by Jessica Goldman Foung in Scaling Back on Sodium, October 22, 2014
by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, July 26, 2014
Of all the five tastes, umami is the most mysterious. Technically speaking, the savory flavor comes from glutamic acid. Less technically speaking, when added to recipes, umami makes a dish taste yummy (which is the actual English translation of the Japanese name).
But while umami is most commonly associated with high-sodium, bottled products — like soy sauce, miso paste, and kimchi — here’s the tastiest secret of all: Mother Nature makes it too. Those magical glutamates are also found in mushrooms, meat, seaweed, and even green tea. So when your taste buds crave a savory oomph, try swapping out the salty options for fresh sources of umami. And to get started, try this Umami Mushroom Noodle dish, complete with Five Spice Sauce. If you want to even more flavor, add in umami-rich shrimp and ground pork or beef for a multiplied umami effect.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, February 20, 2009
In this week’s news: School cafeteria workers have reason to high-five; scientists make milk — minus the cow; and umami is just the beginning of an avalanche of new tastes.
The Spork Set Surprises
Sure, most kids roll their eyes when they hear the phrase “healthy lunch.” (Certain grown-ups, too.) But a funny thing happened on the way to upgrading the nation’s cafeteria meals. Although elementary school students complained when they first tried lunches that met new government standards in 2012, by the end of the school year most actually liked them, according to a just-out survey from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The data, which polled administrators at over 500 primary schools, found that 70 percent agreed strongly that kids liked their new meals (richer in whole grains and produce, and containing less fat). The picture gets even brighter, too. Another study, recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that children’s intake of fruits and vegetables had gone up since the guidelines were implemented. That said, participation in school lunch programs has dropped 3.7 percent since 2010, a slip that some officials worry has to do with these new standards.
You know what sweet, salty, bitter and sour taste like. But sometimes there’s that flavor you just can’t pinpoint. It’s a little bit savory but not salty. That’s the “fifth taste” — a.k.a. “umami.”
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