For ages, the four known basic tastes were sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. However, in 1908, a distinguished Japanese professor, Professor Kikunae Ikeda, identified a taste that didn’t fit any known basic tastes. He named this taste umami. Ever since its discovery, Umami has continually gained a lot of popularity. Given that it is immensely popular, it is no surprise that it is dubbed as the “fifth taste.”
Properties of Umami
Over the years, different renowned chefs have described umami products using different words. Some have referred to it as a mild and subtle taste, whereas some have described it as a persistent and lasting taste. Despite having various descriptions, some properties have been noted by all. Here they are.
It’s worth noting that sour and salty tastes trigger salivation for a short duration. It’s also worth noting that sour and salty tastes trigger the secretion of light saliva. Unlike these tastes, it’s been proved that umami tends to trigger viscous saliva secretion, which stays put for a long duration.
In one experiment, participants were asked to take solutions of tartaric acid, table salt, and umami substances. The participants were then instructed to spit the solutions and to compare the intensity of each of the tastes left in their mouths. The scientists found out that while sour and salty tastes of the tartaric acid and able salt faded within a short period, the taste of umami was found to linger for quite a lengthy duration. Thus, umami can be described as persistent.
Spreads Across the Tongue
According to the Umami Information Center, a center committed to educating individuals about umami, umami is more often than not referred to as a taste that “spreads across the tongue, thus coating it.” Studies regarding the tongue’s receptors have shown that sweet and salty tastes tend to be strongly sensed on the tongue’s tip. The same studies go on to show that, unlike the tastes that have been mentioned, umami is sensed all across the tongue.
Benefits of Eating Food Rich in Umami
Researchers claim that umami’s profile is due to glutamate. As such, on numerous occasions, private research centers, nutritionists, and even government-backed agencies have urged the public to eat food that has high levels of glutamate. Apart from the fact that glutamate-rich food is usually outstandingly delicious, by eating food rich in glutamate, you’ll enjoy benefits such as a healthy gut, healthy digestion, and improved brain function. If you’re a true fan of healthy eating, eating food rich in glutamate would be a brilliant decision. You won’t regret making it.
Type of Food Rich in Umami
With more information being released to the public regarding umami’s benefits, it comes as no surprise that foods rich in umami are nowadays sought-after by many individuals. If you’d like to try out food rich in umami, here are some of the best foods you should consider eating.
Meat, especially matured meat, naturally contains high levels of glutamate and inosinate. Research shows that for every three and a half ounces of beef, 10 mg of glutamate is present. However, it’s essential to note that different meats tend to have different levels of glutamate. For example, every 100 grams of bacon has 198 milligrams of glutamate, whereas every 100 grams of dry ham has 340 milligrams of glutamate. All in all, if you’re searching for food that’s rich in umami flavor to cook, selecting meat would be wise.
Seaweeds are an incredible source of umami flavor as they boast incredible high levels of glutamate. Generally, glutamate content in seaweeds varies from 1200 mg to 3000 mg per 100grams. Seaweeds such as the Rausu Kombu have between 2290 mg and 3380 mg per 3.5 ounces, while the Rishiri Kombu boasts of having between 1490 mg and 1980 mg per 100 grams. Because seaweeds are rich in umami flavor, they are added to traditional Japanese cuisine broths and sauces.
Not many are aware that aged cheeses have high levels of umami compound glutamate. Studies by recognized research institutions indicate that in every 100 grams of parmesan cheese, 1200 mg to 1680 mg of glutamate exists. Additionally, in every 3.5 ounces of cheddar, cabrales, and Roquefort cheese, 180 mg, 760 mg, and 460 mg of glutamate exist. Given that aged cheese has high glutamate levels, adding cheese to your food would be wise if you’d like your food to be rich in umami. Typically speaking, the older the cheese, the higher its level of glutamate.
For centuries, Kimchi has been known to be an incredibly healthy dish. However, this dish is not only rich in nutrients. It is also quite rich in flavor. Kimchi is made using vegetables that have been fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria. This fermentation results in Kimchi having impressive levels of glutamate. It’s safe to state that in every 3.5 ounces of Kimchi, there exists 240 mg of glutamate.
It’s no hidden fact that various types of seafood are rich in umami flavor. In fact, many attribute their liking of seafood to the fact that these foods normally have a long-lasting and incredibly tasty taste. Unknown to many of them, the long-lasting and incredibly mouth-watering taste results from the umami present in various types of seafood. If you’re searching for seafood rich in glutamate levels, you should consider eating anchovies, shrimp, and scallops. It would be best to consider having these fantastic kinds of seafood as they register glutamate levels of 630 mg, 120 mg, and 140 mg, respectively.
According to the highly-respected Glutamate Association, tomatoes are a huge source of umami flavor. Per every three and a half ounces of tomato, 246mg of free glutamate are present. It’s worth noting that the more tomatoes ripen, the more their glutamate levels ascend. This being the case, if you’d like your food to be rich in umami flavor, adding tomato to it would be more than advised.