March 23, 2021 2 min read
Soybeans are an integral part of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean diets and as such have been cultivated there for thousands of years. In China, the soybean was used as a food as well as an important component of medicine. Elsewhere, soybeans were used in preparing a variety of fresh, fermented, and dried food products that were integral to oriental diets.
Soybeans are available in a variety of forms that range in their color, texture, and taste profiles. Here is a look at the different forms available:
These are prematurely harvested sweeter tasting large soybeans that are still green. Edamame is also known as sweet beans since they have not yet developed the strong flavor of mature soybeans. In texture, edamame is smooth, firm, and crisp and will retain the same textural qualities even after cooking.
At this stage, the soybeans take on a light tan or yellowish color. The beans are harvested when mature and may be available in both black and brown varieties. Compared to edamame, mature beans are dense and can be found in both dry and canned varieties. Some places may even offer sprouted soybeans.
Soybeans that have been roasted are known as soy nuts. Soy nuts are typically high in fat may somewhat be similar to peanuts. They can be purchased in both salted and unsalted varieties.
The soybean is perhaps the most economically important bean in the world as is a major source providing vegetable protein for vegetarians. Other than being one of the richest and cheapest sources of protein, soybeans are also the most nutritious and easily digested food of the bean family. Soybean meals can often serve as a high protein meat substitute in many food products.
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