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Storing Miso


Susan in FL
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What kind of miso would you suggest as the every-day type to keep in the fridge? Whenever I buy some, it gets too old before I've used it up. I would like to know about red, dark, light, etc... what to buy to have available for general purposes. I like the miso-glazed fish dishes and miso sauces for pork, etc. and I want to have something on hand for recipes that call for miso. How long do you keep it?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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My miso keeps forever in the refrigerator-it's very high in salt, which acts as a preservative. Just keep it airtight, and it'll outlive you.

what Katherine said. :smile:

seriously, to keep it airtight, i use one of those little "bulldog" clamp things used to hold office papers together. you squeeze the air out of the bag and put the clamp on. alternately, i suppose you could move it into a glass jar and cover it with a thin layer of flavourless oil--canola?

in my limited experience, the best "everyday" miso (for soup, for marinating, for making dressings), is red miso. i have bought white miso, and it seems it would be good for more 'refined' preparations, like maybe fish, or a more delicate soup (?)

that is the limit of my miso expertise. :biggrin: good luck!

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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The worst thing for miso is air and warmth, so it should be stored very well sealed and in a cool place, the refrigerator works well but fr longer storage in can be kept in the freezer. It will not freeze and can be used directly in soups from the freezer.

Most miso you will buy in a supermarket (in Japan or overseas) is not meant to be kept forever and there is usually an expiration date of 6 months to a year after packing and there can be very noticable deteriorations in the flavor. I have thrown away bad miso before.

A typical Japanese family of 4 can go through a kilogram of miso in one to two months, aso there is little need for long term storage, though I did run a cross a couple websites that recommend those who live alone to keep it in the freezer. In the freeezer they say it should be good for 1 to 2 years.

As to what is the best miso to buy, it really depends on what you use it for, for sauces and dressing and marinating fish you should go with white, red can also be used for some sauces and makes a great miso soup, if you are probably just going to be using it for soup and maybe an occasional dressing you might want to go with a brown/golden type. These can vary from almost white to almost red, so you can pick the one that best suits your tastes.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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What is "too old"?
That would be what Kristin said. :smile:

I have had a jar go "bad" before, and I've had it lose it's flavor -- the flavor that was there other than salt, that is. I don't use it often, and I want what I have on hand to be good quality. The only good stuff I've found to buy here comes in fairly large jars. So, I'm really glad to hear about freezing it! Thanks, all, for the information I needed.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Are you sure it is miso? Miso has never gone "bad" for me. As for your question, no miso is an "everyday miso", unless you have a paticular food every day. Aka (red) miso and shiro (white) miso are the ones that get most play in my kitchen - from miso soup to pickling cucumber.

-- Jason

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I, too, am surprised by miso "going bad." There are stories of families handing down vats of miso from generation to generation....

Like honey, it is one of those things that purportedly can deteriorate.

Edited to add that honey DOES crystallize -- that is a form of deterioration -- but it never goes bad...

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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I have two plastic tubs of miso, one red and one white, that, (thank you for reminding me!) have been in the back of various fridges of mine for at least ten years. I haven't looked at them for around two, but I recall making a very nice soup then out of what would have been ~8 year old miso. And I survived to post the tale.

I'll check out my miso tonight and get back to you.

:laugh:

Jamie

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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More expensive but worth it are the individual serving packs of miso. I keep a bunch of packets in my drawer at work when I need a salt/protein rush. When cooking a miso rubbed fish, I just open up a few packets. Since they are already sealed, I do not worry about freshness. However I have noted that if they are old, the miso turns darker. But the miso packs had some sort of shell fish base added in addition to the seaweed.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Like so many other foods (jam comes to mind), it's not the miso that goes bad; it's the other stuff that has gotten into the container.

Agreed. I always use a clean spoon to take miso out of the container. In my fridge I always keep a container of the yellow miso as I use it in salad dressing I make all the time.

