Miso is a rather mysterious product for Russians. This pasty mass is usually brown in color, specific in taste and smell, and few know what to do with it and how to use. Meanwhile, miso is one of the most healthy foods in the human diet. The Japanese researcher T. Aizuki in his book “Physical Health and Nutrition” wrote: “I believe that miso belongs to the highest class of drugs that help prevent disease and strengthen the body through their regular use.” In Japan, miso soup is eaten every day, and it is believed that it is precisely because of this that the Japanese live a long time and get sick a little. A direct proof of the benefit of miso was the established fact that it was precisely the radioprotective properties of miso that helped thousands of radiation victims survive after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
So what is miso? Miso, like soy sauce, is an ancient biotechnological product or a product of fermentation (fermentation) of soybeans under the action of specific bacteria of the genus Aspergillus (mold fungi). In the course of their vital activity, these bacteria produce substances that, when interacting with starch, sugars and fats, change their properties, as well as lactic acid bacteria change the taste and other qualities of cabbage or milk during fermentation. The traditional technology, which has more than three thousand years, has been preserved in the countries of Southeast Asia almost unchanged to this day, provides for the transfer to a soluble state of the most important compounds of the original beans (except fats) and enrichment with some biologically active substances due to the vital activity of microorganisms. The result is a dark-colored product, rich in trace elements, vitamins, the most important indispensable nutrition factors and many other biologically active compounds, with a specific salty taste and unique aroma.
Fermentation of a mixture of boiled soybeans and grains (wheat, rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, chickpea, corn, beans, etc.) with sea salt under the action of leaven, usually takes several months to several years, and this process can be stopped at any stage. The resulting paste is called miso, and soy sauce is obtained by pressing this paste (after a longer fermentation) to separate the liquid substrate. Miso preparation is a true art, for its properties depend on the proportions of the ingredients, temperature and humidity during the whole fermentation period.
Miso, as well as soy sauce – is primarily seasoning, but unlike the latter, miso is also the basis for some dishes (soups, sandwiches, main dishes, etc.). The first mention of miso dates back to the Jomon era (from 13,000 to 300 years BC), when it was discovered that soybeans or cereals, pounded into a paste, in a special way, give an unusual taste to the very mediocre food, disinfect it and make it very nutritious and healthy, sometimes even becoming an alternative to meat and fish. Miso is a product of the same importance for Japanese cuisine as rice and fresh fish. Not a single meal comes without miso — no breakfast, no lunch, no dinner. And after the anti-radiation properties of miso were discovered and scientifically substantiated after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this product was established as the main one. Because of its nutritional value and popularity of miso in Japan, they call it “the taste of mother” in Russian style – “second bread”.
Miso – very healthy food for several reasons. Miso enriches our diet with mineral components and vitamins, and the most deficient of them, affecting the metabolic processes in the body – calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper. These microelements are especially useful for women, in whose organism their deficiency causes anemia, and manganese deficiency inhibits reproductive function. Miso is a source of B vitamins (including B12) – nutrients that can block our body’s accumulation of radioactive elements. The usefulness of this product has been known for a long time: more than one generation of Buddhist monks used miso every day, refusing meat. It turned out that 100 grams of miso contains much more than the daily requirement of vitamin B12, the main source of which is meat. Indeed, Buddhist monks of Japan have been feeding on miso for centuries, not eating meat at all, and were known for their health and longevity.
Miso normalizes the intestinal microflora and removes toxic substances, including radioactive elements, thereby increasing resistance to various diseases, including colds and oncology. It has been proven that the isoflavones in miso help to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. For men, miso can be helpful in treating hangover. For the Japanese, this phenomenon is no less relevant than for Russian men, only the means of dealing with this ailment in the Land of the Rising Sun are radically different from the Russians. Instead of a traditional beer can or, at best, a bottle of mineral water, the Japanese prefer to eat hot miso soup in the morning after a hearty feast. The secret is simple: the special taste and aroma of miso stimulates the appetite. And the choline contained in it from B vitamins helps prevent the accumulation of alcohol in the liver and accelerates its removal from the body, thus mitigating the effects of a hangover. In addition, choline effectively prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver, which is also important for the Russian consumer, whose diet mainly consists of high-fat foods. Therefore, miso soup can be considered as a product for healing the liver.
With all these favorable factors, miso is very tasty, fragrant and nutritious. For optimal effect, eat 1 teaspoon of miso per day.
A variety of oriental dishes are made on the basis of miso. These are light soups (misosiru), and appetizers (miso-dengaku), and main dishes, thick soups of solyanka (isiaki-nabe), and of course, miso is used to make onigiri (rice buns), so popular in our time. Miso soup is the perfect meal in the morning because it gives energy throughout the day, and miso paste itself is used as a seasoning for various dishes. Especially delicious miso in combination with fresh cucumber, radish, green onions. By adding lemon to the miso you will get seasoning for salads, and if you dissolve it in hot water, you will get a delicious broth that can always replace tea or coffee. Miso can always be taken on the road and eaten with any meal.
It is not only miso dishes that differ, the types of miso themselves are different. Various tastes and varieties of miso are known: salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, etc. The color of miso also varies from yellowish white to brown and red. Thus, everyone can pick their own miso to taste.
Miso is usually sold as a paste in a sealed package, after opening which the product should be stored in the refrigerator. Considering that miso contains many beneficial microelements and microorganisms that promote digestion, which die from high temperatures and contact with air, it is not recommended to store miso in a warm room for a long time, while adding miso to prepared food at the very end to preserve nutritional value. product.