Horseradish was first imported into Japan at the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912). The root looked like that of a radish, and its pungent taste was similar to Wasabi, so it began to be called Wasabi-radish or western Wasabi in order to distinguish it from Japanese Wasabi.
Horseradish was used long before 1000B.C, and is also said to have existed in the Roman Empire. After that period, its cultivation extended from eastern Europe to western Europe. Finally, in around the 13th century, cultivation extended to many parts of Europe, and horseradish was used as a spice, and sometimes even as a medicine. In China, where it is known as Rakkon, it has only recently started to be used as a spice.
Japanese Wasabi is very difficult to cultivate since it can only be grown in a limited climate. As a result, Wasabi tends to be very expensive.
Cultivation of Wasabi
The best place for cultivating Wasabi is in north-facing mountain gorges where it is cool and away from direct sunlight. Wasabi is grown in clean and slow-moving streams with water cooler than 15¡î. The offshoots which come from the main stem (parent stem) are planted as seedlings, and harvested after 1 – 2 years.
Cultivation of Horseradish
Horseradish is usually grown in fields in places with a cool climate. It is harvested after 2 – 3 years by digging the roots up from the ground.
Horseradish is used in Wasabi products, such as Wasabi powder and Wasabi paste, etc. This is because it contains the same pungent component as Wasabi, but is easier to cultivate. S&B has developed its own technique of extracting the special qualities of both horseradish and Wasabi in order to meet the growing demand and to supply the best-quality Wasabi products at a reasonable price.