If you are throwing a sushi or sashimi party at home, you know there is one thing you can’t do without. Yes, the exotic green, nose-kicking sharp condiment- wasabi.
The pungent taste may be intolerable to some, but for those who have developed a taste for wasabi, there’s no going back. It’s wasabi all the way.
Wasabi or Japanese horseradish is a difficult-to-grow plant used to prepare a pungent condiment for Japanese cuisines.
But over the years, the world has grown fond of this spicy food condiment, and to meet worldwide demands, it is now commercially grown in many countries, including North America, New Zealand, China, and Korea.
Apart from Japanese cuisines, wasabi goes well with many foods, and it can be used to prepare several recipes. You could use it in pasta, steak chips, wasabi dressing for salads, and even pizza dips.
You probably want to stock your pantry with some good wasabi so let’s dive right into answering your question, “how long does wasabi last?”
How Long Does Wasabi Last? Does Wasabi Go Bad?
Fresh wasabi root has a short shelf life as compared to manufactured ones. It can last approximately up to 2 weeks in the fridge with the rhizome intact. Once it’s gone bad, it’ll go soft and mushy with no crunch.
Wasabi is expensive, even in Japan. Most wasabi pastes and powders in the market are not real but a mixture of horseradish, mustard, and artificial color and flavoring. Quality wasabi is most definitely a premium delicacy.
Wasabi oil is another great wasabi-based product. It is most often drizzled over fish, potatoes, or stir fry vegetables.
Though it is less popular than the paste or powder form, it has a long shelf life due to its anti-microbial properties. Moreover, wasabi oil even extends shelf life when used in other sauces.
For example, according to a study, mayonnaise and tartare sauces made with 11% wasabi oil had a longer shelf life.
They could be stored for up to 8 weeks at temperatures of up to 30oC. Sauces with a lower level of wasabi, on the other hand, were unstable even at 4oC.
Wasabi powders and pastes come with a ‘best before’ or use ‘by date’ printed on the label. The powder may have a maximum shelf-life spanning between 6 to 12 months post the vouched date if stored correctly.
As for wasabi paste, it can last from several weeks to 3 months. While wasabi powder need not be refrigerated or frozen, wasabi paste can benefit from being refrigerated or frozen.
This is because wasabi paste contains moisture, unlike wasabi powder, and will do better in temperature-regulated environments.
Wasabi may last well beyond its ‘best by’ date, but it’s not going to be as flavor-packed and pungent as when it’s fresh. If you want to experience wasabi at its best, consume it while fresh.
How to Tell if Wasabi is Bad?
When your wasabi goes bad, what’ll happen is it’ll start to look, smell and taste different.
Fresh wasabi root will lose its crunchiness and go soft and soppy. Its flavor and pungency start to decline once it’s past its shelf-life.
Moreover, whatever health benefits fresh wasabi can provide will no longer be effective once your wasabi has gone bad.
Interestingly, according to Healthline, wasabi has many promising health benefits. The chemical compounds called isothiocyanates or ITCs have anti-bacterial properties and may help fight food poisoning.
These chemicals may also help improve bone and brain health, promote fat loss, and have anti-cancer properties.
However, most of the wasabi we find in the market is not real because the real wasabi root is hard to grow and expensive.
So what we’re left with is fake wasabi powders and pastes made of common horseradish, mustard powder, artificial coloring, and flavor.
Manufactured wasabi powder and pastes will definitely last well beyond fresh wasabi root.
This is because it has been processed and mixed with preservatives. However, they, too, will go bad after exceeding their shelf-life.
Bad wasabi powder may show discoloration and smell off. You may also spot algae growth on the powder when stored incorrectly.
The signs of bad wasabi paste are very apparent. You’ll notice a separation of wasabi condiments with the water in the paste. It is also going to smell sharply rancid and taste funky once gone bad.
Unless your food is specifically for fermentation, it’s best you have them fresh. This is true, especially for the wasabi root if you ever get some because you’ll be missing out on all its nutritional benefits.
Make sure you’re storing your wasabi the right way to get the most out of it.
Airtight containers, zipped plastic storage packages, and proper refrigeration are all essential to extend food life. You do not want to let this savory delight go to waste before it’s time.