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Preparing, Using and Storing Fresh Wasabi

Fresh Wasabi Stems


Despite what you may have heard or read, the familiar green paste of wasabi is not made from the ‘root’ or ‘rhizome’ of the plant at all, but the stems. The stems are short, thick and quite knobbly in appearance and grow from ground level upwards so they are in fact a stem, not a root or rhizome of the plant.


A very fine grater is needed to prepare the perfect wasabi paste and traditionally the Japanese use a SharkSkin or Oroshigane grater.  


Begin by grating the stem in a circular motion on the grater to produce a fine, soft paste. The paste should then be moulded into a loose ball and allowed to rest for at least 2-3 minutes to develop its characteristic intense heat and sweet flavour.

 

After the resting period the wasabi is usually served either direct with the meal or presented in a series of small bowls with other condiments such as soy sauce, mirin and pickled ginger.



Fresh wasabi loses its intense flavour within a few hours as the flavour components are quite volatile and will evaporate off, so for this reason wasabi should always be grated fresh for each meal.  


All of the wasabi stem can be grated into paste, however the bottom of the stem is the oldest material and is usually hotter whilst the top of the stem is younger material and is a little sweeter and greener in colour.  Many chefs grate a little from both ends to ensure a uniform flavour and colour.





Storing Fresh Wasabi


Unused portions of wasabi stems can be stored for up to three weeks in a refrigerator.  Simply wrap in paper towel and seal in a snap-lock bag or airtight container and then place in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator. Change the wrapping every few days.  The cut surfaces will oxidise and darken but these can simply be peeled off to reveal fresh wasabi ready to use.


Wasabi leaves and leaf stalks keep really well if treated similarly to lettuce and other leafy vegetables.  Keep them damp and store in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator.


Wasabi flower stems are best stood upright in a container of water and kept cool, so the remaining buds can open up ready for use.



Shima Wasabi Pty Ltd

Tasmania, Australia

ABN   30 128 404 777

03 6331 6983

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Member of Brand Tasmania