Soybeans contain a great amount of protein; perhaps more than any other legumes. Mostly, yellow colored soybeans are easy to find. However, blue, brown, black, green soybeans are also often available. These beans vary in size, as well. Soybeans can be classified in three categories. One is fresh soybeans, commonly known as edamame. Second is fresh mature and the last one is dried soybeans. Edamame are sweet soybeans and are of green color. They are pulpy than fresh mature beans. Fresh mature beans are tan colored. Dried soybeans are most commonly available. They are similar to pea size. Edamame is available in hairy pods. Each pod contains up to 5 beans. Mature soybeans are harvested when they are fully grown. They are prone to fungus if they come across moisture or water. The coat of a dried soybean is hard and water resistant. This safeguards the bean from insect damage. The hard hull protects a bean from moisture damage, as well. Dried beans are available in super markets, throughout the year.
Soybeans were cultivated first in the south East Asia. Chinese farmers cultivated soybeans and the trend was followed by the Japanese and Brazilian farmers and all of them are fond of using it even in simple dinner recipes. From the first century AD, soybean production started increasing rapidly. Currently, in United States, around 35 states produce soybeans. Along with US, countries like Brazil, Argentina, China, India, and Paraguay produce heavy quantity of soybeans. Soybeans are enriched with various nutritive components. Besides proteins, they are a good source of magnesium, fiber and calcium. Studies have proved that consumption of soybeans reduces the risk of colon cancer. They are extremely beneficial for women, as they forbid breast cancer in women. They do not contain cholesterol, zero or very less saturated fats and soya oil is enriched with vitamin E.
Soybeans are toxic for human consumption if they are consumed raw. They are cooked in a variety of ways all over the world. Edamame, fresh and dried soybeans are equally famous for their taste and nutritional value. Tofu is the common soy product, which is included in human meal since many years. Tofu can be used in a variety of dishes.
Dried soybeans are widely used for preparing the side dish as well as a main dish. They are nutrition enriched and easy to cook. While choosing the dried soybeans, make sure that there is no insect or moisture damage. Avoid buying damaged and powdery beans. Remove the small stones and other foreign articles from beans. They need to be soaked for many hours before cooking.
Wash the dried soybeans under running water and rub them gently to remove the powder coat, if any. Take water in a pot and add these washed soybeans in it. Let them soak for overnight. The soaking time is a bit longer than other legumes or beans. Dried beans are hard and water resistant. So, it takes a long time for them to soak. Quick soaking method, which includes boiling legumes for ten minutes and then soaking for an hour, doesn't work in the case of dried soybeans. You will need prior planning for cooking dried soybeans.
Take a big pot to cook soybeans. The cooking water will bubble up during the course and if you don't pay attention, it may mess up your stovetop. So, it is good to use a large pot. Two cups of dried beans will yield about 4 to 5 cups of cooked one. Choose your pot accordingly.
Use three cups of water for one cup of the dry beans. Add desire quantity of beans in the pot. Add about two teaspoons of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Boil this mixture until beans achieve the desired texture. It will take about 4 to 5 hours. As per the requirements, keep adding additional water. Then remove the pot from stove top and cool the dish.
You can use the pressure cooker for cooking soybeans. The method is similar. Add same ratio of water and beans in the pot. Add oil and salt and then cook for about 20 minutes on the 15 lbs pressure. The bubbling water may choke the stovetop. So, be careful!
While cooking, the loose hulls will appear at the surface. Remove these hulls as it may reduce the taste. However, do not become much concern about few left loose hulls. It's just all right.
Dried soybeans can be kept in an air tight container for up to one year. Dried cooked soybeans must be stored in the refrigerator and consume within two days. Edamame can be frozen up to 2-3 days. Freeze them in a freezer bag. This will preserve their freshness. Fresh mature beans can be used for few days, only if they are kept in the refrigerator. The cooking duration may vary as per the age of soybeans.