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                  Let's Use Soybeans


Let's Use Soybeans

Department of Home Economics
Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois

[Pg 2]


Soybeans and soybean products are receiving increased attention at the present time when the rationing of many of the protein-rich foods of animal origin has made us aware of the possibility of insufficient protein in our dietaries.

This interest is highly desirable, since soybeans are such a valuable source of protein of superior quality, of calcium and iron, and of at least some of the members of the vitamin B complex. Soybeans also have a high caloric value due to fat content and have a higher energy value per pound than the other more commonly used legumes, with the exception of peanuts.

Soybean products are sometimes called "diabetic foods" because they contain no starch. It should be remembered, however, that soybeans contain some soluble sugars; in all about 10 per cent or more of the weight of dry soybeans is carbohydrate which the body can utilize. Even so, this is much less than the carbohydrate content of other beans and of wheat flour.

Varieties of Soybeans

There are two general types of soybeans, the field type and the edible or vegetable type, which differ greatly in palatability. As the name implies, the edible or vegetable varieties are more satisfactory for human consumption, although a few of the field soybeans are also palatable. Some of the vegetable types which are rated "very good" are Hokkaido, Willomi, Jogun, Imperial, and Emperor. Among the field varieties that are satisfactory for edible purposes are the Illini and Manchu.


Immature soybeans are very welcome as an early fall green vegetable. Soybeans are ready for table use as soon as the pods have completely filled out and while they are still green in color. This is in late August or in September, depending on the variety, the time of planting, and the season. Not all plants of the same variety mature at the same time, but usually the maturity of pods on a single plant is sufficiently uniform to warrant pulling the entire plant. The plants can then be taken to a shady place to pick off the pods.

To make hulling easier, pour boiling water over the soybean pods and let them stand 5 minutes in the hot water. Drain, and hull by breaking the pod crosswise and squeezing out the beans. Cook as follows: To 1 pt hulled beans, add 1 c boiling water and ¾ t salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes after the beans begin to boil. Avoid overcooking. Drain, and season with butter or in any other manner desired. Soybeans of the vegetable type should still be bright green in color after cooking, and they will have a nutty texture. They do not soften like green peas but can be used in any of the ways that green peas or green lima beans are used.


Green soybeans can be preserved by freezing, canning, or dehydrating, although at the present time freezing seems to be the most satisfactory method. (For directions for freezing see University of Illinois Circular 510, "How to Prepare Fruits and Vegetables for Freezer Storage.")

There is a difference of opinion with regard to the canning of soybeans. Some feel that the flavor of the green soybean when canned is not satisfactory, while others report palatable products. Soybeans should be [Pg 3]packed hot after blanching the shelled beans for 3 minutes in boiling water. Some authorities recommend the addition of 1 t salt and from ½ to 1 t sugar to each pint of green soybeans. U.S.D.A. Farmers' Bulletin No. 1762 recommends using a pressure cooker at 10 pounds pressure for the following periods: pint jars, 80 minutes; quart jars, 90 minutes; No. 2 tin cans, 70 minutes; No. 3 tin cans, 85 minutes. (Soaked mature soybeans can also be preserved for future use by canning in the same way.)

For the dehydration of green soybeans, it is generally agreed that a steam blanching of from 5 to 7 minutes before shelling is satisfactory. The shelled beans should then be dehydrated at a temperature of 150° F. for the first half of the dehydration, and at 145° F. for the remainder of the time. It will take from 6 to 9 hours for the process, and the finished product will be hard and wrinkled but still green in color. (For more complete directions for dehydration see University of Illinois Circular 558, "Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables at Home.")


Cooking Dry Soybeans

Method I. Soak 1 c dry soybeans in 3 c water overnight. Drain[A] and cook for 1 to 1½ hours in 3 c fresh water to which 3 t salt have been added.

[A] To save nutrients, mild-flavored soybeans may be cooked in the water in which they were soaked.

Method II. Soak beans as in Method I, cook in a pressure cooker at 10 lbs. pressure for 10 minutes in 1½ c water to which 1½ t salt has been added.

The beans may be seasoned with either butter or meat and served, or they may be used in any of the dishes for which navy or lima beans are used. They are more nutty in texture, however, than ordinary beans.

Roasted Soybeans

Two methods for roasting mature soybeans are given below. The products in both cases are acceptable, but Method I gives more desirable results, since the products more nearly resemble roasted peanuts. The second method is included because of the ease of preparation and as a means of conserving fat.

Method I. Soak dry soybeans overnight, or until completely swollen. Dry the surface between towels and fry in deep fat, a few beans at a time, for 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size of the beans (temperature, 350° F.). When they are slightly brown and crisp, drain, salt, and use as salted peanuts would be used.

Method II. Soak beans overnight. Dry thoroughly and roll in melted fat. Spread in a shallow pan and roast in a moderate oven (350° F.) until browned. Sprinkle with salt while still warm.

