You Should Know

April 2017 Issue

Falling for Japanese Fermented Foods

Japanese fermented foods, including miso and natto, are on the rise.

The origin of fermenting foods in Japan can be traced to China, circa 300 B.C., with the making of koji, a mash of grains fermented with Aspergillus oryzae, which is used to ferment other foods. The early Chinese recipe was brought to Japan by a Zen priest, who added soy. The practice was further refined by the wife of a Japanese warrior, who opened the first commercial shoyu (soy sauce) brewery. Shoyu is brewed from equal parts of soy and wheat, and lends a savory, “meaty” flavor to foods.

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