What is great about a wasabi plant is that you can eat every part of it. This includes the leaves and stems, the prized rhizomes and even the edible flowers. The leaves can be used to put the punch back into an ordinary salad. It just adds enough wasabi flavour to bring about the zingy heat. These 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 much more significant in the prized rhizome. What better than having your own wasabi plant growing in a pot or in your back garden. While you are waiting for the rhizome, you can have a continuous supply of fresh wasabi leaves and stems. Just cut off the leaves and place in your favourite sandwich to enjoy the wasabi experience.
During the growing cycle of the wasabi plant in your garden, you will be surprised to see the large heart-shaped leaves spring out about 50 cm in length and the busy plant could spread out to a metre in width. So, make show you allow them enough space so you can cut off the leaves and stems at different times to obtain small to large heart-shaped leaves to eat. These leaves are very nutritious and good for your health with many medicinal properties such as antibacterial effects. However, while the plant is still growing the leaves will die back during the winter season as nature concentrates on forming a swollen stem called the rhizome or as sometimes referred to as wasabi root. These wasabi plants will survive temperatures as low as –5ºC and just remember to keep them in a shady place.
Enjoy your fresh wasabi – providing new foods for your table!
Sofia Kitson, Blogger