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Does Miso Go Bad? How Long Will This Versatile Asian Condiment Last?

Wondering if your miso goes bad? Read on! We’ve compiled and answered the most common questions surrounding the shelf life of your favorite Asian condiment. 

An indispensable staple in Asian-inspired dishes, miso or also known as miso paste is one of the must-included condiments in your kitchen cabinets.

This stable food product can add a satisfying umami flavor to soothing soups, salad dressing, and savory marinade. 

Have you tried miso soup or miso ramen noodles of Japanese cuisine? If not, this might be the sign!

Going back to miso, in case you only use the ingredient a little now and then, you might want to know if does miso go bad? 

Or how can you tell and how can you make miso last longer?

The good news is I’ve compiled everything you need to know surrounding this important ingredient, from shelf life, signs of spoilage, storage tips, and tricks. 

But first, let’s know what miso is.

What is miso?

Contents

Here’s Your Best Guide To What Is Miso: Condiment, Seasoning, Or Side Dish?

Miso or miso paste is made from a mixture of soy beans, grains, molds (koji), and salt. 

It adds a flavor boost to your soups, broths, glaze, miso dressing, and sauces. 

Miso is usually added at the end of the cooking since the condiment is cultured food. 

Before the popularity of another fermented soybean product, soy sauce in the 1600s, miso was one of the sought-after ingredients, especially in everyday Japanese cooking. 

The fermented product has an unvarying texture, flavor, and color, ranging from smooth to chunky, light to bold, and white to red.

These components vary depending on the ingredients, length of the fermentation process, and storage conditions of the miso.  

Also, there are different types of miso pastes. Some of which are yellow, mixed, red miso paste, and white miso paste.

If you’re planning to have miso paste, you can find and purchase them in most Asian grocery stores or online.

Does miso go bad

Just like any other fermented ingredient, miso does go bad. However, this soybean paste has a long shelf life due to its high salt content. 

Some manufacturers even claimed to store their miso products for years. 

According to Hikari Miso, you can enjoy unopened miso (jar) in your recipes for a couple of years as long as you keep it in the refrigerator. 

And in terms of the quality of the taste, the management added that the “preservative food” will be at its peak quality for up to a year.

However, once you open the container, the quality of miso deteriorates gradually similar to Tabasco sauce. 

Generally, miso comes with a “best before” or “best by” date on the container, which is an indicator of the miso’s best quality rather than its expiration date. 

How to know if miso has gone bad

Consuming spoiled miso can make people feel sick so it’s best to know how to store or handle it safely to prevent this unfortunate event. 

Before you add miso paste to your recipes, take a quick look at these red flags so you’ll know if your miso is bad or not.

Color

One quick way to determine if miso has spoiled or is good to eat is by looking at its color. 

Good quality and unspoiled miso paste should possess its natural hue. 

If you notice any signs of discoloration, consider throwing the paste out.

However, keep in mind that miso turns darker over time, most especially when it’s stored in a warm environment.

If you notice molds on the miso, it’s recommended to throw that expired miso away immediately, whether it’s opened or unopened.

Texture

You can also check the textural nuance to see if your miso is already bad. Typically, good-quality miso has a paste-like texture.

If you notice some texture changes in your fermented food product, this is a sign to let that jar of bad miso paste go

Smell

Another way to tell if miso has gone bad is simply smelling it. Fresh miso should not have a noticeable or unpleasant smell. 

So if your miso now has an off scent or it doesn’t smell similar to that miso you remember, discard it quickly!

How long does miso last

As mentioned, miso takes a long time to spoil because it features lots of salt. 

But this isn’t mean that the paste won’t go rancid. 

Over time, the quality of the ingredient dissipates gradually, especially after opening. 

To know if the miso is bad or not, you must rely on your senses or check the “best before” or “best by” date printed on the container. 

It’s also recommended to use the miso (opened) within three to six months to enjoy the paste at its peak quality. 

The table below shows a detailed breakdown of the shelf life of miso, based on its storage condition and storage method. 

Please note that this data varies between brands.

In the pantryIn the refrigerator
unopened jar of miso1 year
opened jar of miso3 to 12 months

How to store miso

The best place to store your unopened jar of miso should be in your pantry or at room temperature. 

Be sure a cool, dry, and dark place, preferably away from heat and light.

After opening, the best way to store miso will be in your refrigerator. Just make sure to seal the jar tightly and keep the temperature of the fridge stable. 

In case you bought miso packets, chances are you can’t seal them properly. Learn how to store miso packets in your refrigerator:

Tools needed:

  • Miso paste packets
  • Mason jar, airtight container
  • Refrigerator

Instructions on how to store miso packets:

  1. The first thing you need to do is transfer the paste into a jar or airtight container. 
  2. Cover the surface with plastic wrap. This one reduces the exposure of miso to air. 
  3. Seal the container properly with the lid.

Pro tip: After using miso in your dishes, ensure to keep the container closed to avoid bacteria growth. Don’t forget to use clean spoons or utensils when scooping out the ingredient to prevent contamination.

The bottom line

Miso paste contains free amino acids, particularly glutamic acid, which is the source of its umami taste. 

This element is the very reason a soup or sauce with miso is so palatable and pleasurable. 

But like other soy-based food items, the taste and quality of miso deteriorate over time. 

A lack of knowledge about how to tell when a jar of miso paste has gone bad leads some people to throw some of their good miso accidentally. 

To avoid this, ensure to check any spoilage red flags first. Give your miso a good sniff or check any signs of discoloration, and mold should do the trick.  

Also, don’t forget to store the product properly so you can enjoy it in your future recipes.

🥣🥣 Cooking with Miso – What You Need to Know🥣🥣

Quick Miso Soup with Tofu

Quick Miso Soup with Tofu

Curious how to make your go-to Miso Soup? Try creating our version of the infamous miso soup with tofu!

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of nori cut into large rectangles
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth with dashi
  • 3 tablespoons of white or yellow miso paste
  • ¼ cup of chopped firm silken tofu
  • ½ cup chopped scallions or green spring onions
  • ½ chopped green chard

Instructions

  1. Simmer your vegetable broth in a medium saucepan.
  2. While waiting for the broth to simmer, place your miso paste in a small bowl and add in a little bit of hot water, whisk until you see smooth consistency. 
  3. Add in your greens and leave it to cook for five minutes. 
  4. After five minutes, add in your nori and tofu. 
  5. Stir and cook.
  6. Remove your pan from the heat and add your miso, stir, and mix them together.
  7. Give it a taste, then add a pinch of salt and pepper to suit your liking.

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