[pchealth] Miso - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Fri Nov 6 00:28:18 EST 2009
["gokoku miso" 5 grain, includes foxtail millet, a wild plant]- LL
Miso - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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A pot of commercial barley miso
Miso for sale in a Tokyo food hall.
Miso (?? or ???) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by
fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus
ko-jikin (???), the most typical miso being made with soy. The result
is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or
meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called
Misoshiru (????), a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and
rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role
in feudal Japan. Miso is still very widely used in Japan, both in
traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide
interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on
various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different
varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity,
and savory, and there is an extremely wide variety of miso available.
* 1 History
* 2 Variety
o 2.1 By flavor
o 2.2 By ingredient
* 3 Using miso
o 3.1 Storage and preparation
o 3.2 In food
* 4 Nutrition and health
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
The predecessor of miso originated in China during the 3rd century BC or
earlier, and it is probable that this, together with related fermented
soy-based foods, was introduced to Japan at the same time as Buddhism in
the 6th century AD.This fermented food is called "Shi".
Until the Muromachi era, miso was made without grinding the soybeans,
somewhat like natto. In the Kamakura era, a common meal was made up of a
bowl of rice, some dried fish, a serving of miso, and a fresh vegetable.
In the Muromachi era, Buddhist monks discovered that soybeans could be
ground into a paste, spawning new cooking methods where miso was used to
flavor other foods.
The Sengoku era, miso was useful as a military provision and precious
nourishing food for soldiers. Making a miso was an important economic
policy of Sengoku-daimyos in each place.
During the Edo period miso was also called hishio and kuki.
In the modern era, the industrial method of producing miso in large
quantities was established and it became rare to make miso at home.
 By flavor
The taste, aroma, texture, and appearance of any specific miso vary by
miso type as well as the region and season for which the miso was made.
The ingredients used, temperature and duration of fermentation, salt
content, variety of ko-ji, and fermenting vessel all contribute. The most
common flavor categories of soy miso are:
* Shiromiso, "white miso"
* Akamiso, "red miso"
* Kuromiso, "black miso"
White and red (shiromiso and akamiso) are the basic types of miso
available in all of Japan as well as overseas. Different varieties are
preferred in particular regions. For example, in the eastern Kanto-
region that includes Tokyo, the lighter shiromiso is popular, while in
the western Kansai region encompassing Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, darker
brownish hatchomiso is preferred, and akamiso is favored in the Tokai
 By ingredient
The raw materials used to produce miso may include any mix of soybeans,
barley, rice, buckwheat, millet, rye, wheat, hemp seed, and cycad, among
others. Lately, producers in other countries have also begun selling
miso made from chick peas, corn, azuki beans, amaranth, and quinoa.
Fermentation time ranges from as little as five days to several years.
The wide variety of Japanese miso is difficult to classify, but is
commonly done by grain type, color, taste, and background.
* mugi (?): barley
* tsubu (?): whole wheat/barley
* aka (?): red, made with rice koji and soybeans, medium flavor,
most widely used in Japan
* Hatcho- (??): aged, strongest flavor, used mostly in Central Japan
* shiro (?): rice, sweet white, fresh
* shinshu: rice, brown color
* genmai (??): brown rice
* awase (???): layered, typically in supermarket
* moromi (?): chunky, healthy (ko-ji is unblended)
* nanban (??): chunky, sweet, for dipping sauce
* inaka (??): farmstyle
* taima (??): hemp seed
* sobamugi (??): buckwheat
* hadakamugi (??): rye
* meri (??): made from cycad pulp, Buddhist temple diet
* gokoku (??): "5 grain": soy, wheat, barley, proso millet, and
Many regions have their own specific variation on the miso standard. For
example, the soybeans used in Sendai miso are much more coarsely mashed
than in normal soy miso.
Miso made with rice (including shinshu and shiro miso) is called kome miso.
