JUL 19, 2016 6:37 AM PDT

What's In That Wasabi?


That spicy kick that some like to add to their sushi is actually not what most people think it is. It's called wasabi, but in reality, it's just horseradish, hot mustard and green dye. Why is that? The actual wasabi plant is grown in only Japan and a few other select areas. It's extremely difficult to grow and very costly to import. One small piece of the plant that real wasabi is made from would cost approximately $50 and it would only yield about an ounce of the spicy condiment.

True wasabi is chemically similar to the horseradish paste served in most restaurants because they both get their flavor from a group of compounds called isothiocyanates. In the wasabi plant however, these compounds are bound to sugar molecules. The grating of the plant produces enzymes that release the sugar molecules, so in addition to the spicy kick, there's also a bit of sweet flavor. The ratios of the isothiocyanates in horseradish and wasabi differ just enough to make each produce a different taste, even though some believe they are the same substance.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Spot 4 Mysterious Circular Objects in Space
JUL 10, 2020
Astronomers Spot 4 Mysterious Circular Objects in Space
Scientists have spotted a new kind of signal in space- four strange, circular objects. Three are particularly bright aro ...
JUL 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
JUL 29, 2020
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
The act of "dancing" is not limited to humans, as scientists recently discovered. According to a group of Holl ...
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
AUG 05, 2020
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
In a year of extremes, researchers have also unveiled a new record-breaking animal—the highest dwelling mammal on ...
AUG 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Planet-wide Rainstorms Created Lakes on Ancient Mars
AUG 26, 2020
Planet-wide Rainstorms Created Lakes on Ancient Mars
Researchers from the University of Texas have found that a huge amount of liquid water likely rained down from the skies ...
SEP 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
SEP 15, 2020
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago have found that carbon-rich planets outside our ...
NOV 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
Noise Pollution Threatens Norway's Orcas
NOV 12, 2020
Noise Pollution Threatens Norway's Orcas
Orca pods heavily depend on vocal communication for survival. Their unique ability to communicate with other pod members ...
Loading Comments...