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Miso Paste: Made Onsite at Miwa Agriroad

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Mrs. Yukiko Mochizuki/望月幸子 and Mrs. Kayoko Mochizuki/望月加代子

“We make miso onsite for better quality, safety and traceability!”

Wednesday is on of the days I usually reserve for on-field interviews. On Wednesday mornings, whenever I have the chance, I try to meet my old friend, Mrs. Natsuko Koyanagi/小柳奈津子 in Agriroad Miwa, in Miwa, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.

As mentioned before, Agriroad Miwa is a market run in collaboration by the JA and local ladies to sell all kinds of vegetables, bentoes and processed foods prepared by more than 100 lady members.
There are quite a few of these locally-run markets in town and prefecture, and they are the best bet for freshest and best quality without mentioning the very low prices!

I had noticed for quite a while these big boxes of miso paste on sale at this market. At 650 yen for a kg, this is quite good value.

When I questioned Natsuko about it, she explained that it was made in turns by lady members inside the Agriroad Market kitchen between December and March!

Natsuko hiding behind her mask (she had just caught a cold! LOL)

Good miso should not be complicated to make.
The good thing about this particular miso is that it is not only fresh and free of all preservatives and whatnot found in mass-produced miso pastes, it is also safe, stable and traceable!

The big vat in which the soy beans are boiled.

What do you need, then?
Quantities will be also according to the size of your kitchen snd utensils, but the bigger, the better!
-Soy beans: 30 kg
-Rice: 30 kg
-Salt: coarse salt/arashio/荒塩. Natsuko actually uses rock salt form Nepal!: 12 kg
-Yeast/koujikin/麹菌: one standard pack (can be bought in specialized shops all over Japan)
-Water, water, and more water (lol)

The ladies of the day were kind enough to explain the process with plenty of smiles!
The soybeans are first soaked for a whole night and then boiled until soft. Keep some of the soybeans water when you want to adjust the miso paste humidity later instead of plain water!
Agriroad uses soybeans grown in Hokkaido.

At the same time wash, rince and steam the rice. Old rice, that is from the previous year’s harvest, is best.
Agriroad uses exclusively local rice and salt made in Japan.
Let the rice cool down just a little. Sprinkle the yeast all over it evenly and let ferment for one day and a half (break it and mix it a few times).

Mash the soybeans.

Pour the mashed soybeans, fermented rice, salt, and whenever wanted (use your eyes and tastebuds) the “juices”/soybean boil water (cold) and mix well.

And that’s it!
Pour the miso into jars or other vessels, close tightly.
Some people use it as it is, but is best matured for 6 months at room temperature in winter or in the fridge in summer.

This the basic and delicious recipe.
Natsuko mixes her own with yuzu/lime/柚子!

Agriraod miwa/アグリロード美和
〒421-2114 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Abeguchishinden, 537-1.
〒421-2114 静岡市葵区安部口新田, 537-1.
Tel.: 054-296-7878.
Fax: 054-296-7878
Business hours: 09:30~15:30 (from 08:30 on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays)

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