miso making: nagano, japan
If you remember your latest visit to a Japanese restaurant, miso soup is often accompanied with your meal. Ever wonder how the miso in the miso soup is made?
Miso (味噌) is a traditional fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cooking. It has been used in Japanese cuisine since 1200 AD and is one of Japan’s superfoods, known for its many great health benefits. Miso is rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid. As a fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that help us to stay healthy, vibrant and happy.
In Japan, miso is categorized by 3 factors: ingredient, color, taste, and regions. The Japanese categorize the color of miso into red, white and blended. The taste of miso is usually categorized into sweet (Ama Miso 甘味噌), mild (Amakuchi Miso 甘口味噌), and salty (Karakuchi Miso 辛口味噌) based on the ratio of salt and koji (steamed rice with a fermentation culture).
Different regions specialize in certain types of miso, which also extends to the many specialty miso dishes within each local area.
- Shinshu Miso (信州味噌) from the Nagano area, known as yellow miso is great with red meat, soups and hearty salads.
- Saikyo miso (西京味噌), produced in the Kyoto area is a specialty white miso with a mild flavor, it’s often used to marinate fish and vegetables or added to baked goods and desserts.
- Sendai Miso (仙台味噌) – A dark reddish brown miso produced in Miyagi prefecture used for miso soup with is bolder taste.
- Hatcho Miso (八丁味噌), a special soybean miso with an earthy rich and fudge-like texture is used in many Nagoya cuisines such as Miso Katsu, Doteni (pork offal in a miso stew).
At Takumino organic farms, you can enjoy traditional miso making at their miso making events held every March. Subscribe to Takumino’s vegetable boxes for their miso making events.