thank you for an exceptional product. I will be buying many more from you once I get these started and create a small space to properly care for them!  Thanks! John  (Sent via The Wasabi Store)

Posted on March 15, 2017 .

Cold Tolerance: Garden Plants; Apparently 16 Degrees F is OK

A frequent question we receive is about cold tolerance.  In this post, I'll document two freezing episodes in Portland Oregon in Dec. 2016 with garden plants. 

Potted Plants: Dec. 8 2016.  Temp. +28dF with light snow approximately 0.25 inches.  Note the drooping stems and wilted leaves.  These two were potted in the early summer of 2016 at Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm and then brought to Frog Eyes HQ in Portland Oregon in about late September 2016.

 

Potted Plants: Dec. 12 2016.  Temp. +45dF.  Snow melted within 24 hours.  Note the erect stems and flat leaves.  Some of the slug work / damage was present prior to the snow.  It's unknown how much was existing.  But, I'd imagine the slugs were hungry after one day of snow.  These plants are brassicas; slugs and aphids are common pests. 

Barrel Plants (barrel #2) Dec. 8 2016.  Temp. +28dF with light snow approximately 0.25 inches.  Plants covered by snow and all stems are low and nearly flat.  

Barrel Plants (barrel #2) Dec. 12 2016.  Same time as above potted plants. Note the erect stems and flat leaves.  Note the lesser about of slug work / damage.  Elevating the plants off the ground helps reduce pest damage (from slugs at least).

Potted Plants Jan. 2 2017.  This photo taken during a period of low temperatures at 16-20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6C).  The duration was approximately 5 days, with the high temperatures below 32dF (0dC).  The center plant was wrapped / covered in typical bubble wrap to determine if any difference is noted between the uncovered and covered plants. 

 

Potted Plants Jan 11 2017.  During a rare Portland snowstorm approximately 5 inches of snow.  Temperatures won't reach above freezing for about 48 hours with a low temperature to the low 20's Fahrenheit.  I haven't unwrapped the center plant yet.  It will warm up tomorrow and I'll do so.

Jan. 25 2017: They seem to have all survived!  The small one on the left was turned over and fell out of the pot.  I was at the farm and didn't re-plant it for a few days, at least one of which had a night that dropped below freezing with exposed roots.  They may not be totally happy, but they seem to have survived and are making a go at it.  Go little wasabi plants go!  The one that was wrapped, the middle one seems to be the happiest with greener leaves.  But, both the larger potent plants are, just this week, producing flower buds!  This plant amazes me at every turn.

New flower buds on the right.  I'm sorry they are blurry. 

Feb. 25 2017: All three potted plants survived.  They are all flowering.

Barrel #2 plants on Jan. 2 2016.  These were left uncovered as an experiment to determine if any difference is observed between the potted and barrel plants and the uncovered and covered potted plants. 

These temperatures, and particularly the duration are quite outside the typical wasabi preference (and frankly outside of mine as well).  It will be interesting to observe the recovery process.

Barrel #2 with a snow blanket.  Jan. 11 2017.

 

 Jan. 25 2017.  Barrel #2.  All of the plants seem to have survived.  They even are producing small shoots already, just one week after the freezing temperatures stopped.     

Jan. 25 2017.  Barrel #2.  All of the plants seem to have survived.  They even are producing small shoots already, just one week after the freezing temperatures stopped.  

 

 

Showing new shoots from the apical meristem on Jan. 25 2016 from a Barrel #2 plant.


 

Barrel #2 also survived.  The perimiter plants at the 1 and 2:00 position sustained some cold damage, but they are returning. 

Posted on December 11, 2016 .

