Natto is fermented soybeans. This is a traditional Japanese food and certainly has an “acquired” taste. Many people don’t like the flavor and the fact that the texture is, well, very slimy doesn’t help either. These packages of natto often come in styrofoam (unfortunately) and the ingredients list will likey have “high fructose corn syrup” and or MSG in it somewhere; but, don’t worry that stuff is just in the mustard and seasoning sauce that comes with it. So just ditch the sauces and use a bit of your own mustard and quality soy sauce.
In Japan it is often eaten on rice as, or part of, breakfast. I often eat it at night with dinner. But you can eat it with anything or at anytime you like of course. You will get the probiotic benefits no matter what.
The strain of bacteria in natto is called “bacillus subtilis”. When you get your little package of natto and open it you will need to stir the beans vigorously to get the bacteria more active. This is where it starts to turn slimy. But don’t stop – whip it, whip it good. I will often put a bit of miso paste in mine and really like that (miso is also a probiotic food). Eat with chopsticks and don’t worry you will get better at controlling the stringy bits that follow your chopsticks around after they touch the natto.
That’s about all there is to it. Like I said though it is an acquired taste and there are no rules against putting a good bit of mustard and soy sauce in there or anything else your mind can think up to mask the flavour a little (green onions and a bit of flax oil go really nicely with it too).
Another benefit of natto is that it is high in plant protein and in this case very easy to digest. It is also rich in vitamin K. Lastly it contains an enzyme called nattokinase that has been shown to help dissolve blood clots in animal tests.
Alright, go to your closest Asian grocer and grab some natto. Of course organic is best if you can find it as soybeans are almost definitely GMO if not organic.