The world’s most important bean is the low carbohydrate, high-protein soybean. This inexpensive, yet nutritious legume is used to make soybean oil, soy flour, soy sauce, miso, tamari, and tofu. Can also be used like any other bean. Fresh, they’re sold as “edamame.”
There are over 1,000 varieties of soybeans, ranging in size from as small as a peas to as large as a cherry. Soybean pods are covered with a fine tawny to gray fruzz and range in color from tan to black. Dried soybeans are mature beans that have been shelled and dried. Unlike other legumes, soybeans are low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Green soybeans are those picked when fully grown, but before completely mature. They are generally left in ther pods, which are a bright green color.
The delicious, slightly nutty flavored soybean has been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years but the good news about soy’s culinary versatility and exceptional health benefits is a relatively recent phenomenon in the West. Different varieties of this truly amazing legume are available throughout the year.
The soybean is the most widely grown and utilized legume in the world and one of the most well researched, health-promoting foods available today. Like other beans, soybeans grow in pods, featuring edible seeds. While we most often think of them as being green, the seeds can also be yellow, brown or black.
Season: available year-round
Substitutions: soybeans = fava beans = lima beans = green peas