Soya Beans

Soya beans were first cultivated by the Chinese in about 1100 BC.

Experts place the first known Soya bean culture about 3000 days ago in China, where peasants planted the seeds of a wild plant. By about 1100 BC, they had begun to grow larger seeds dervived from the wild soya plant.

From this domesticated version, the Chinese created the soya bean, which they used as a source of bean sprouts, milk, sauces, flour and cooking oil.

Today, Soya is one of the vastly underutilized protein sources. Just one kilogram of Soya can produce six nutritionally sound dishes which can each feed over 24 people. Some of the uses of Soya beans are:

To make tofu

Tofu is a Soya bean product, made by grinding, boiling and draining the Soya beans, and curdling their milk to form a solid but malleable substance. This substance is then offered as a primary ingredient to make cheesecake, lasagna, quiche, moussaka and many other foods. Also growing in popularity are the tofu and soya milk-based, non-dairy frozen desserts.

To make Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)

One of the most popular ways to eat Soya beans is in the form of texturized vegetable protein, which simulated the texture of meat of fish. TVP is used successfully in sausages and stews. In its dehydrated form, it makes wonderful protein meals for hiking and camping trips.

To make Soya bean oil

Soya bean oil is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is ideal to use when making margarine, salad dressing, beverage powders, cheese spreads, ice creams and coffee creamers.

Agricultural purposes

Soya Oil cakes, made from the fibrous residue left over after the beans have been crished for oil extraction provide rich protein feed for cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.

Industrial uses

Soya beans also serve industrial purposes. Processed, the by-products of Soya are used in the manufacturing of plastics, shoes, floor tiles, cosmetics, paints, electrical insulation and soap.

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