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Miso is widely available in the refrigerator section of Asian markets and health-food stores all over America. It is sold in cups, glass jars, and plastic bags, usually in one- or two-pound packages. Author Shimbo-Beitchman prefers unpasteurized miso for its flavor, but most of what’s sold in the U.S. is pasteurized, and this is perfectly acceptable. Only a few tablespoons of miso are required for most dishes, but because of miso’s high salt content (5 to 15 percent), it will last for several months if stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Miso can be categorized by ingredients: rice miso (komemiso), barley miso (mugimiso), and soybean miso (mamemiso). Recipes, however, usually make these distinctions:

AKAMISO: Literally “red miso”, although the color ranges from russet to brown. _Akamiso _most often refers to a type of rice miso—the most common kind in Japan. It can age for up to two years (sometimes three). Because of the high proportion of soybeans to k

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