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    Miso

Food Percentage of DRI per 100 grams
copper
47  
manganese
47  
vitamin K
35  
protein
23  
zinc
23  
phosphorus
23  
fiber
23  
omega-3 fats
17  
choline
17  
vitamin B2
17  

MISO paste is a staple in the Alchemy kitchen. It´s a useful ingredient when it comes to creating savory dishes with a rich and flavorful umami taste. Miso can be used in broths, stocks, soups and sauces in place of animal bones. It is also a great replacement for MSG-containing bullion products. Miso is a Japanese word that means "fermented beans." Traditionally it is made by fermenting cooked soy beans with micro-organisms such as fungus Aspergillus(Kojiin Japanese), salt and often a grain such as rice or barley. The paste is then aged between a few months up to a few years. 

The beans used during fermentation are almost always soybeans. However, it is also possible to make soy free miso with other legumes such as chickpeas or adzuki beans.

If you choose to use miso made with soy, I recommend selecting a certified organic brand. Soy beans used to be a healthy food. However, just like corn, it is best to assume that any soy product could have been genetically modified or subject to GMO contamination. In the United States, genetically modified soybeans have gained 90% of the market. In other parts of the world, such as Asia, the likelihood of Genetically modified soybeans is not as high. However, conventional soy production requires lots of pesticides, therefore, organic is extra important when it comes to soy products compared to many other products. I prefer to use miso from chickpeas rather than soybeans whenever it is available since soy is an allergen and many customers of Alchemy restaurant are avoiding soy. 

Miso comes in many different colors such as white, beige, yellow, red, brown and black. Light miso (called “shiro miso” in Japanese) is usually made with a larger proportion of rice, and has a shorter fermentation time of just a few weeks or months. I find light miso to be very versatile as it has a mild flavor and because the color is not effecting the appearance of the food. I use it in light dressings, sauces, soups, and even in place of dairy in some recipes, such as vegan miso butter or miso mashed potatoes. Light miso is also great to use in fermented nut cheese as it can act as a culture starter (this only works if the miso is unpasteruized) as well as giving a hint of cheese flavor. White miso is a great replacement for nutritional yeast, just remember to put less salt to make up for the saltiness of the miso. 

Dark miso on the other hand may be fermented for months or even years. It has a saltier taste with plenty of umami and pungency that works well in brown sauces, rich glazes and tasty marinades. Coat vegetables such as butternut squash, cauliflower or root vegetables in dark miso glaze before roasting or baking. Use it in marinades for plant based bacon made with aubergine, zucchini, young coconut flesh or rice paper. Or marinate tofu or tempeh in a sauce with dark miso to take it to the next level. 

KNOW THIS

In addition to beans, miso usually contains some sort of grain such as white, red or brown rice, millet, barley or buckwheat. Sometimes rye or wheat is used. Beware that miso containing barley, rye or wheat are not gluten free.

When purchasing miso, I recommend reading the label to ensure there is no MSG or other chemicals added to the product. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that miso contains high amounts of salt, and therefore ideally, consumption should be limited to approximately 6g per day or less.  

PASTERUIZED VERSUS “LIVING” MISO

Depending on processing and preservation method, the finished miso product may still contain living cultures of "friendly" probiotic bacteria and enzymes, known to be beneficial for digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. By supporting our intestinal micro flora, probiotic foods can help support health, considering that a healthy gut is essential for a healthy immune system. 

Many brands pasterurize their miso product to prolong the shelf life, and allow it to be stored in room temperature. This process rids the final product of those beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Therefore, I recommend to look for an unpasteurised, “living” miso paste. Living miso will need to be stored in the fridge, but the shelf life is still very long, since the bacteria culture also preserves the food. 

A LITTLE TIP 

Unpasteurized “living” miso will loose nutrition and beneficial probiotic bacteria when heated over 43°C (115°F). Therefore, I recommend to heat miso up without boiling it whenever possible. When making broth or soup, cook the other ingredients until ready. Then turn the heat off and add the miso paste before serving. If heating or re-heating miso soup, warm it up and remove from heat just before steaming. 

In many dishes it is necessary to subject miso to heat, and I´m not saying to never do that. I just like to be aware of the nutritional benefits of the ingredients I use, and preserve them whenever it makes sense. 

HOW TO STORE

Store miso in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a year. 

NUTRITION

Miso is a very good source of copper manganese and a good source of vitamin K, protein, zinc, phosphorus, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty

For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Miso.

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Misoi s also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

 

References

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