diy homemade natto

diy homemade nattō! (and yogurt)

Sticky, stinky, stringy and downright delicious!  Japanese people love their nattō and being half Japanese myself, I’m certainly no exception.  I have fond memories of waking up to the smell of a traditional Japanese breakfast spread put together by my obaasan, usually consisting of miso soup, tamagoyaki, steamed rice, and nattō among other dishes .  One of our family favorites is to serve nattō topped with nori along with pan-fried salmon, steamed broccoli and/or spinach, and steamed rice.  Forget about hamburgers and chicken nuggets.  THIS is the meal that my 11 year old craves!  When you take into account the health benefits of natto, it’s a no-brainer to make it a regular part of your diet.

DIY Homemade Natto

a family favorite with homemade natto!

There’s just one problem; nattō is not readily available here in western Puerto Rico.  Freshmart carries a lot of what Whole Foods carries in the states, but I have yet to find a Japanese food store anywhere in the area.  We made do without for as long as we could, but one day I thought of something that probably would’ve never occurred to me in the states; maybe you can make nattō at home.

Homemade natto

A online search quickly validated this idea so we bought some non-gmo sprouting soybeans and nattō starter spores online and got to work.  The first batch was fermented in the oven using the heat of the oven light.  Our second batch was fermented in our Instant Pot using the “Yogurt” setting.  We found this approach to be much more convenient while also producing better results.  (Here are our step by step directions on how to make nattō in an instant pot)  We are still playing with fermentation times and techniques to increase the stickiness, but overall we were pretty happy to finally have some delicious and fresh nattō!

diy homemade nattō and the natto starter we used...

our homemade nattō and the nattō starter we used…

We have also tried making other fermented foods with mixed success.  Holly used to make kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles back in the states but has not been successful here because it’s too warm without whole-house air conditioning.  We are planning to try again using a cooler.  The only other thing that has worked well was tangy, fresh yogurt, also made in our Instant Pot.

we make homemade natto and homemade yogurt in our instant pot

cheaper and more delicious than store bought yogurt…

Here, like anywhere, obstacles become challenges.  Tell me I can’t have nattō anymore and I’ll go the ends of the earth (or the world wide web…) to prove you wrong! 😉

6 comments

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  • Since you like health food, I would suggest you check out the natural foods store in Mayaguez across the street from Home Depot/Sams. They have a great vegetarian lunch too that is reasonably priced! It’s our “fast food” stop when we go into town. The prices of the food in the grocery section are still pretty high, but unlike Freshmart they actually carry FRESH produce too. Not a whole lot, but we like to buy sprouts (often a variety – not just alfalfa) there, some powdered miso soups and organic cookies.

    • Hi Cassie. Sounds like we have to check that place out… thanks for sharing!

    • That sounds great Cassie! I have seen that place and wondered what it was really like. Too often “healthy” on a store sign doesn’t mean what I think it means LOL! Good to know of a place where it might actually be true 🙂

  • Do you have a recipe or process that might help me do the same? I, too, am half Japanese and miss the natto I used to eat growing up. The problem for me are all the added chemicals and corn products including MSG that’s in all the frozen, store-bought natto where I live. My husband and I both have an allergy to corn. I’ve also heard that natto is good for heart health. Plus I also have an Instant Pot and am very interested in any help you could give. Thank you.

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