Garden Wasabi Planting: What To Do and What Not To Do

First I want to reiterate that our home garden wasabi planting is intended to approximate a laissez faire gardener environment, with no special treatment, hot and dry conditions in the summer and cold in the winter (relative to the Oregon Coast) to test the plants' response.  See this former blog post for more.  This was done to such an extent that we intentionally did' t follow our own recommended planting instructions.  Thus, I've structured this blog episode into "our preparation" and "recommended preparation" which is the information that accompanies plant start purchase packages.  I can assure you that we are not laissez faire at the Frog Eyes wasabi Farm - and not about much else if truth be told.  But, I want to assure the readers that there's no special treatment or hidden magic being applied to the plants in our home garden (this garden needs a name don't you think?).  This summer, 2016, I planted an additional wasabi plant start half-wine barrel with an intention to display the correct way to plant wasabi and the incorrect way and the results.  

Our Preparation: (Note, this is what I did, and not necessarily best practices.) Soil/media: First, I planted a half-wine barrel using store-bought organic potting oil and about 25% large, 1-inch pumice for drainage and oxygenation.  Sunlight: Unlike the initial barrel that receives sunlight in late January and early February in the early morning, I placed the barrel in a location that receives sun in months 3/4 and 8/9 at about noon for about 1.5 hours. This to increase the sunlight strength at a much stronger solar period.  I planted small plant starts without leaves and larger ones with leaves. This was done to display the plant's accommodation of inhospitable conditions at different growth stages. I also planted at the hottest week and driest week of the entire year, with temperatures at 100dF and humidity between 15-30%.  

Recommended Preparation: 

Planting Depth: 1 inch or less - Only deep enough to keep the start upright;  Spacing:   12 inches on center;     Hardiness: 27°F;     Soil Type: Well-drained, rich in organic matter    Location: Full Shade  

Choose a well-drained location with sufficient organic matter. If you’re planting in a pot the container size should be 10 inches or larger (a 2.5 gallon minimum). Work in 10-12 inches of compost to a soil depth of 8-10 inches. Wasabi requires a neutral or slightly acidic soil pH of 6-7.  Plant your start only deep enough to keep it upright.  Being sure that all of the roots are covered, backfill the hole and gently press into place. Do not cover the rhizome, it needs to be exposed above the surface. Wasabi plants can reach 24 inches in height so space plants at least 12 inches apart. Water well, but do not let the plant sit in drainage water. After initial planting irrigate regularly with cool water. Mist as necessary to keep plants cool and to avoid wilted leaves. Mulch may increase moisture retention, which will be especially beneficial during warmer months.   Leaves that have been wilted for a week or more should be removed to deter pests and lower the risk of disease. Keep the planting bed or containers weed free and fertilize regularly with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. Fertilizers or foliar sprays rich in sulfur may improve the flavor of the rhizome. 

Cultivation: In its natural habitat you will find Wasabi growing on the shaded wet banks of cold mountain streams. When grown in a home garden Wasabi does best in full shade with steady temperatures between 50-60°F, although the Daruma variety is slightly more tolerant of heat and light. Temperatures below 40°F may slow growth and temperatures below 27°F can kill the entire plant. Temperatures above 80°F can begin to cause heat damage as well as increase the risk of pests and disease. So take this into consideration when selecting a planting sight for your Wasabi.

As seen, there's loads of sunlight.  We do not recommend any direct sunlight at any time of the year.  Wasabi grows in alpine streams at elevation and under evergreen canopy.  If one should err on sunlight or shade, give wasabi shade.

Our Method: The larger plants were potted.  Continuing on the laissez faire gardener condition, they "rested" on the side of the currently-planted wasabi barrel for a few weeks, receiving no sun, and some water and routinely being kicked over by our faithful hound.  The first photo below shows the potted plants prior to planting and the volume of pumice used for the top layer of potting soil and the sunlight.

Recommended Method:

Showing the potted plant hole depth.  I add a bit of pumice at the bottom of the hole for root drainage.  

Photo taken several minutes later after the sun was shaded by the house.  This photo shows the backfill to the potted plant hole and the plant spacing which is about 8 inches on center.

