What is Miso? ~Japanese Fermented Food~

Like how my mother used to make....

Aka-miso (red miso) day 1 

In the temple where I was born and grew up, there was a shed to store pickled vegetables and miso.

Every year, around the time of the first snow fall, it was pickling and miso-making season.

For me as a child it was a special and exciting day, running around the workers, watching them work, and playing with the children who tagged along with their mothers who helped at the temple.

Aka-miso aged 1 month

Miso, a fermented soybean paste, along with soy sauce are made from soybeans and they are an essential part of the Japanese daily diet and Japanese cuisine cannot be made without fermented condiments, particularly miso and soy sauce which are the most important all-purpose condiments. 

Different regions have different kinds of miso. Some are sweeter with less salt and more rice malt, such as shiro miso (white miso), more likely to be favored in the southern part of Japan.

Aka-miso (red-miso) needs a longer aging period and more salt, which is popular in the central Japan.

I am more familiar with AWASE-MISO, which is a cross between Shiro-miso and Aka-miso.

Shiro-miso (sweet white miso)

Organic soybeans 

koji (rice malt)

Miso is made with cooked soybeans, mixed with koji and salt, and aged. 

Put some weight on it and let it age...

Dumbells! Another good usage! (I did not have a proper Japanese stone weight...)

after one month

Mix it by taking what is at the bottom and bringing it to the top.

Repeat this process every two to three month and age it for a minimum of six months. As the miso ages, it will gradually become darker from caramel to brown. 

This should be ready to eat in the winter next year. Can't wait to taste my own miso!

Happy fermentation!

Good miso soup for dinner!


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