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Food / May 18, 2022

This Irish farmer is growing wasabi in Armagh

Food / May 18, 2022

This Irish farmer is growing wasabi in Armagh

Did you know the world’s most expensive vegetable — the Japanese wasabi — is grown in Ireland?

notoriously challenging to cultivate, Wasabi has been carefully nurtured in a garden just outside Tandragee in County Armagh. Bord Bia will launch it over the June bank holiday weekend.

Wasabi is a member of the brassica family, grown primarily for its enlarged underground stem, sometimes referred to as a rhizome. Demand for Wasabi outstrips supply globally. As a result, there are now many “wasabi” products, including faux wasabi paste made from horseradish.

The traditional sushi accompaniment is typically grown in mountain streams of its native Japan and is worth a cool one point five mil an acre. With the growth in popularity of Asian food in Ireland, this seems like a smart move from the father sone team behind the farm.

The first written record of wasabi is believed to be from the first Japanese medical encyclopaedia 918AD – stating that the crop had been grown in Japan for at least a thousand years. Two cultivation methods are used for producing commercial wasabi, soil-grown wasabi (Oka) and water grown wasabi (Sawa).

Using real Wasabi ensures compliance and brings simplicity and authenticity to package labelling. Wasabi contains a high concentration of glucosinolates which are converted to isothiocyanates (ITCs) when damaged. This is Wasabi’s natural defence system in action – and where its antioxidant power comes from. Wasabi petioles and leaves can also be consumed and possess similar gustative qualities to the wasabi rhizome.

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