This photo shows the new plant starts that are new.  This is how the first wine barrel's plants began.  This photo shows their size and the bare root condition.  This is how The Wasabi Store ships plant starts.  They are nearly always successful, unless planted on the hottest day and driest day(s) of the year and with direct sun.  The potted plants were once just like these about two months ago.  I recommend that if you order plant starts in the summer to plant them in a cloudy and cool week.  If they arrive during a hot spell, keep them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and wrapped in a wet muslin or paper towel (just like the storage instructions for the mature rhizome).  They will be much happier in the cool, damp refrigerator.  These are not your typical plants.  Don't panic about "getting them in the ground as soon as possible" or other common plant-planting axioms.  I'd recommend the maximum time in the refrigerator is 3 weeks.  If it's going to be that hot during your summer, wait to plant in the autumn so the plants are established for the following summer. 

Having planted the small starts just like the others.  Soil almost, but not up to the bottom of the stems.   Don't worry about root oxygenation like other plants.  Don't pack the soil.  Just water and let the water weight pack the soil.  Oxygenation is encouraged, not discouraged.   See how the plants are planted with soil just to the bottom of the rhizome?  That's the correct depth.  More soil can always be added later.  It's better to not smother the plants and allow air in, rather than make too damp an environment.  

 

Showing one week later after the heat wave.  The small starts are dry.  The established plants have endured the incompatible conditions. 

Showing apical meristem growth in an established plant just days following the heat wave.  They actually grew during this time.  

Showing small leaves in the center, the apical meristem growth again.  This week is cool and rainy.  I'll have an update on the small plant starts in about 10 days.  Wish them luck on their recovery!

Pests and Diseases: Wasabi is a member of the Brassica family. Pests and diseases of this family include: aphids, cabbage and alfalfa looper larva, crane fly larva, and slugs. The best defense against pests and disease is to maintain the cool temperatures and stable irrigation wasabi prefers. Pruning wilted or diseased foliage, hand removal of slugs or use of slug bait, and removal of aphids and other pests is beneficial to the plants health. Use caution when using any insecticidal soap or any other insecticides. If any fungal disease is detected it is recommended to remove the plant away from all others to try treating it, or dispose of the plant entirely. Copper spray can be useful in the presence of any fungal complications. 

Harvesting: If conditions are optima, within 24-36 months from the initial planting, you may harvest a four inch or larger rhizome. In the meantime, you may harvest the petioles (leaf stems), leaves and flowers that bloom in the early spring. All parts of the plant are edible. However, overharvest of leaves can lead to slower rhizome growth.

The whole wasabi plant is edible.  Enjoy harvesting and eating the leaves and leaf stems raw or cooked while you wait for your rhizome to grow!  When your rhizome is ready to harvest it is recommended to hand dig the plant out of the ground or pot. You can then remove the plantlets that have formed around the crown to be potted or planted and expand your wasabi crop. Trim away the roots and stems and enjoy your fresh wasabi.

Update: Late September 2016.  The plant starts that had no leaves all died.  I've not seen such a rapid demise.  This was because I planted both on the hottest week of the year and with some direct sunlight.  The plants simply were brought beyond their tolerance at such a young age.  The other plants continued to grow and are thriving. Lesson: if it's too hot, keep the plant starts in the refrigerator or initiate them outside the garden and wait for a period of appropriate days. 

This photo was taken on the same day as the above.  This plant was started in the pot and, though planted at the same time (hottest day .....), it is continuing to grow.  

Posted on September 1, 2016 .

