How to Store Wasabi Powder and Make It Last for Years

Wasabi powder is a mainstay in sushi enjoyment, but the experience can be severely impacted if it is not stored properly.

How do you properly store wasabi powder for a long time? You start with the right container, which needs to be airtight, dry, and impeccably clean. It will also need to be placed in a cool, dry place and kept away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. When done right, it can last for up to four years while still retaining its quality.

On that note, you can easily ruin the quality of the wasabi powder that you are trying to store without even meaning to. This is why you need the right information.

How to Properly Store Wasabi Powder?

Knowing how to properly store wasabi allows you to basically preserve the condiment so that it is safe to eat and will retain its flavor. However, it’s worth knowing a bit more about it so that you can understand why you need to do what you need to do. A lot of people may not know this, but wasabi powder is not actually real wasabi.

Real wasabi actually comes in the form of a root and it is quite difficult to get ahold of if you are not an owner of a sushi restaurant. What’s more, wasabi powder is not the only type of commercial wasabi that you can find at the market. There are also wasabi pastes, which can be quite a bit different compared to wasabi power in a few ways.

To understand the differences between these types of wasabi, take a look at the table below:

Wasabi TypeDescription
Wasabi PowderThe fake version is made of cornstarch, horseradish, green coloring, and mustard flour. The real version is the dried paste of the wasabi and ground.
Wasabi PasteMade of the same ingredients as the powder, but with the added water or oils for paste consistency. The real version is kept as is, with some added preservatives for better shelf-life.
Wasabi rhizomeThe root of the wasabi plant. It is often grated, broken down, and served as a paste in high-class sushi restaurants.

It’s worth remembering that up to 95% of the wasabi powders and wasabi pastes that you are going to find in markets anywhere in the world are fake. They are not made of real wasabi. Rather, they are intended to simply mimic the smell and taste of the grated wasabi rhizome.

Suffice it to say, these fake wasabi products cannot compete with the real thing, but there are also some products that are made from the root. They are just much harder to come by and would also require delicate storage processes so that their shelf-lives can be extended, even for just a bit.

This will then make this discussion a bit lopsided. On the one hand, if you want to have the best experience with regards to your sushi enjoyment, you will need the real thing. On the other hand, if you want to store the wasabi powder so that it will last for years, you will need the fake powder. Just to cover everything, let’s take a look at this issue from both perspectives.

·         Real Wasabi Powder – You can tell if the wasabi powder that you get is real or not because it will actually say so on the container. You will also be able to tell that you have the genuine thing because it will cost you a lot of money, even for the smallest amount. These are comparable to saffron, in that manner.

This type of wasabi powder can also only be obtained from specialty shops and their method for making them can be a bit of a mystery. However, you can rest assured that the ingredients are nothing like the cheap imitation that has pervaded the market.

In any case, if you want to preserve this type of wasabi powder, you will need to do so carefully. Asking from the shop before leaving would be your best bet because they will likely know. However, if it was given to you as a gift, you will need to keep an eye on it.

To start with, you need to make sure that the storage area where you will place the real wasabi powder has a near-constant temperature. It needs to be cool and it needs to be dry. A pantry should do, but you also need to make sure that it doesn’t get moist when the air becomes humid.

After opening it, you need to make sure to seal it tight again. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the powder that is made from real wasabi will only last you a few months, at most. This is another way for you to tell if you have the real thing or not.

·         Fake Wasabi Powder – As for fake wasabi powder, you really don’t have to think too much about storing it safely as you would with real wasabi powder. Even so, if you want to make sure that it will last you for a long time, you will still need to be a bit careful.

As already discussed, fake wasabi powder is made of ingredients like cornstarch, horseradish, mustard, preservatives, and green coloring. Depending on the maker, they may throw in some other stuff there, but those are the usual suspects.

This then means that you are looking at something that can last you for a long time. However, this only happens when you can keep it dry so that it doesn’t clump up. The first order of business is to make sure that you place the powder in a container that is completely free of dirt and has no moisture, whatsoever.

It will also need to be airtight so that no amount of moisture from the air can get in. If you can, wrap the container with clear film so that it’s as safe as it can possibly be. Even so, this is still not going to be enough.

You will also need to place it in a cool, dry place with absolutely no leaks and no chance of getting wet. Remember that condensation can still form inside the container, so the temperature must be relatively stable, as well.

Finally, if you are going to open it for use, make sure to reseal it properly. Doing this will help make sure that you are going to be able to keep using the powder for up to four years.

How Long Does Powdered Wasabi Last?

Depending on how you handle wasabi powder, it can last for a very long time. As already mentioned in the discussion above, the length of time with which wasabi can be good to consume will depend on a few factors.

In the case of fresh wasabi that has just been grated for customers on that day, it is good only for that day. It cannot be preserved by any means since it will lose its freshness in a matter of hours. You can’t even put it in the fridge because its constitution has already been broken down due to the grating process.

As for wasabi powder that is made from the real thing, it will have the same level of shelf-life after it is turned into a paste as grated wasabi. Once it has been formed, there is no point keeping it around for more than a few hours.

On the one hand, this is what makes these particular options so great since they provide you with more authenticity to your dining experience. On the other hand, they are also highly perishable. As a result, you won’t be able to enjoy them any time you want in any kind of preserved form.

