The Japanese are known for their futuristic architecture, rich culture, favorite traditions, and of course, their delicious cuisine. One such unique food item that has left its footprint worldwide is the Miso soup. Its toasty flavor is the perfect blend of savoriness, saltiness, and sweetness, making it preferable for several people who want to try Japanese cuisine.
Since miso comes in a jar, it can be challenging to finish it in one go. This can get you worried about losing out on your precious Japanese ingredient. Even though miso can go bad after a certain time period, it can also be due to storage issues.
But do not worry a tiny bit as we shall elaborate on the best ways to store your miso so that you can enjoy it for a long time.
How Long can Miso Last?
Miso being a fermented food product with lots of salt has a pretty good shelf-life. Some brands do put best-before dates on the jar, so it is pretty easy to know how long it will last.
But since it is not mandatory everywhere, not all miso jars have a best-by date. So to assume if the miso in the pot is edible or not isn’t that easy.
Japanese miso manufacturers claim that light-colored miso paste has a shorter shelf-life than darker color miso varieties.
If you know the production date, and it’s not older than a year, both dark or lighter shade miso paste is still edible.
But the quality of flavors might degrade.
Also, it tends to become less sweet with time, and we know you want to enjoy it before its flavors are gone.
If you have an unopened bottle of miso, it won’t be big of a concern. But if it is, you should know as the miso comes in contact with the air, the process of degradation fastens.
However, miso retains its best quality until three months after opening the jar. All of the flavors are intact, and you can make the most of its amazing flavors.
But that does not mean you can’t consume it after that.
We know people who claim that their miso jar, when stored in the refrigerator, lasted for around 8 to 9 years and tasted just as good as it did on day one. But we do not really recommend consuming such older miso paste as it is a fermented product.
So basically, you can still have miso from the same jar until the quality of the miso is still the same.
Knowing if the miso is in good condition is equally important and so here’s how you can tell if the miso has gone bad.
Spoilage Signs of an Expired Miso
Since we assume you have tried it already and are familiar with its sweet taste, you will know when the miso has gone bad quite quickly.
It is a fermented ingredient, so it is always likely to smell weird. But your senses will know when it’s time to get rid of it.
If you have opened the miso jar after quite a longer duration and find even a slight change in color, smell, or texture, it’s time; maybe you need to get rid of it.
Also, when miso goes bad, you will generally find molds. Yes, miso is in mold form since it’s fermented, but the greenish thing you notice isn’t something we can consume.
If you notice a thread-like texture inside a miso paste, it’s no more edible, and discard it as soon as you can.
If you notice no such difference and have doubt if it’s edible or not, simply take a small amount and give it a try. You can consume it only if it tastes okay and there’s nothing weird about it.
All thanks to our senses!!!
What Happens if you Consume Expired Miso?
Even though consuming expired miso is not advisable, you can add it to recipes if the expiration window is not far gone. You might experience some changes in the taste, but overall, it is safe to consume.
However, if you notice any molds, it is best to toss the miso out, as it can lead to food poisoning.
Generally, miso doesn’t go bad sooner due to some amazing preservatives added to it. And storing it accurately will likely increase its shelf-life. So here are a few tips you should know about miso and the best way to store it.
How to Store Miso Paste?
Miso is a fermented product, and hence, you don’t need to do a lot to find a perfect place to store it.
If you got miso with a jar of its own, always make sure you seal it tightly. You want to make sure it is not exposed to air that often as the quality might start degrading.
Always make sure you use a clean, dry spoon to scoop out miso paste from the jar. A dirt spoon or even a wet spoon will affect the quality of miso paste as the substance or the water droplets is not something miso is familiar with.
Since not all of us want to invest in a big miso jar, leftover miso paste from the packet should be transferred into an airtight container. Make sure to seal it well.
The only best way to increase miso’s shelf life is by keeping it in an airtight container. Also, it is essential to store miso paste in a refrigerator rather than a kitchen shelf once the packaging is opened.
No matter what season of the year, make sure you store miso in the refrigerator; even a freezer is a good option to preserve its flavors for a longer duration.
Any temperature between 25°F and -5°F is the best way to store opened miso paste. Miso doesn’t freeze, so it is always easy to scoop out whenever you want to enjoy the flavors.
Hence, until the miso paste is sealed in a container and kept in a refrigerator, it is definitely going to last longer and is least likely to change its texture, color, or flavors any sooner.
Tips for using Miso paste the best way
When it comes to adding fermented products to your diet, you want to make sure it does not affect you badly in any way.
The same is with miso. You need to read the label accurately and check if the miso paste contains any sweeteners. Experts recommend that first-time miso buyers start with sweet Shiro miso to avoid any side effects.
Secondly, darker miso is often fermented for a longer duration, making it saltier and stronger.
You also need to know that you should not boil miso paste, as boiling kills the aroma and even the healthy enzymes it contains.
Can you Freeze Miso?
Freezing miso paste is advisable when you want to store it for a long period, say a few months down the lane.
The following are some of the best ways to freeze miso paste:
1. Transfer the paste to an airtight plastic bag and place it flat in the freezer.
2. You can also place the miso paste in the ice trays to make frozen miso paste ice cubes. These will come in handy while using the miso in recipes.
3. You can also freeze it in an airtight container. However, you must only remove the necessary amount from the container instead of defrosting the entire batch.
4. If not, you can prepare smaller batches of the miso and freeze them in separate containers.
Alternatives of Miso if it Goes Bad
If your miso paste has gone bad, you can try using the following alternatives:
- Vegetable stock
- Soy sauce
FAQs about Miso Paste
Why is miso paste considered healthy?
Miso consists of some essential minerals and various vitamins like Vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folic acid. As it is a fermented additive to different food items, it provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that help us stay healthy.
How much miso is healthy to consume?
Experts tell us that consuming one bowl of miso soup per day is the healthiest choice you can make as it is full of multivitamins. It lowers the risk of breast cancer and aids digestion too.
Why does miso turn darker after a while?
Even if you store your miso paste appropriately in a refrigerator, it can turn darker after a while. This is due to the Maillard reaction caused due to exposure to warm temperatures.
This does not make it inedible, and hence you can consume it if it smells and tastes well.
That was all you should know before or after buying a miso paste, as we are sure this blog will help you make the most out of it.
Refrigerating your miso paste will not just increase its shelf life but will also keep the flavors intact. And before you do that, always make sure the jar is tightly sealed.
No matter what variant you choose or already love to add to your meal, your senses will definitely tell you when it goes bad.
Darker miso variants often last longer compared to lighter shade miso paste, but now when you know the secrets to preserving it, you can pick your favorites.
All of the miso paste can add a pretty good twist to your diet for almost a year. Hope now your grocery list already has a favorite miso jar added.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.