At Kinjirushi Wasabi, we were the first in the market to develop a grating process that preserves the aroma and pungency of fresh wasabi in a frozen state. As many of you are aware, fresh wasabi pungency is actually very short lived after it has been initially grated. From the point the wasabi is grated, the aroma and pungency only has a life span of about 10 minutes. The peak aroma and pungency actually occurs at about 2.5 minutes from grating. After that, the aroma and pungency decline until it is completely gone past 10 minutes.
Due to this short life span, theoretically, people can only enjoy the true flavor of wasabi through fresh wasabi that is freshly grated in front of them. However, due to limited production, this makes it very difficult for people who do not live in wasabi grown areas to enjoy this wonderful vegetable and all of its flavors. Our founders at Kinjirushi Wasabi knew that this would be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when they started selling wasabi and ultimately came up with our Ultra Cold Grating Technique to preserve the aroma and pungency so the world can now enjoy real wasabi flavor at almost any location.
What is Ultra Cold Grating?
Ultra Cold Grating process is grating the fresh wasabi at -196 degrees C and packaging and transporting the wasabi in that frozen state. By grating at this low temperature, it halts the enzyme reactions in the wasabi which allows to maintain the aroma and pungency of the natural wasabi flavor. This frozen wasabi can be transported to any location as long as it is not defrosted and each person can enjoy the wonderful taste of fresh wasabi through this technology.
Room Temperature Wasabi. What is it and how is it different?
Many room temperature wasabi is also grated wasabi. However, based on the information above, once the wasabi is grated at room temperature, any natural aroma or pungency from the wasabi disappears by the time it is packaged into the tubes. Therefore, food additives are added to add flavor and spiciness to mimic the taste and aroma of real wasabi. However, due to the artificial flavoring, the taste will be significantly different from real wasabi. Room temperature wasabi is created for convenience and ease of shipment since it does not require cold storage. It also has a longer shelf life compared to the frozen wasabi which makes it good for those looking for an affordable wasabi.
Just FYI, most wasabi used in sushi restaurants around the world is actually powdered wasabi which is made from horseradish and mustard and contains no real wasabi. Check out our post on the difference between wasabi and horseradish here for more details.