Last night I was discussing gluten in Shoyu, and I was wondering how gluten finds its way into a product that should be gluten-free. Before getting into the topic of gluten, I must say that it is fascinating and I overlooked the importance of why and how gluten intolerance is on the rise. This discussion can lead to a very interesting debate. I know that more and more people are sensitive to gluten, but no wonder, when you see how foods are being processed in industry, i.e. breadcrumbs, flat bread, croutons, bagels, croissants, flour tortillas, pizza crust, graham crackers, granola, cereal, cookie crumbs, pie crust, crackers, pretzels, toast, flour tortillas,flavored yogurts, puddings, chocolate chips, instant coffee mixes, flavored vinegars, cooking wines, etc.
If you think about it, soybeans date back to before Christ, when the Emperor of China listed the virtues of soybean plants for regenerating the soil for future crops. The real cross contamination is crop rotation with wheat crops. That means the farmers use the same fields to grow soy and wheat, and the same storage facilities, etc. But contamination can occur on a knife, cutting board, a plate or wherever gluten comes into play. So if your partner, child or loved one has any gluten intolerance – I suggest you forget bringing gluten near the kitchen.
Lastly, think that commercial shoyu is rather junky, or similar to most commercial soda pops. Most commercial shoyu is made by a chemical process in which cereals and soybeans are mixed with acids. So if you intend on using shoyu, you are best off to buy a small “artisanal” producer. They often naturally ferments beans with aspergillus oryzae, which converts hard-to-digest soy proteins, starches and fats into easily absorbed amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids.