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Miso: Gift from the Gods

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asian women all ages 200x300 What is Miso?

Miso is a Valuable Food

Soybeans are full of high-quality protein and other nutrients, but these nutrients are unavailable to the body when the whole beans are served in their baked, boiled, or roasted forms. When the soybean goes through the process of natural fermentation, they go through a transformation in which almost all of their complex protein, carbohydrate, and lipid (oil or fat) molecules are broken down into readily digestible amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids.

One Cup a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
While in Japan, I experienced that a cup of miso soup in the morning starts the day, not a cup of coffee.  It was not that long ago that the Japanese made their own miso at home and had pride in their homemade miso.  Rice and miso are the staples of the Japanese diet. The production volume of miso in Japan is about 600,000 tons and about 3,000 tons are shipped overseas.

The Japanese believe health is dependent on eating habits and we are finally realizing the truth of that. They are known for their longevity in the world and much of this can be attributed to the health benefits from miso. An ancient saying refers to miso as a “doctor killer.”

How is Miso Made?

Koji, a yeast mold, is added to soybeans and other ingredients (rice and barley), which are then allowed to ferment.  The time of fermentation can range from weeks to years; depending on the type of miso. Once the fermentation process is complete, it is then ground into a paste.

Two General Types of Miso Based on Color & Taste:

1. Sweet, light colored miso has been aged for less time, is higher in koji culture and carbohydrates, milder in taste, and lower in salt. It is good for salad dressings and other summer cooking. Sweet misos are also ideal for those with delicate digestive systems. A very diluted sweet miso broth can be tolerated by children as young as six months. Genmai, kome, shiro, and sometimes rice are all light misos.

2. Darker miso is aged longer (2-3 years), has stronger flavor, higher salt content and lower koji content. It is higher in protein and stronger in flavor.

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

71 comments

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2:34AM PST on Dec 8, 2014

Miso is great. Makes awesome dressing, soup, gravy, everything. I even eat a small bit straight. Nice to see a list of the different types. If you are new to miso, try it!! It's not so expensive when you see how much you actually use. It's concentrated. I would suggest the white or yellowish types for starts.
yummmmm!

8:59AM PST on Dec 6, 2014

good to know...thanks..

11:59PM PDT on Sep 29, 2014

Thanks for the info. I want to eat some miso

5:49AM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

I buy miso by internet in a japanese shop in Paaarisss (with the proper amount of radiations ;p) use some about every day and in fact it s not so expensive considering the few grams you need to use.
adopted for soups, sauces, dressings,excellent for marinades and so on...i use clear water instead of oil.
The one i prefer is Shinshu miso, with seedweed and bonite.

7:30AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

too expensive :-(

8:47PM PDT on May 19, 2014

Something new to me. Thanks.

2:34PM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

Cool, thanks.

7:43AM PST on Jan 28, 2014

Miso messes up my digestive tract in a really bad way for at least 3 days, so I avoid it like the plague.

Anything made with soy (in the US) is GMO now....even if it says it's organic, there is too much cross-contamination in the fields for the companies to guarantee that their soy is non-gmo. It may be grown organically, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't tainted on a deeper level.

3:20AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

Thank you Diana. Very interesting. I didn't know...

3:11AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

oh, i love miso!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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