Soy is a vegetarian plant food that has become a dietary staple in cultures world-wide. It has numerous health benefits, and evidence suggests that the fermentation process is an excellent method to enhance its food value. Fermentation is a process of soaking the food in water and slow-cooking. During this process, beneficial bacteria begins to digest the complex carbohydrates in soybeans. This makes fermented soy easy to digest, and the body better able to assimilate its protein and numerous minerals.
Fermented soy products
Tempeh is a whole soybean product that is high in protein and rich in minerals and vitamins. It’s one of the fermented soy products that has become popular among vegetarians for its earthy flavor. Tempeh is an excellent source of protein, is low in fat, vitamin rich, and high in fiber. It’s found in solid sheets and is often made into patties and served as vegetarian burgers. It can be cut into small pieces, added to stir-fries, added to pasta sauces, baked or grilled. It is a healthy meat substitute and can be used in many vegetarian recipes. Note that tempah must be cooked and should not be eaten raw.
Natto is a Japanese food that is made from fermented soybeans. It has a strong smell and flavor. Natto can be served alone or in other foods such as: salad, natto sushi, natto toast, miso soup, and spaghetti. Natto is rich in both vitamin K and vitamin K2, and research shows that it helps the body build bone and prevent osteoporosis.
Miso is produced by fermenting rice, barley, and soybeans with salt. Traditionally a Japanese seasoning and staple, miso has become increasingly popular in the west because it provides a variety of flavors along with nutritional value. It is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Miso is a popular soup base.
Tamari is a fermented version of soy sauce and is used as a condiment for flavoring. It offers many of the medicinal properties of miso and is an anti-oxidant that aids in digestion.
Fermented tofu is cubes of soy milk curd that have been air-dried under hay. Also called pickled tofu, it is then reconstituted and used in certain traditional Asian recipes.
Adding plant-based meals and foods to our diets is a great way to provide variety, boost nutrition, and promote better health. The Red Radish Natural Foods in Neenah, WI has an extensive selection of fermented soy products.