A small plant which is hairy of the Bean family, sometimes referred to as the “greater bean” , native to India and China. Cultivated for over 4000 years in India for the seeds and made in a sauce called soy. It is considered of one of the most sacred grains. There are four other sacred grains being barley, rice, wheat and millet. U.S. was an importer of soybeans, but at present grows so much that it exports to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even mainland China. Soybeans are considered to be the only vegetable that is a complete protein.
It is very high in protein comparable to a lot of animal meats and a very good substitute for milk, the residue is used in manure.
The potential of the soybean was only realised in the 1930’s; this is when extensive cultivation of soy had begun.
The soybean is used other than milk, as a substitute for coffee, and additive for certain flours to make a number of breads. It is used for a number of condiments, sauces for fish mostly. Oil from the soybean is utilised for margarine production, paints, industrial products and plastics too, including a range of chemicals, as well as fuel-bio-diesel , seeds are also used as livestock feed . Traditional non-fermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk and from the latter tofu and tofu skin. Fermented foods include soy sauce, bean paste, and many others. In order to produce this oil, the soybeans are first split apart, synced for moisture and are warmed between 60 and 88 ºC. Then these beans are rolled out into small chips. The oil is then polished and mixed for multiple applications and purposes and are often hydrogenated.
The soybean is an erect bushy hairy annual herb having trifoliate leaves and purple to pink flowers; extensively cultivated for food and forage and soil improvement but especially for its nutritious oil-rich seeds; native to Asia. Soy varies in growth and habit. The height of the plant varies from 0.2-2m. Has very hairy leaves that are covered with fine brown or grey hairs; having three to four leaflets per leaf, and the leaflets are 6–15cm long and 2–7cm broad. The inconspicuous, self-fertile flowers are borne in the axil of the leaf and are white, pink or purple. The fruit grows in clusters of three to five, each pod is 3–8 cm long, and has an average of 3-4 seeds; each of the diameter of 0.5-1cm. Each pod varies in colouring, soybeans occur in various sizes, and in many hulls or coatings colours range from black, brown, blue, yellow, green and mottled variations. If the seed coat is cracked, the seed will not be fertile and cannot germinate. The scar, visible on the seed coat, is called the hilum (colours also include black, brown, grey and yellow) and at one end of the hilum is the micropyle, or small opening in the seed coat which can allow the absorption of water for sprouting.
Soybeans are relatively easy to grow as long as they have full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They are a warm weather crop, considered a subtropical plant, and grow best in summers. Soybeans ripen all at one time on the bush so it is best to plan on planting successively.Like most beans, soybeans require nitrogen-fixing bacteria to be present in the soil. When grown on the same land for successive years, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant during harvest and to turn the roots into the ground as they will decay and release nitrogen. When grown in this manner, bean yields will increase each year as the soil improves. When planting by seed, they should be soaked in warm water for 24 hours before sowing.
The wild ancestor of the soybean is glycine soja (previously called G. ussuriensis), a legume native to central China. The soybean has been used in China for 5,000 years as a food and a component of drugs.
The oldest preserved soybeans were found in archaeological sites in Korea dated about 1000 BCE, though it is uncertain if they were wild, or cultivated strains – though the size of cultivated beans, the main difference between the two, is a genetic alteration that determines whether the wild pods burst to scatter seeds, and neither feature could be determined from the remains. Wild-size soybeans have been found in the Yellow River basin of China. Radiocarbon dating of soybean samples recovered through flotation during excavations at the Early Mumun period Okbang site in Korea indicated soybean was cultivated as a food crop in around 1000–900 BCE.
From about the first century CE to the Age of Discovery (15–16th century), soybeans were introduced into several countries, such as India, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, Taiwan and Nepal. This spread was due to the establishment of sea and land trade routes. The best current evidence on the Japanese Archipelago suggests soybean cultivation occurred in the early Yayoi period. The earliest Japanese textual reference to the soybean is in the classic Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), which was completed in 712 CE. Many people have claimed soybeans in Asia were historically only used after a fermentation process, which lowers the high phytoestrogens content found in the raw plant. However, terms similar to “soy milk” have been in use since 82 CE, and there is evidence of tofu consumption that dates to 220.
About 85 percent of the world’s soybeans are processed, or “crushed,” annually into soybean meal and oil.
Soybean has very little scent characteristic.
Soybean has very little taste, which in turn does not affect the flavour of the food.
