Frequently Asked Questions
- Why don’t all Rhapsody products say “certified organic” on the label?
- Why does Rhapsody Miso discolor and how long can I keep it?
- Why do you use plastic packaging instead of glass?
- Can I recycle the plastic tempeh bags and amazake/rice milk bottles?
- Why are your products not labeled as kosher?
- What are those dark spots on tempeh about?
- Can I freeze tempeh, amazake, and koji?
- What about phytic acid in tempeh, amazake, koji, and rice bran (nuka)?
- Do you use GMO (genetically modified) soybeans?
Why don’t all Rhapsody products say “certified organic” on the label?
Rhapsody Tempeh is a certified organic producer. Rhapsody’s facility is certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers, Vermont’s certifying agency. In order to get a product certified as organic we need to go through a stringent administrative procedure that checks the ingredients, certificates, and production process. Although these products also have high quality certified organic ingredients we choose not to go through the certification process at this point. We are working on getting them certified organic eventually.
Why does Rhapsody Miso discolor and how long can I keep it?
Rhapsody miso is a live unpasteurized food. Technically it is not a perishable product and we are not required to put a sell by date on it. Miso was discovered during a time in history where refrigeration was not yet a convenience and leftovers were not possible. Salted and fermented foods were a way to preserve food longer so that it wouldn’t spoil. Misi is both fermented and salty. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation process and allows us to control it. As recently read on an online feed: Miso will keep to infinity and beyond! Because the enzymes and probiotic nutrients are alive in the miso, the fermentation continues until heated above 140 degrees. As miso ages it will darken in color and does not diminish the quality, it actually increases the nutritive and medicinal qualities of the miso,
Why do you use plastic packaging instead of glass for your rice milk and amazake?
In the quantities we would use it, the cost of glass would be too prohibitive, adding upto $1.50 to $2.00 to the product at retail level. Instead we use recyclable polyethylene containers (HDPE # 2). However, we are able to use glass for our miso.
Can I recycle the plastic tempeh bags and amazake/rice milk bottles?
Yes, the bottles are marked with the recycle symbol and all our plastics bags, plain or printed, are made from recyclable polyethylene.
Why are your products not labeled as kosher?
Although we use no animal products in our facility — never have, never will, and it is therefore practically speaking kosher — to go through the kosher certification process is something we are too small to afford.
What are those dark spots on tempeh about?
Tempeh is made by letting the Rhizopus Oligosporus mold do its work. This culture multiplies and spreads throughout the cooked beans by means of the mycelium it forms, creating the typical white cottonball-look of fresh tempeh. This mold excretes enzymes which digest the beans. At a certain point the mold reaches its maximum growth and signals that it’s time to create spores—just like plants eventually go from flower to seed. These spores are black and indicate that the tempeh has fermented to its peak. They are harmless, do not affect the flavor, and are just an indication that the tempeh was well fermented. That is why you could say that tempeh with black spot is the best tempeh to eat!
Can I freeze tempeh, amazake, koji, and rice bran (nuka)?
Tempeh and amazake freeze well, even repeatedly (though why not eat it fresh!). Koji is better kept refrigerated. It will last 2 years or longer but will loose some of its potency over time. Rice bran can be frozen to keep it fresh.
Tip: You can buy 2-pound packages of tempeh (saving money in the process), cut them up, freeze them, and pull as needed.
What about phytic acid in tempeh, amazake, koji, and rice bran (nuka)?
Phytic acid is a compound that chelates and is thus a double-edged sword: it is thought to prevent the absorption of iron, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium and magnesium, to a lesser degree, but to also help in the removal of heavy metals from the body. It is found especially in grains, beans, nuts and seeds, including soy and rice. Phytic acid is broken down by phytase, a digestive enzyme released by for instance Aspergillus oryzae (a koji mold) and Rhizopus oligosporus (tempeh’s main mold). Studies have shown that products fermented using these molds have a significantly reduced level of phytic acid. Much is still unknown about phytic acid. That is why a safe approach is the traditional way of consuming a balanced diet consisting of home-grown and home-made organic foods, including fermented foods. That’s why we consider nuka pickles (made by using roasted rice bran) one of those as of yet mysterious traditional foods deserve a spot in our diet. Let’s have some common sense faith in our ancestors and not throw away the baby with the bath water!
Tip: Add some broken up koji to your grains, beans, nuts or seeds if you decide you need to soak them overnight to enhance the break down of phytic acid, by using the phytase present in the koji.
Do you use GMO (genetically modified) soybeans?
No! We use only certified organic soybeans, which means they can never be genetically modified. Too much is unknown about this relatively new technology, and frankly, we believe that humans should stay away from this way of manipulating plants. Tinkering with the building blocks of life is best left to our creator at this stage of human evolution.