Soybeans have been cultivated in China for 13,000 years and it is one of the very first foods cultivated by man. Native to East Asia, the soybean was introduced in Europe in the 17th Century and in the United States towards the end of the 19th Century.
The Americans have been farming soybeans extensively since the
1930s and are now responsible for 50 % of the worldwide production.
A large portion of this production is transformed into oil which is
used to make margarine and other products.
Undoubtedly the greatest all-purpose food on the market, the
soybean can be crushed and transformed into flour or used as a
coffee substitute. Soybeans can be processed into products such as
oil, soymilk and tofu. Soybeans are also used to make tamari sauce
and miso. Soybean sprouts are indispensable in Asian cuisine.
The soybean is the only legume from which is extracted a liquid, soy milk, which is used to make tofu. Soy milk is obtained by crushing the soy beans.
It looks the same as regular cow or goat milk and has been used in Asia for centuries. In the Western World, it has long been used as a milk substitute for infants. Because it is of vegetable origin, it does not contain any lactose to which some babies are intolerant.
Soy milk is also used like regular milk in soups, sauces,
yogurts, sherbets, ice creams, puddings, drinks and pastries.
In addiction, soy milk has essentially the same nutritional value as the soybean and also has numerous medicinal properties.
- Soybean sprouts can be eaten cooked or raw. They are used to
prepare traditional Vietnamese spring rolls.
- They are delicious in salads, sandwiches, appetizers and hors
- They should be added at the very last minute to casseroles,
stews, omelettes, vegetables andtacos.
- Dried soybeans can be prepared and used like all other legumes,
but it is important to cook them thoroughly to make them easier to
- Tamari sauce is often used in Asian cooking. Unlike soy sauce
which is made of whole beans and wheat, tamari sauce is made
exclusively of soybeans and contains no cereal.
- Ground soybeans are used in soups, sauces, biscuits and
- This a very salty fermented paste made from soybeans. The art of making miso is as complex as the art of making wine or cheese. It can be used in a variety of recipes and adds flavour and nutritional value (protein) to any meal.
The soybean is very high in protein and calories, which makes it
is the most nourishing of all legumes.
The soybean is an excellent source of :
- folic acid
It is also a good source of :
- vitamin B6
Several studies have shown that soybeans behave like weak
oestrogens which reduce the risk of developing cancer.