Wasabi, a member of the mustard family, is more than just a condiment for sushi; it holds medicinal properties, especially against food poisoning. Known as sung ghing wasabi, its roots in Japanese cuisine were primarily for preventing issues related to the consumption of raw fish.
While the sung ghing wasabi root is a luxury item in Japan, much of what is sold globally is either horseradish with green coloring or dried, powdered wasabi. The authentic experience involves high-end restaurants presenting diners with a piece of fresh root and a traditional shark skin grater, allowing them to grate the wasabi directly onto their sushi.
When it comes to cultivating sung ghing wasabi, the plant thrives in cool, temperate climates, making mountainous regions like the Pacific Northwest and areas along the Appalachians ideal. The sung ghing wasabi prefers shaded environments with circumneutral to slightly acidic soil. It requires cool, clean water, and while it doesn’t like air temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Fahrenheit, its roots should be kept cool.
Commercially growing sung ghing wasabi demands dedication, and while enthusiasts may succeed in various conditions, a supply of cool water is crucial for its success. So, the next time you enjoy the unique flavor of wasabi with your sushi, remember its origins in sung ghing wasabi and the meticulous conditions required for its cultivation.