Sprouting Dry Soybeans

"Soybeans, like mung beans, can be sprouted in a flower pot, a sink strainer, or any container that has holes in it for drainage and can be covered. Be sure the container is large enough, for the beans swell to at least six times their original bulk as they sprout. Soak overnight, and next morning put the beans in the container,[Pg 4] cover, and leave them in a warm place. Flood with lukewarm water at least four or five times each day during the sprouting period. In 4 to 6 days the sprouts will be 2 to 3 inches long. Then they should be kept in a cool place, just as any fresh vegetable." (U.S.D.A. Leaflet No. 166, Soybeans for the Table.)

Some authorities are recommending the use of chlorinated lime (calcium hypochlorite) during the sprouting period to discourage the growth of mold and bacteria. The amounts suggested range from ½ to 1 t per gallon of water. This chlorinated water should be used for the last sprinkling each day, and at other times plain water should be used. It has also been found that the soybeans should be kept away from the light while sprouting or they will develop an undesirable color. The first requisite for soybeans to be sprouted is a variety that will germinate readily.

[Handwritten note:
green baked ones
are delicious too.
bake as dry ones
only no soaking or pre cooking is needed.

Illinois Baked Soybeans

3 c cooked soybeans
3/8 t mustard
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper
3 T molasses
½ c boiling water
½ c chili sauce
¼ lb diced salt pork

Combine thoroughly, in a baking dish, all the ingredients except salt pork. Cook the salt pork in a frying pan until delicately browned. Add the melted fat to the beans and place the squares of pork on top. Bake at 350° for 1¾ to 2 hours.

Baked Soybeans Croquettes

2 T minced onion
1½ c celery, diced
1½ t salt
1 c tomato puree
5 T flour
2 T fat
3 c soybean pulp (cooked and ground)

Add minced onion, celery (tough celery should be parboiled), and salt to tomatoes and bring to a boil. Mix the flour and fat together, add the boiling tomato puree, and cook to a thick paste. Cool, and add soybean pulp. Shape into croquettes; roll in corn flakes. Dip in egg and milk mixture and roll again in corn flakes. Place on a greased sheet and bake in a hot oven (410° F.) for 20 to 30 minutes. Yield: 10 to 12 croquettes.

Cottage Cheese Soybean Loaf

½ c roasted soybeans
1 T chopped onion
1 c cottage cheese
1 c soybean pulp (cooked and ground)
1 c milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 T fat
½ t salt
1 t poultry seasoning

Combine ingredients and bake in a greased loaf pan in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 30 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Soybean Loaf

4 c cooked soybeans
1 c dry bread crumbs
2 T peanut butter
1 T poultry seasoning
1 c milk (more, if needed)
½ t pepper

Grind soybeans coarsely and combine with other ingredients. Add enough milk to moisten. Bake in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 30 minutes. The peanut butter may be omitted from this recipe if so desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.[Pg 5]

Soybean Sandwich Filling

1 c chopped cooked soybeans
¼ c chopped olives or pickles
1 t chopped green onion
¼ t salt
2 T mayonnaise

Blend the ingredients to the proper consistency for spreading. Serve the sandwiches either toasted or plain. Yield: 4 large sandwiches.

Soybean Drop Cookies

2¾ c flour
½ t salt
4 t baking powder
1 c fat
1-2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
2¾ c soybean pulp (cooked and ground)
1/3 c milk
1 t lemon flavoring

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream the fat and sugar. Add beaten eggs and soybean pulp. Add milk and sifted dry ingredients alternately. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven (400° F.). For variety 1½ c raisins or 1 c nuts may be added to this recipe. One-third less shortening may be used if a plainer cooky is desired. This amount makes 7 dozen small cookies.


Soybean flours will probably be found on the market more generally in the near future than they have been in the past, and homemakers are advised to take advantage of the opportunity to use them. These flours are considered an especially valuable supplement to wheat flour, since they enhance the nutritive value of baked products from the standpoint of protein, minerals, and certain members of the vitamin B complex.

At the present time millers are preparing three types of soybean flour, which differ in fat content. One type contains all the fat found in the original soybean and is known as high-fat or full-fat flour. There are also two low-fat flours from which different amounts of fat have been removed. Because of these differences and the fact that soybean flour contains little or no starch and no gluten, it is wise to use recipes that are developed for soybean flour if any appreciable amount is to be incorporated. A small amount of flour can be added to many recipes (up to 2 T soybean flour to 14 T wheat flour) without altering the other ingredients, but above this amount a special recipe should always be used. The following recipes include directions for incorporating from 15 to 100 per cent soybean flour.

Soybean flour can be used as a meat extender, in gravies, soups, and sauces, and in a variety of baked products. When substituted for part of the wheat flour in a recipe, soybean flour has the advantage of giving a product which tends to brown more readily and will keep fresh for a longer time. Soybean flour also improves the crust of breads and causes them to toast even better than usual.[Pg 6]

Soybean Flour Yeast Bread

1 c skimmed milk
1 cake compressed yeast
2 T sugar
1½ T fat
2 T water
1¾ t salt
3 to 3½ c soybean flour mixture
prepared as follows:
Mix ½ c soybean flour with
3 c white flour and use
amount needed to make a
smooth, tender dough.