 Using miso
 Storage and preparation
Miso typically comes as a paste in a sealed container, and should be
refrigerated after opening. It can be eaten raw, and cooking changes its
flavor and nutritional value; when used in miso soup, most cooks do not
allow the miso to come to a full boil. Some people, especially those
outside of Japan, go so far as to only add miso to preparations after
they have cooled, to preserve the biological activity of the ko-jikin.
Since miso and soy foods play a large role in the Japanese diet, there
are a variety of cooked miso dishes as well.
 In food
Main article: Miso soup
Miso is a part of many Japanese-style meals. It most commonly appears as
the main ingredient of miso soup, which is eaten daily by much of the
Japanese population. The pairing of plain rice and miso soup is
considered a fundamental unit of Japanese cuisine. This pairing is the
basis of a traditional Japanese breakfast.
Miso is used in many other types of soup and souplike dishes, including
some kinds of ramen, udon, nabe, and imoni. Generally, such dishes have
the title miso prepended to their name (for example, miso-udon), and
have a heavier, earthier flavor and aroma compared to other Japanese
soups that are not miso-based.
Many traditional confections use a sweet, thick miso glaze, such as
mochidango. Miso glazed treats are strongly associated with Japanese
festivals, although they are available year-round at supermarkets. The
consistency of miso glaze ranges from thick and taffy-like to thin and
Soy miso is used to make a type of pickle called "misozuke". These
pickles are typically made from cucumber, daikon, hakusai, or eggplant,
and are sweeter and less salty than the standard Japanese salt pickle.
Barley miso, or nukamiso (????), is used to make another type of
pickle. Nukamiso is a fermented product, and considered a type of
miso in Japanese culture and linguistics, but does not contain soy, and
so is functionally quite different. Like soy miso, nukamiso is fermented
using ko-ji mold.
Other foods with miso as an ingredient include:
* dengaku (charcoal-grilled miso covered tofu)
* yakimochi (charcoal-grilled miso covered mochi)
* miso braised vegetables or mushrooms
* marinades: fish or chicken can be marinated in miso and sake
overnight to be grilled.
* corn on the cob in Japan is usually coated with shiro miso,
wrapped in foil and grilled.
* sauces: sauces like misoyaki (a variant on teriyaki) are common.
 Nutrition and health
The nutritional benefits of miso have been widely touted by commercial
enterprises and home cooks alike. However, claims that miso is high in
vitamin B12 have been contradicted in some studies . Part of the
confusion may stem from the fact that some soy products are high in B
vitamins (though not necessarily B12), and some, such as soy milk, may
be fortified with vitamin B12. Some, especially proponents of healthy
eating, suggest that miso can help treat radiation sickness, citing
cases in Japan and Russia where people have been fed miso after the
Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. Notably, Japanese doctor Shinichiro Akizuki, director of Saint
Francis Hospital in Nagasaki during World War II, theorized that miso
helps protect against radiation sickness . Also some experts suggest
that miso is a source of Lactobacillus acidophilus . Lecithin which
is a kind of phospholipid caused by fermentation is effective in the
prevention of high blood pressure. Miso contains salt. A small amount is
essential to animal life but most scientists believe an excess of it can
cause a variety of health problems.
 See also
Search Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Miso
* Fermented bean paste
* Yellow soybean paste
1. ^ Albala, Ken. Beans: A History. Berg, 2007, ISBN 1845204301 p.216
2. ^ Hatcho Miso - Traditional Miso manufacture in Okazaki
3. ^ W4E: Misozuke Recipe (Japanese miso pickle) | Japan
4. ^ Joi Ito's Web: Nukamiso Guide Version 1.4
* Farnworth, Edward R. (2003). Handbook of Fermented Functional
Foods. CRC. ISBN 0-8493-1372-4.
* Katz, Sandor Ellix (2003). Wild Fermentation: The Flavor,
Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Chelsea Green Publishing
Company. ISBN 1-931498-23-7. http://www.wildfermentation.com/. Retrieved
 External links
* Miso Online from the Miso Health Promotion Committee
* South River Miso Company Small U.S. company
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