Most miso pastes contain ethyl alcohol to help preserve them during transport and storage. A Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, miso paste is a mainstay in any Japanese kitchen and used to flavor dishes such as miso soup, spreads and sauces, and pickled vegetables and meats. Easily burnt off through cooking, the alcohol works as a natural preservative to prevent the formation of surface mold on the miso paste and to stop the fermentation process.
Alcohol in Miso Paste
A natural preservative found in both wine and liquor, ethyl alcohol is added to miso paste right before packaging. As the leading preservation method for commercially sold miso paste, ethyl alcohol is allowed to make up 2 percent by weight of the finished product. Along with protecting the quality of the product, alcohol also helps to prevent swelling in the polyethylene bags used to package miso. The alcohol cooks away during food preparation or heating to the boiling point. If you are unable to consume alcohol, shop for Halal versions of miso paste that use other preservation methods, available online and at specialty retailers.