Health and Benefits of Soybean
Soybean is extremely high in Lecithin, Sterolins, and Vitamin E. Soy contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids.
Soy’s key health benefits are related to its excellent protein content, its high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, its isoflavones, and its fibre. A wealth of nutrients that are tied to an impressive array of health benefits, including decreased risk of heart disease and strokes, osteoporosis, cancer, and digestive disorders, losing excessive weight (and/or not gaining weight) in addition to easing some of the symptoms of menopause.
- Osteoporosis prevention, anti-cancer, cardiovascular disease prevention, menopause syndrome relief.
- Helps to detoxify and move blood. Benefits the kidney and spleen.
- Soybean Oil provides enough moisture to the dry hair by penetrating deep into the scalp.
- Soybean oil is loaded with protein and vitamin which strengthens the locks of the hair.
- Constant use of this oil will ensure soft and hydrated hair forever.
- This oil prevents hair from breaking due to various chemicals and climatic change.
Soybean oil benefits
- It contains low saturated fatty acids, which prevents the formation of any critical heart disease.
- Presence of polyunsaturated fats makes it a preferable healthier choice of oil for people.
- The essential ingredients present in the oil help to decrease the blood cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated part comprise of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed through our diet.
- Presence of fatty acids in this oil guarantees normal development, proper growth and brain operation.
- It helps to maintain the blood calcium levels and bone construction.
- It contains Vitamin E and acts as a perfect moisturising agent.
- It can be used to brighten up the skin tone.
- The antioxidants present in this oil help to avoid oxidative activity.
Buying and Storing
When freshly purchased or harvested keep refrigerated in a good sealed container and use within 3 days. Preserve and make a good amount of condiments. Freezes well and would be prepared much like any other legumes. One can also dry it out and package it airtight, kept on the shelf in hoard for a good amount of weeks. It can be added to other flours once milled and made into an array of breads. Soybean sprouts can be purchased anywhere and used the same as other fresh sprouts; as a garnish or additive to any food of choice. Dairy product substitutes (e.g., soy milk, margarine, soy ice-cream, soy yoghurt, soy cheese, and soy cream cheese) and meat substitutes (e.g. veggie burgers). These substitutes are readily available in most supermarkets. Soy milk does not naturally contain significant amounts of digestible calcium. Many manufacturers of soy milk sell calcium-enriched products, as well. Oil can be purchased almost anywhere and used as a normal cooking oil with many other applications as stipulated below.Soy is also used in tempeh: the beans (sometimes mixed with grain) are fermented into a solid cake.
This yellow coloured oil is indigenous to East Asia and Central China region. With the passage of time, the fostering of this oil seed started in many countries. At present, many countries produce this oil, such as Japan, Korea, Burma, Nepal, Vietnam, India and Thailand. Soya seed, from where this oil is obtained, is considered as a leading crop and is available in many other countries such as Paraguay, Brazil, United States and Argentina as well.
Cooking ideas with Soybean
Fresh soybeans in Japanese cuisine is known as the same in English, these soybeans are generally known as “edamame” or “green vegetable soybeans”.
Edamame is harvested ‘immature’ meaning you want them fresh ‘green bean’ style, not matured and dry.
Boil for 5 minutes, season with salt and then are ready to pop out for any application:
Make hummus, fun additions include artichoke hearts, capers, olives or roasted peppers – serve in cucumber cups.
Yummy in cold grain or pasta salads as they then become a whole meal with edamame; thanks to the protein.
Add to stews and soups at the last minute before serving, just to warm them.
Eat soybean sprouts in a stir fry, on sandwiches and by the handful. Soybean sprouts are incredibly crunchy, even after they have been cooked. They are nutty like edamame with a green pepper flair.
Soybean oil uses:
- It is used as a cooking oil in many parts of the world.
- This vegetable oil is also used for frying and baking purposes.
- It acts as a source to increase the flavour and enjoyment of the salads, sandwich spreads and mayonnaise.
- It is also used in margarine and mayonnaise.
- Snack foods and coffee creamers also contain soybean oil.
Soybean Oil Side Effects
People who are allergic to the members of the Fabaceae/Leguminosea family such as soybeans, peanuts and other plants, may suffer severe side effects when consume Soybean Oil frequently. Soybean oil contains unsaturated fats which includes calories in large numbers thus can be harmful for those who are trying to curb weight.