It's sticky. It's stinky, It's slimy. It's natto.
Most modern soy foods are not fit for human consumption. The only soy foods that are safe to eat are traditional fermented soy products, and natto fits the bill perfectly.
So what is natto?
Natto is an ancient Japanese food made from soybeans that have been boiled and fermented with Bacillus subtilis bacteria. The story of its discovery goes like this. Minamoto no Yoshiie was on a battle campaign in Japan when one day he and his men were attacked while boiling soybeans for their horses. (Notice they weren't going to eat the soybeans, as they knew they weren't appropriate for human consumption.) They hurriedly packed up the beans, and did not open the straw bags until a few days later, where they found fermented soy beans. They tried it and liked it. The rest is history.
Natto has a very strong ammonia like smell, which some compare to cheese. It is covered with a gooey coating of polyglutamic acid that makes spiderweb like strings when pulled apart. They are usually made with a type of soybean called, surprisingly enough, a natto soybean.
So what does natto taste like? Some think it tastes strong. Some say it tastes like coffee. Some people find it bland. I'm in between somewhere. I can taste a hint of coffee, but its not intense.
I buy my natto at my local Asian market. I plan to make natto next week. I will of course let you know how it turns out, and hopefully take some pictures.
To eat natto you take it out of the package and put it in a bowl with some shoyu and mustard, then you stir the crap out of it. It will get more and more gooey. Then you put it on top of some rice and chow down!
While the dangers of modern soy products are quite bad, Natto is extremely healthy.
One of the most important things about natto is an enzyme called "nattokinase." It is a fibrolytic enzyme. It can actually break up blood clots! Nattokinase is becoming popular. Some people take nattokinase in the form of a natto extract. It also contains pyrazine, another chemical that can stop blood clots. Now that really is heart healthy soy!
Natto also contains vitamin K2. Many believe this to be Weston A. Price's "Activator X."
Natto is one of the few fermented soy foods you can safely eat every day. I'm going to make some next week. I'll take pictures so you can see how it's done.
This post is part of Fight back Fridays at Food Renegade.