Garden Plant Starts - A Photo Chronicle

The leaves, stems and flowers of garden-grown wasabi plants are perfectly edible.  Wasabi is a brassica.  So, like kale, the leaves and stems on the side can be removed / snipped off and eaten while the plant will grow from the top (apical meristem).  The examples shown on this page were grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon (Plant Hardiness Zone 8a.), not on the Oregon Coast where the Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm is located.  We wanted to approximate a laissez faire gardener environment, with no special treatment, hot and dry conditions in the summer and cold in the winter (relative to the Oregon Coast) to test the plants' response.  They were planted in September, 2014 and the foliage shown is in March 2015.  They were grown in well-drained soil with approximately 20% gravel and the remainder soil and compost.  A bit of 14-14-14 lawn fertilizer was applied once per year. They endured an ice storm in November 2014 and snow in December 2015. Below is a photo chronicle of these garden wasabi following the Dec. 2015 snow.  (Note, this is a Pacific Northwest snowstorm.  The likes of which much of the rest of the country would hardly take note.  The temperature was only ~30dF/-1dC and the snow was only a dusting.).  I'm showing this as a reference to those that want to know if the wasabi plant can survive a freeze.

Garden Wasabi Dec 2015 snow

Here are the same plants one month later on Jan. 30 2015.  Observe the new growth in the small leaves in the lower canopy.  Also observe the vacant space that one plant died last summer during the PNW drought. (I did replace this plant in later photos.)  Also observe the first flowers in the lower-right corner.  These plants begin their flowering cycle on Winter Solstice and then flowers are often visible by about February and may last until April / June depending on conditions.   The leaves and stems are perfectly edible at this stage (any stage really).  As long as the apical meristem is left intact.  See below for a photo of the meristem growth.

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Feb. 2 2015:  This photo shows the plants just a few days later on Feb. 2.  Note, I've planted a plant start from Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm in the vacant location.  Note how much the plant has grown in the next photo. IMG_3147.jpg

Feb. 20 2015.  What growth!  Observe the height of the leaves above the barrel rim that were below just 18 days ago.  Also, note the height of the two flowers and the leaf diameter.  Lastly, note the leaf coverage in multiple canopy layers with the largest leaves on top and the medium and then smaller leaves below.  These will all progress to form a full canopy with approximately 6-inch diameter leaves by April/May.  See previous posts for photos of these very same plants from past years.  This is an important point; some of these plants are the same originally planted in September 2014. Though we did lose a few in last summer's heat and our intentional neglect.  See this post for more information. 

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Feb. 20 2015 continued:  Wasabi flowers are rare indeed. The plants drop their leaves on winter solstice and commence their flowering cycle which ends in mid April (but can continue through June). This specimen grown in a typically shady spot in Portland Oregon in standard-issue garden soil and conditions. The flowers are edible traditionally tempura-fried or steeped into a tea.

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Feb. 20 2015: My finger pointing at the apical meristem growth.  That is the top of the plant.  This is the most important part of wasabi growth.  If the plant start has this, it'll continue growing.  The side stems senesce as the plant grows vertically and if really happy, producing a wasabi rhizome underneath!

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Posted on February 21, 2016 and filed under Plant Start, Uncategorized.

Tour Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm Virtually

Wasabi Fans, We receive frequent requests to tour the Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm.  Honestly, we'd love to accommodate everyone.  We love sharing our produce with our customers.  This creates a problem as, for various reasons, we cannot provide farm tours.  To solve this problem, the good folks at the Zagat Guide created a fantastic video of the Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm.  The video chronicles the harvest process and includes the grand finale of grating the rhizome fresh a the farm.  This is the tour we would want to provide every one of you that request(ed / s) a tour.  We hope you enjoy the tour.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EYWW1NGJMI&w=1280&h=720]

As evident on our media page, Jennifer has been the subject of many past videos.  She wanted to take a breather on this one.  Hint, somewhat like "Where's Waldo" spot the faithful farm dog Sam in nearly every segment.

We hope you enjoy this video.  We are very grateful to the creators and producers of this video.  We think they did a fantastic job and created an entertaining and informative narrative.

 

Posted on January 9, 2016 .

