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What Is Umami?

March 9, 2021

We talk about “umami” a lot around here. How delicious it is. How mushrooms are packed with it. How The Blend can amplify it. But what IS it? 

Glad you asked! 

What is Umami?

Umami is one of the five basic taste categories in food, along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It was first discovered and defined in Japan in 1908 and loosely translates from Japanese to mean “delicious” or “savory.” 

Speaking more technically, umami is the flavor sensation that occurs when taste responders on your tongue detect an amino acid called glutamate. Your brain receives these signals, and you experience a deep, meaty, savory taste. It can be found in meats, gravies, broths, tomatoes, cheese, soy sauce, miso paste, fish sauce and, of course, mushrooms. 

This fifth taste can be sneaky, though! It can be hard to put a finger on when you taste it but is often responsible for those deep, savory eating experiences for which you can’t quite describe the flavor. 

It’s because of that magical, mysterious power of umami that makes it so sought after in the culinary world. Mushrooms specifically are used by chefs and home cooks around the world as an amplifier to add some extra “oomph” to dishes. In fact, that’s what makes blended dishes so darn good. 

Chopped mushrooms + meat = The Blend (double umami)! 

When you cook with healthy mushrooms you get that deep, savory flavor without adding the fat, sodium or cholesterol found in other umami-rich ingredients like meat and cheese. It’s hard to believe that something so tasty can also help feed our immune systems

Recipes

Umami Melt

We obviously had to start with a blended recipe. Plus, this burger was designed by an expert chef to provide an unforgettable umami experience. 

Mushroom Marinara Ravioli

Parmesan cheese and tomato sauce are also umami powerhouses. This recipe has both, plus a savory mushroom filling. Get ready for a flavorful experience! 

Mushroom Marinara Ravioli

Shiitake Mushroom and Smoked Tofu Stir Fry

Soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms provide an undeniable pop of savory. Add the smoked tofu and this recipe provides all the deep, earthy flavor you’ve been craving. 

Shiitake Mushroom and Smoked Tofu Stir Fry

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our supply of recipes! Explore more mushroom recipes here. 

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