I suggest the Book of Miso if you are interested in how it is made, why, how it
is used and recipes galore but the Readers Digest version is that miso is
fermented beans, usually soy, with grain or not.
there are several types depending on how much salt is added and how long it is
White Miso is sweet, fermented for a couple weeks and has less salt. it is
good with sweet veggies Such as carrot soup, or is used in spreads or desserts.
the Book said that americans prefer sweet misos, but I prefer the dark ones.
The darker Misos go from red - hatcho with the red being fermented with more
salt than Sweet misos and less than Hatcho, for about 14-18 months, Barley or
brown rice misos with more salt and about 18-24 months and hatcho miso is made
with ONLY soy, the most salt and is fermented for a FULL 36 months.
The darker misos have a more full complex flavor, and I substitute them for meat
broths often, but to get their health benefits, they should not be boiled but
added after the cooking is completed.
Health wise the longer fermentations are supposed to be better for you.
they are said to have beneficial bacterias, similar to Yoghurt, and many other
health claims are made for them. I personally use dark miso broth when I am
sick, and find it can prevent me from getting a yeast infection from taking
antibiotics, which I always do if I am not using miso regularly. It is said in
the book that health care workers in Hiroshima at the time of the Bomb did not
suffer from radiation sickness while they cared for the victims of the blast, and
that it can prevent smokers from suffering the results of tar in the lungs. in
otherwords, it would be an antitoxin. This I have no experience with and my
understanding of the mechanism is VERY foggy so I only repeat it because it is
very interesting and memorable. if I didn't eat any other oriental foods, I
would be very sad if I had to give up Miso. I drink it for breakfast and it is
a better pick-me-up than coffee for a snack. If I add rice and some veggies it
is a light supper. If I have heart burn, it often will quench the fire and is
Just right on my stomach when I am sick.
Hope this helps, kitty
> Would someone knowledgeable expound on miso, et al.? I've heard there is red,
> white, salty, spicy, and even sweet miso. How is it used, why is it used,
> when is it used? Any thougths would be appreciated.
Kitty in Somerset, PA