You could actually extend the shelf-life of powdered wasabi that is made from the real thing, but it would be woefully shorter than that of fake wasabi powder. Even under the best conditions, you will only have a few months with this kind of product.

As for fake wasabi powder, it was already mentioned that it can last for as long as four years. However, this is only if you actually took the appropriate steps. If you are careless and simply place the container in the open, it will still expire faster due to the exposure to light. Dark and cool is always the way to go, and it must not be anywhere with high humidity.

This means that you can just forget about putting the wasabi in a cupboard under the sink or near a heating pipe. You certainly don’t want to place it near your cooking area, where it could be exposed to the heat of the stove. These are just some of the things that you will need to take into consideration if you want to truly extend the shelf-life of wasabi by a huge amount.

How to Preserve Wasabi Taste?

The wasabi powder that you are going to get is going to impact a lot of things about the experience that you are going to have when eating sushi. As a matter of fact, it can affect a whole lot more than that, provided you tend to enjoy the full spectrum of Japanese cuisine. This is because this green paste is used in a whole lot more dishes.

As such, you will want to preserve the taste of the wasabi that you get so that you can have the same experience every single time. To start with, you will need to avoid the following:

·         Moisture

·         Extremely low temperatures

·         Contact with liquids

·         Exposure to air

·         Humidity

·         Dirt and other contaminants

A lot of things can happen between you getting the wasabi powder, transferring it to a storage container, storing it, and then taking it out for you to use. In any of those stages, the powder can get wet, be contaminated, or be exposed too long to open air. These are the factors that can change the taste of the wasabi.

As for what changes you are supposed to be looking out for, there is the loss of flavor or smell. Remember that the scent of wasabi is supposed to be so strong that your eyes would begin to water the moment you get close to it. Even if you were on the other side of a room, you might still be able to smell it.

This is why this loss of overpowering odor can be a bad sign. As for the taste, wasabi is supposed to leave you with a burning sensation in your mouth, throat, and nostrils.

Even though these may sound unpleasant, they are actually the desired effects that people tend to look for in wasabi. With this being the case, if the wasabi powder no longer tastes like that, it has lost its desirable quality.

Related Questions

Does Wasabi Go Bad?

Yes, wasabi goes bad and it can do so quite quickly if you are not careful. Even if the wasabi is in its powdered form, contact to air can quickly oxidize the product. Once this happens, it will start to get lumpy and will no longer form the desirable texture, taste, or smell you want.

How Long Does Wasabi Last After Opening?

After opening the packet of wasabi powder that you bought, you only have a few hours to place it in another container that is airtight before it goes bad. Exposure to air is extremely bad for wasabi powder, but leaving it out in the open also exposes it to contaminants.

Signs of Wasabi Gone Bad

If you want to know how you can tell if the wasabi has gone bad, you can use certain signs to make that judgment. Among the most reliable would be the following:

·         Appearance

·         Container condition

·         Smell

·         Taste

·         Reconstitution

Starting with the wasabi in its powdered form, once you take a look at the product and it has started to form lumps, this means that it has been exposed to moisture or air. When that happens, it has already started losing its taste and smell, which are highly valued in wasabi.

The container itself can also offer telltale signs of the wasabi having gone bad. If there is moisture inside, then the wasabi can safely be considered spoiled. The same goes for when there are molds or other forms of contamination in the container.

There are also times when insects make their way inside the storage, but this should not be possible if the wasabi is still good since the smells usually repel pests. When you start seeing ants and bugs inside, this is a good indication that you might as well throw it away.

Then there’s the smell. When you add water to wasabi powder, you can tell right away whether it’s still good or bad because the odor will be overpowering. Your eyes will start to water, the back of your throat will start to burn, and your nostrils will also be irritated. As unpleasant as those sensations maybe, this is proof that the wasabi is still good.

If none of those things happen when you add water to the wasabi, this means that it has since expired. You don’t even need to taste it then because you can already tell that it would not be worth the effort. If you do decide to put it in your mouth, another sign that the wasabi has already gone bad is if it doesn’t burn as much as it should.

Smelling the wasabi might be a challenge, but actually eating it can put even the strongest of constitutions to shame. You are dealing with something that is specifically intended to badger your senses into submission. If your experience in tasting the wasabi leaves you feeling less than overwhelmed, you have a bad batch on your hands.

Finally, when you add water to wasabi, it should form into a paste. Assuming you didn’t add to much water, you should then be able to form it into any shape you want like clay. If the powder does not reconstitute properly even with the right amount of waste and easily breaks apart, it’s not good for consumption anymore.

Can Formed Wasabi Be Preserved?

Speaking of reconstituting wasabi powder, there is also the question of whether or not you can actually preserve the condiment once it has already been turned into paste. The answer to that is yes, but only up to a point. You cannot expect to be able to store formed wasabi for more than a few days.

At best, it will last you one week and after that, it will be too dry and too tasteless to be worth anything. Of course, this is also assuming that you actually stored it properly. You will need to make sure that it is covered completely with clear film or placed in a glass container with an airtight lid.

Unlike with wasabi powder, it will also need to be placed in the fridge in order to prevent it from clumping up. You can tell that the wasabi has survived the ordeal when it passes all of the tests discussed above. 

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