How to choose the right miso- why you should spend money on miso

Did you know that there are many Japanese proverbs about miso that demonstrate how important and cherished it is as an essential part of the Japanese healthy diet and is the key to Japanese health and longevity?

During the Edo period (1603-1868), miso became a matter of cause for each family to prepare their own miso called temae miso and it is said that many proverbs and idioms using miso appeared .

Today, I would like to introduce to you guys a Japanese proverb relating to miso that signifies the health benefits and amazing properties of this fermented paste and how to choose quality and authentic miso.

Japanese Proverb about Miso

“Spend money on miso shops rather than spending money on a doctor’s fee.”

This proverb means that you should spend money on miso shops to eat miso soup and miso dishes regularly rather than paying a doctor’s fee for illness. I totally agree with this proverb because miso is a Japanese national soup! It also has so many health benefits including boosting the immune system also lowers cholesterol, and is one of the secrets to Japanese health, longevity and youthful skin.

However, on the market, there exists cheap and expensive miso and just like the proverb says “spend money on miso shops” this refers to buying quality miso rather than cheap miso that is dead.

In the Edo period, there were only ALIVE and good quality miso that was made in the traditional authentic way. Unfortunately, MOST miso in the market nowadays is far from the authentic miso that existed during the ancient times.

 

Traditional miso-making

How to buy quality miso

Choosing the correct miso is very important, as not all miso is prepared properly and each type of miso has a different flavour.

Avoid mass-produced miso as it usually contains sugar, MSG, and has had chemicals added to it (such as alcohol, bonito extract, monosodium Glutamate etc.) or had an increase in temperature to shorten the fermentation time (often fermented in plastic or stainless steel tanks), as a result, it doesn’t retain much health benefits.

Traditionally made miso is fermented in a wooden barrel for a long time, this long fermentation process develops more nutrients and gives the miso a better taste. This is the miso to buy!

Ultimately, the healthiest miso is organic, non-GMO and unpasteurised miso, which is never heated and contains active enzymes. Quality and authentic miso are usually much more expensive but so worth it considering all the added chemicals in bad miso.

Making your own miso is the best! I make miso every winter because it is the best time to make fail-free and yummy miso (if you make it in the summer, it gets mouldy easily as well as has less flavour and nutrients).

Hope you can join my miso class in winter, or my online cooking class (in the future) if you live far from Sydney!


If you’re interested in Japanese superfoods and want to learn more about miso, you may want to get my Japanese Superfoods cookbook‘. Latest edition is available Now!

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