There is no traditional food made in the West that compares to miso. Due to the wondrous medicinal attributes of traditionally aged miso, it is no wonder that it continues to gain in popularity. The creation of fine miso is no less complex than the making of fine wine or cheese. Each region of Japan produces a different type of miso reflecting the unique cultural and environmental characteristics of that particular area. The Japanese long ago realized that cooked soybeans, without being subjected to the fermentation process, are virtually indigestible by humans. The fermentation process used in miso production is miraculous as it seamlessly breaks down the indigestible protein of soybeans to readily assimilable amino acids. Koji spores acting on brown rice or barley form a culture that transforms soybeans into an ideal meatless, protein rich superfood. As the scholar William Shurtleff so eloquently describes in The Book of Miso- ..."a near-miraculous world in which tiny spores burst into blossom like elegant and complex flowers, enzymes reach out inquisitively like long fingers melting solid particles at their touch, and populations of mold explode until they have totally enveloped the foods- or "substrates"-which support their life"... Oh, the miracle of fermentation!
Hagoromo Barley Miso is a distinctively rich and flavorful, unpasteurized miso. It is made in the rural western part of Japan's main island, an area known for the quality of its water and barley, where the long tradition of hearty farmhouse miso has continued for centuries. Prepared in the traditional way, it is naturally aged in large cedar kegs for two years. Because of the relatively high proportion of barley used, Hagoromo Barley Miso has an exceptionally deep flavor, with a mellow sweetness that makes it a favorite. Use it in place of salt or bouillon to add flavor to all dishes.