How Long Does It Last Part II: Nature's Flavor Wrapper (AKA Oxidization)

Crib notes from this entry: the black is just oxidization and actually seals in flavor and heat.  The white shoots are edible and quite tasty.  Order more wasabi than you think you'll immediately use because it should last for two months - and once you have the fresh, hot, real wasabi you'll use it more in your cooking (see this page for the many culinary uses). Before devouring this entry, I recommend reading the preceding entry, How Long Does It Last (Part I) for reference.  That referential entry anecdotally describes the wasabi rhizome's preservation abilityIn that post/entry, I described informing demo customers that the wasabi rhizome they just sampled was stored in the refrigerator for two months.  We also provided a comparison to freshly-harvested with no discernible flavor difference. This entry (Part II), shows what a two-month old rhizome looks like, preparation, presentation and an unexpected spontaneous gift from the wasabi rhizome.

The below rhizomes are over two months old and were placed in the bottom of a standard residential refrigerator vegetable drawer bin and frankly, neglected.  They were moved about, jostled and shoved aside after each week's farmers' market trip to make room for beets and summer greens.  They were wrapped in a (at one time damp) paper towel in a plastic bag; which comprises the basics of our recommended storage procedure. The white shoots all grew without the benefit of photosynthesis and is typical of post-harvest wasabi starting at about six weeks (see this recent entry about planting wasabi plant starts with white shoot growth). Bonus, unexpected, spontaneous gift: the white shoots are edible and actually quite tasty. But that's not the purpose of this post, but was included in this previous entry.  So, your long-in-the-tooth wasabi in the bottom of the refrigerator is still fine to grate up, will still pack a heat and flavor punch and has these delicious little flavor-packed shoots that your guests likely have never seen or tasted and will be a great dinner conversation topic.  So, go ahead, order a bit more wasabi rhizome than you expect to use immediately and keep it until (from now) Christmas or longer.  It'll be fine and you can grow fun, edible (and safe) things in your refrigerator!

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For reference, below is a package of freshly-harvested wasabi rhizomes from Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm

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The black is an oxidization layer that is naturally-forming and does NOT indicate spoilage.  Actual wasabi rhizome spoilage will be white or grey-colored and will be very stinky.  (Wasabi is a member of the brassica family which also includes broccoli; imagine stinky broccoli and magnify.)  Shown below is the preserved wasabi under the oxidized layer

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Essentially, if the wasabi does not stink; eat it.  The oxidization is millimeters thin and is shown below.  Though difficult to see, this rhizome tip is actually cutaway (reference the thin cut line about mid-point in the rhizome orientated top-to-bottom).

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This oxidization layer is nature's natural flavor wrapper.  It's edible - though for flavor sake I don't recommend eating it - it is not mold. The wasabi rhizome essentially seals itself from the degratory effects of oxygen. Think of it as nature's Rustoleum (trademarked / etc. I'm sure).  I typically scrape it off with the back of a knife.  A standard  peeler can also be used, though I this usually removes more rhizome flesh than I would prefer.

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To use these older rhizomes, remove the amount remove the oxidization from the length of rhizome that you want to grate as shown below.  Wrap these rhizomes back up in the same damp paper towel in the same plastic bag and I would imagine that they would be good for another month or so. The cut area of the grated area will re-oxidize and reseal the rhizome.  Just remember remember to not put it at the very very back of the refrigerator because it can freeze and that will make the rhizome mushy.  Freezing will affect the consistency and it will reduce the flavor as the heat.  These qualities are retained in the cell walls, which, once broken releases the heat and flavor.  The water inside the cells is released by the freeze-related expansion.  It's like the cracks in a mason jar glass that was completely with water and put it in the freezer.

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So everyone, enjoy your wasabi and don't be afraid to buy more than you might need because shipping is expensive and the rhizomes will last for a long time and it will grow these white shoots you can put on a dish and people will be rather amazed - and we hope, quite pleased as well.IMG_2713

Posted on November 3, 2015 .