The centerpiece of this episode is our interview with Jennifer Bloeser of Oregon Coast Wasabi. Here are some fun facts about this fascinating ingredient.
Wasabi Growing Conditions
Wasabi is a FULL-SHADE plant, which means it thrives in the cool, wet climate of Oregon. But, that also makes it a versatile indoor plant if you can keep it away from windows or skylights. You can order wasabi plant starts directly from Oregon Coast Wasabi and give your green thumb a bit of exercise!
Wasabi Flavor Profile
The “wasabi” you get on your little plastic sushi tray is actually just rehydrated horseradish powder that’s dyed green. Sorry.
Real wasabi has a much more complex flavor profile that features a number of floral and vegetal notes. In addition, the leaves have a peppery, almost celery-like quality and are delicious in a salad, or as a green juice base.
In addition, Jennifer mentioned that the chemical responsible for the “spice” in wasabi is actually water-based (as opposed to oil-based spice molecules found in chilis). This is why you get that quick hit to the nose that immediately fades, allowing your mucous membranes to recover more quickly.
Historical Uses for Wasabi
According to many historical records, wasabi has informally observed nutrigenic properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects. This is perhaps why it was paired with raw seafood. There has also been some interest recently in using wasabi as an anti-cancer agent, and even a pipe dream about hair growth.
No one at Modern Bar Cart or Oregon Coast Wasabi claims to be a doctor or offer medical advice on this front. Please consult your physician before doing literally anything.