Does wasabi go bad? Wasabi is more than just a spicy condiment paired with sushi. It is an integral part of the Japanese culture! Wasabi is available in many forms so the shelf life will differ from product to product. Fresh wasabi, which is made from grated horseradish, has the shortest shelf life. Unless it was packed properly, fresh wasabi could spoil or lose some of its flavors. It could also take on a drier appearance so the texture could turn grainy.
Powdered wasabi is packed in tin cans and it has the longest shelf life. Without any prep, a can of wasabi powder could keep in the pantry for at least 3 years. Since the product doesn’t contain water, it won’t spoil easily.
Image used under Creative Commons from Franck Mahon
Wasabi paste is made of horseradish, mustard, starch, and green food coloring. Sometimes spinach powder is added in place of food dyes. Most products do not contain real wasabi plant. Wasabi paste has high water content so it has a limited shelf life and it requires chilling. You can also freeze wasabi paste but do not keep it in the freezer for long periods of time. Doing so could change the texture of the paste. Also, the wasabi paste won’t be as spicy as it used to be.
Proper Way of Storing Wasabi
When it comes to storing wasabi, how you pack it will depend on the form of the product. Here’s a guide on how to store wasabi properly:
Storing Fresh Wasabi
Storing freshly grated wasabi made from horseradish is recommended. But do so only for a short period of time, about a week or so. This ensures optimal flavor and spiciness. Fresh wasabi is best kept in the fridge in an airtight container. Do not leave the container open for optimal freshness. You can also keep whole wasabi rhizome (wasabi root) in the fridge.
Just wrap the rhizome in a damp paper towel and place it in a bowl. Leave the wrapped rhizome uncovered until you are ready to grate it. Never use plastic because the rhizome needs air circulation. Always check the paper towel, it should be little damp so the rhizome won’t dry out. The edges of the rhizome could darken over time. However, the dark spots could be scraped off easily once you are ready to grate.
Storing Powdered Wasabi
Powdered wasabi shouldn’t be kept in its original packaging. Tin cans tend to turn rusty while in storage. You can store unopened wasabi powder in the pantry. For opened cans of wasabi powder, transfer the product in an airtight container. Then, you can either store the product in the fridge or freezer. Wasabi powder has a long shelf life although it loses its potency over time.
Storing Wasabi Paste
Wasabi paste is best kept in the fridge, chilled at all times. The cold temps will extend its shelf life. However, keeping the wasabi paste in the freezer for a long time could dry it out. Consume your stock as soon as possible for optimal flavor and texture.
Wasabi paste is not recommended for freezing. The product could dry out and thawing can be problematic. But if you must, we highly recommend storing the product in an airtight container prior to freezing. If you can, use a vacuum sealer to retain the aroma and spiciness of the condiment. Even when the wasabi paste has been vacuum sealed, expect deterioration at some point. This goes especially if the wasabi has been stored in the freezer for a long, long time.
For hassle-free thawing, you want to divide the wasabi paste into manageable portions. Pack them separately. By splitting the wasabi paste, you don’t have to keep reopening and resealing the wasabi paste. Fussing with the packaging will weaken its aroma and spiciness.
Image used under Creative Commons from chispita_666
Shelf Life of Wasabi
Wasabi powder will for at least 1 to 3 years in the pantry and a year in the fridge. Wasabi root will only last a day or two at room temperature and a month in the fridge. Wasabi paste will keep for a year in the fridge.
How to Tell if Wasabi Has Gone Bad?
It depends on the type of wasabi you are storing. Freshly grated wasabi and wasabi root have the shortest shelf life so yes; they will go bad at some point. You want to check for signs of mold growth or blue or gray specks all over the condiment. Discard the freshly grated wasabi if it becomes moldy. As for wasabi root, you can scrape the molds off but use it at your own risk.
Powdered wasabi should keep indefinitely in the pantry, in the fridge, or in the freezer. The lack of moisture inhibits bacterial and mold growth. However, the wasabi loses its potency over time. If your wasabi paste has been sitting in the pantry months after its expiry date, take a pinch of the powder and give it a sniff. If the aroma is weak, don’t expect your stock to be as good as it used to be.
For wasabi paste, this product is prone to mold growth. If you are seeing bluish or grayish specks all over it, discard the condiment.
Wasabi is a versatile condiment, it mixes well with other ingredients. The next time you find yourself with too much wasabi stock, store them in the fridge or freezer! Just keep all the storage tips we’ve outlined above so you can store wasabi properly.