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  • 2 years later...
I've bought a bag of Miso and will open it tonight....how do I store the remainder?

Hi CharityCase--

we had this discussion on the Japan forum, and i find people have success either with:

--scoop the remainder into a clean glass jar, smoosh it down with a spatula, and put a tiny film of tasteless oil (like canola) over the top of it, or, even more simply,

--fold the bag so that the absolute minimum of the miso is exposed to air, or put it in a ziploc bag and squeeze the air out.

it should then be fine for many, many months.

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. We've stored miso for close to a year this way. I personally don't see any need for adding oil--nor would I want any oil mixed with my miso.

If you find that you're having trouble getting through a package of miso, start using it in your dressings or even smear on cucumber for a snack.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  • 1 year later...

How long can you safely store Miso in the refrigerator before it goes bad?

Thank you!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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How long can you safely store Miso in the refrigerator before it goes bad?

I don't think there is a definitive answer, miso is manufactured in a variety of ways. Some are made with only traditional ingredients, others are chock-full of preservatives.

I have an organic miso at home, I keep it in my refrigerator, sealed in a plastic container. The manufacturer for this particular miso recommends consuming it within 6 months.

Other (non-organic) miso products I have had seem to be perfectly edible kept in a similar manner for a full year - I know because I've found and eaten miso kept in my parent's refrigerator! The main thing is to keep it from drying out.

I wouldn't recommend keeping miso for longer than a year, but, in reality, properly stored, miso can be kept indefinitely.

---

To illustrate what I mean, in English, here's a manufacturer which recommends 6 months somewhere cool:

http://www.yamato-soysauce-miso.com/product_miso.html

Here's another suggesting that theirs can be stored for as long as you want in a refrigerator:

http://www.shinmeidomiso.com/

---

There is some discussion about keeping miso in this miso thread:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=17794&hl=

Look at the comments that directly follow post #30 for more opinions

Edited by LindaK (log)
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In Japan, the use-by date is clearly indicated on the package, which is usually 2 to 6 months after manufacture, depending on the type of miso (shiro (white), aka (red), or haccho).

Unless you are a regular user of miso, I recommend keeping your miso in the freezer. (It won't become hard.)

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Unless you are a regular user of miso, I recommend keeping your miso in the freezer. (It won't become hard.)

Sugoi! Once again, Hiroyuki, you are my personal culinary hero. I have two tubs of miso taking up valuable space in my bar-sized refrigerator. My freezer? Virtually empty - except for a small bag of edamame for bento. I'm getting up right now to go rearrange things. :cool:

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Unless you are a regular user of miso, I recommend keeping your miso in the freezer. (It won't become hard.)

Sugoi! Once again, Hiroyuki, you are my personal culinary hero. I have two tubs of miso taking up valuable space in my bar-sized refrigerator. My freezer? Virtually empty - except for a small bag of edamame for bento. I'm getting up right now to go rearrange things. :cool:

:huh: I think I have written the same freezer recommendation at least twice here on eGullet... I have two bags of additive-free miso made by my father in the freezer.

Edited to add: I erroneoulsy used the term use-by date, 消費期限 (shouhi kigen) in Japanese. I should have used the correct term, 賞味期限 (shoumi kigen).

The former is used for perishable foods like tofu and milk, while the latter is used for foods that can keep long such as miso and soy sauce.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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:huh:  I think I have written the same freezer recommendation at least twice here on eGullet...  I have two bags of additive-free miso made by my father in the freezer.

it never occurred to me to freeze my miso either. and i missed this the other two times too. thank you for writing it again...

"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo
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Wouldn't freezing kill the life cultures in the miso?

I'm not sure if freezing kills all the bacteria in the miso. I did a quick google search, but didn't come up with any answer. Freezing does, however, stop or slow down the fermentation, which is good for the miso.

Most miso these days have less salt than they used to, and tend to get moldy. Another problem is that miso deteriorates due to oxidization if exposed to air.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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