Soybean is also referred to as the soya or soja bean. It belongs to the pea family Fabaceae genus Glycine. It yields one of the cheapest and most useful sources of protein. It is a much less expensive protein source compared to beef considering that soybeans grown in an acre of land can provide about 10 times as much protein as can beef and cattle raised on the same land.
According to the US Agricultural Research Service, the composition of soybean is 34% protein, 33.5% carbohydrates, 4.7% ash, 10% water and 17.7% fat. Because of its nutritional value, many people have turned to soybean as their vital source of protein.
Food Products from Soybeans
A hundred kind of edible and non-edible products can be made from soybean. Listed in this hub are some of the major soybean based food ingredients that may be
- used in cooking food dishes
- incorporated into processed foods to increase protein value
- function as an extender
- used as a healthier substitute to meat protein
1. Soybean Sprouts
Soybean sprouts are like mung bean sprouts but are larger and slightly stronger in flavor. They can be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute and refreshed in cold water prior to using in salads. It can be used as a substitute for mung bean sprouts in recipes.
The video below shows how to grow bean sprouts. Soybean was not used in the video however the same procedure goes for soybeans.
2. Bean Curd
Bean curd or Tofu is a bland custard-like product made from soybeans. Since it has little taste of its own, it picks up the flavor of the food it is cooked with. It is available fresh, vacuum-packed, canned or dried.
Tofu can be soft or firm in texture. Firm tofu is perfect for braising, deep -frying, soups, steaming or stir-frying with other ingredients. Soft tofu can be used in various fillings or soups or eaten fresh with a dip sauce. The dried form needs to be soaked in warm water before using in soups.
Watch the video below to see how you can make tofu at home.
How to Make Tofu from Home
3. Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is one of the most important soy products. It contains no cholesterol and it has one of the lowest levels of saturated fats among vegetable oils. It is produced using a solvent extraction process. The soybeans are first cleaned, cracked, dehulled and crushed into flakes. Then the crude oil is extracted from the flakes by adding a solvent. The oil that is obtained is further refined.
4. Soy Flour and Soy Grits
Soy flour and soy grits are produced from the soy meal. Soy meal is the flakes that was left after the oil is extracted. This soy meal when ground into fine powder becomes soy flour.
Soy flour is used in baby food, cereals, various low calorie products, baked goods and pet foods. Soy meal that is ground into coarser grains are called soy grits. They are used in candies, processed meats like patties and sausages, baked goods and pet foods.
5. Protein Concentrate
Protein concentrate is produced from further processing of the soy flour. It is produced when the non-protein content of soy flour is extracted resulting in a creamy concentrate that can be made into a powder or grainy substance.
When 1/6 of the non-protein content is extracted, the resulting product is called soy protein concentrate. When 1/4 of the non-protein content is extracted, the end-product is called isolated soy protein. Both are used in infant food, cereals and processed meat.
6. Textured Vegetable Protein
Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP is a soy product made to look and tasted like meat. It can be mixed with meat or eaten alone. It costs less than meat and contain more protein.
There are 2 ways of producing TVP: by extrusion or spunning. The extrusion process pushes soy flour through a machine that shapes them into small meat-like pieces and dried before packaging. When the consumer adds water to TVP, it becomes moist and chewy.
The spunning process, on the other hand, uses isolated soy protein and spins it into fibers looking like beef, chicken and ham. It can be bought canned, dried or frozen form from the market. TVP is used for extending ground beef for hamburgers without reducing its nutritional value or as a complete substitute as in soy bean burgers.
How to make soy bean burger using TVP
Chin chin (author) from Philippines on June 03, 2010:
Thanks for the compliments katiem2.
Katie McMurray from Ohio on June 02, 2010:
Fantastic soybean based food ingredients hub, beautifully created, thanks :)