The Root with Flavor: Horseradish
Horseradish is a perennial plant first grown in Egypt in 1500 B.C. It slowly made its way across central Europe to the United States. The Germans called the root meerrettich, or sea radish, because of its tendency to grow near water. By 1640 A.D., English peasants were consuming horseradish, and by the late 1600s, it gained popularity amont the aristocracy, who enjoyed the way it complimented beef and oysters. Commercial cultivation of horseradish started in the mid-1850s in American and has since expanded to about 3,000 acreas.
Wasabi was first cultivated in the 10th century and is a perennial vegetable found typically in fields or in cold mountain streams. Native to Japan, sawa or semi-aquatic wasabi, is higher in price and quality than the field-grown oka variety. Although daruma is the most popular type of wasabi, the mazuma variety is the hotter of the two. Most of the higher quality wasabi is grown in Japan, but New Zealand and the U.S. produce small crops, too.
From Restaurant Business, Sept. 15, 2003
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