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    tamari

Food Percentage of DRI per 100 grams
manganese
28  
vitamin B3
22  
protein
22  
phosphorus
17  

Tamari is a Japanese type of soy sauce full of umami flavor. The word tamaricomes from the Japanese word damaru, meaning to gatheror save. Just like soy sauce, it is the liquid pressed out from boiled, mashed, fermented and aged soybeans, but the difference is that it contains less or no wheat. Soy sauce is a common condiment throughout Asia, whereas tamari is exclusively from Japan. 

 

Traditionally, tamari is made by fermenting sprouted and cooked soy beans with micro-organisms such as fungus Aspergillus (Kojiin Japanese), and mixed with a salt brine. The paste is then aged between a few months up to a few years before it is filtered. The liquid pressed and strained from the mash is called tamari. The mash is called miso. 

 

 

VOLUME: moderate to loud

 

FLAVOR PAIRINGS 

Almonds, amaranth, anise, apple cider vinegar, aubergine, basil, brazil nuts, buckwheat, cayenne, chili, chives, cilantro, citrus, cloves, coconut, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, fennel, flax seeds, garlic, ginger, greens, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, honey, hijiki, kaffir lime, kimchi, kombu, lemon, lemongrass, lime, macadamias, millet, mirin, mushrooms, mustard, noodles, nori, olive oil, oregano, onions, parsley, peanuts, pecans, pili nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, rice, rosemary, sage, sesame oil, sesame seeds, smoke, spirulina, star anise, sunflower seeds, tamarind, tarragon, tempeh, Thai basil, thyme, tofu, tomatoes, turmeric, vinegar, wakame, walnuts, young coconut, zucchini noodles, 

 

 

SELECTING 

 

Tamari is usually wheat free, but not always. If you avoid gluten, check the label to make sure it is wheat free. Also check the label for other unwanted artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Sometimes you’ll find tamari contains sugar, citric acid, MSG, sodium benzoate and caramel coloring. Ideally, the only ingredients should be water, organic soybeans and sea salt. As with any soy products it is important to choose organic to avoid genetically modified soy and heavy doses of pesticides. 

 

Some brands will use traditional methods of fermenting and aging in their production while others will not. Look for the words “naturally brewed” on the label. This means it is more likely to be produced using traditional fermentation.

 

 

HOW TO USE 

Use tamari as a seasoning in any Asian-inspired stir-fries, soups, dips, marinades and dressings. In recipes that call for soy sauce, tamari can be used instead. Often it’s a 1:1 swap but you’ll notice that the saltiness, the color and the thickness of tamari as well as soy sauce varies a lot from brand to brand. Be careful not to add too much. To be safe you may want to start with a smaller amount than the recipe calls for, you can always add more as needed. 

 

Use tamari as a seasoning – add to stir-fries, soups, dips, marinades and dressings. Tamari can be added at any time during the cooking process as the flavor is maintained during high heat. It can also be added to food as a seasoning after the cooking process in place of surface salt. 

 

 

 

 

STORING 

Store tamari in a dark glass bottle in a cool, dark and dry pantry. Due to the high salt content, microorganisms don’t survive and soy sauce has a very long shelf life even up to a few years. However, depending on the brand and production, shelf life may vary. To extend the shelf life, store in the refrigerator. 

 

SUBSTITUTIONS

 

Bragg’s liquid aminos is another alternative, also made with soy beans and wheat free. 

Coconut aminos is a great soy-free substitute. The taste is a bit sweeter. 

 

 

HEALTH BENEFITS VERSUS CONCERNS

For people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or those who avoid gluten for other reasons, switching from soy sauce to tamari is an easy and beneficial swap. Tamari is no health food, although it is healthier than soy sauce and does have some reported health benefits. 

 

What are the benefits? Well, it does contain some antioxidants and minerals. It is also it’s high in protein, especially the amino acid tryptophan. In fact, there is more protein density in tamari than soybeans themselves. But the list of benefits doesn’t go much further than that. Tamari is a useful and delicious condiment but is best to add sparingly. 

 

One of the reason to use tamari sparingly is the high amount of sodium it contains. Just one tablespoon of soy sauce contains half of the recommended daily limit of sodium. Our body needs a very small amount of sodium, and overdosing can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, bone loss, kidney failure and even cancer. 

 

Another issue to be vigilant of is GMO soybeans. In the United States, 90% of all soybeans are genetically modified. In addition, soybean crops are commonly subjected to heavy doses of pesticides, and in particular the controversial herbicide Roundup. Soybeans are one of the foods most commonly associated with food allergies, especially among children. Could this be because of genetic engineering or perhaps a reaction to Roundup?