Tempeh is a very popular plant-based food, it can be found at a variety of restaurants and grocery stores.
But what Tempeh really is remains a mystery to many who encounter & enjoy this food.
The popular idea held by the majority of people is that tempeh is a seemingly pressed/ compacted brick of soybeans that has undergone a type of mysterious “fermentation” process.
Tempeh is a cultured food, this mysterious fermentation process is actually the cultivation of a fungi/mold known as (Rhizopus Ogliosporus) on Beans (Typically Soy Beans) …The Process of culturing Beans with Rhizopus yields Tempeh, a delicious Protein-Rich Pre & Pro Biotic Food!
Rhizopus oligosporus is a fungus that belongs to the class zygomycetes. Zygomycete- (ZHY GO MY CETES)
The zygomycetes are a type of fungi belonging to the group Zygomycota. They include : bread mold, Rhizopus stolonifer, Rhizopus Oryzae and Rhizopus Oligosporus. which all rapidly propagate on the surfaces of breads, fruits, and vegetables.
So how did people begin eating and cultivating this freaky fungi?!?
Rhizopus Oryzae ( Rhizopus Oligosporus’s Ancestor)
is said to grow on the leaves of the waru tree (Hibiscus spp) a common tree in Indonesia
Legend has it that about 7 centuries ago, somebody had wrapped their harvest ( of Soybeans) In a hibiscus leaf and forgot about it only… to come back to see their beans had become a big puffy white brick of fungus. This person indulged in eating the brick and since this occurrence tempeh has been recognized as a food.
To back up Our theory, The fungi on the surface of waru trees of various geographical origins (Indonesia, Africa, The Netherlands) were investigated. Rhizopus spp predominated over the other fungi encountered on the Indonesian leaves. Meaning Tempeh very Well could have originated this way.
Rhizopus Oryaze, is a very different fungus then Oligosporus which is used to grow Tempeh today.
Oryaze Became domesticated through centuries of unsanitary tempeh making conditions typically in the family homes of Indonesia . As more people began to grow Tempeh it slowly began to mutate into its new safer form -Rhizopus Oligosporus-
We believe the Tempeh Is an intelligent being, and just as plants and animals adapt and become domesticated by humans so does fungi -such as Tempeh.