Scald milk and add salt, shortening, and sugar. Cool to room temperature. Soften yeast in the water and add to the cooled milk. Add about 2 c of the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding only enough flour mixture to prevent sticking. Put in a greased bowl; brush top with melted fat. Cover, and let rise until trebled in bulk (about 2 hours). Punch down and let rise until double in bulk (about 1 hour). Shape into a loaf and let rise in a greased pan until double in volume (about 1 hour). This amount of dough will fill a pan 4 × 9 × 3 inches, and the dough should rise to 5/8 inch above the edge of the pan before it is placed in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes in a moderate oven (375° F.).

Soybean Flour Rolls

2 c milk, scalded
¼ c water
1 cake yeast
1½ t salt
4 T shortening
4 T sugar
4 to 5 c soybean flour mixture
prepared as follows:
Mix 1 c soybean flour with
4 c white flour and use
amount needed to make a
smooth, tender dough.

Use the same method as for yeast bread. Shape into the desired forms, brush tops of rolls with melted fat, and let rise until double in volume. Bake at 385° F. for about 15 minutes. Yield: 30 to 36 small rolls.

Soybean Flour Applesauce Cake

½ c fat
1 c sugar
1 egg
¾ c thick applesauce (unsweetened)
¼ t nutmeg
½ c soybean flour
1¼ c white flour
½ t salt
1¼ t baking powder
1/3 t soda

Cream fat and sugar. Add beaten egg and applesauce to which the nutmeg has been added. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Bake as a layer cake for 40 to 50 minutes in a moderate oven (350° F.). Serves 10 to 12 persons.

Soybean Flour Chocolate Cake

½ c fat
1 c sugar
2 eggs
½ t salt
2 t baking powder
¼ t soda
2 squares chocolate
1¼ c cake flour
½ c soybean flour
¾ c + 2 T milk
½ t vanilla

Cream the fat, sugar, and vanilla. Add beaten eggs; add melted chocolate. Sift the dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk. Bake in a shallow pan (8 x 8 inches) in a moderate oven (365° F.) for 25 to 30 minutes.[Pg 7]


1/3 c cake flour
1/3 c soybean flour
½ t baking powder
1/3 c shortening
2 sq (oz) chocolate
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
½ c chopped nuts

Cream chocolate, shortening, and vanilla. Combine sugar and beaten eggs; add the chocolate mixture and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients and nuts. Bake in a greased pan (8 x 8 inches) in a moderate oven (350° F.) for about 30 minutes. Cut in squares.

1/3 c of soybean flour can be used instead of the cake flour (making a total of 2/3 c soybean flour) if so desired.


There are other forms in which soybeans can be utilized as human food. Some processors of soybeans are now preparing soybean grits and flakes, and there is promise that they will be on the retail market in the near future. These products are similar to soybean flour but are not so finely ground. The soybean grits usually resemble coarse corn grits but are sometimes pulverized to resemble corn meal. The flakes are similar but are flat in shape.

Soybean grits and flakes can be used as cereals, in baked products where a crisp texture is desirable, or as meat extenders. The greatest difference in the behavior of the two products is that of liquid absorption. The soybean grits tend to absorb more liquid than the flakes, and therefore an adjustment must be made in the recipe when using these products.

Cinnamon Cookies
(Using soybean grits or flakes)

¾ c cake flour
3 T soybean grits
1 c cake flour
½ c soybean flakes
1 t cinnamon
¼ c shortening
½ c sugar
½ t vanilla
1 egg
1/8 t salt
1 t baking powder

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients and combine with the soybean grits or flakes. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the beaten egg to the creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased cooky sheet. Bake in a moderate oven (375° F.) for about 10 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen cookies.

Apple Crisp
(Using soybean grits or flakes)

¾ c sugar
¼ t cinnamon
4 c apples
2/3 c brown sugar
½ c flour
6 T soybean grits or flakes
¼ c butter

Combine sliced apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and place in a shallow pan. Mix brown sugar and flour and work butter into mixture until a crumbly mixture is formed. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples. Bake in a hot oven (400° F.) for 20 to 25 minutes. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

[Handwritten note:

[Pg 8]

[Handwritten note:
Soy Bean Flour Muffins

½ c. soy bean flour
1½ c. white flour
4 t. baking powder
4 T. sugar
½ t. salt
1 egg
4 T. melted fat
1 c. milk

Sift all dry ingredients together. Combine beaten egg, fat + milk + stir these quickly into the dry mixture. Bake in deep, greased muffin pans for 8 to 10 min. in a hot oven (425° F.).

Yield 9 to 12 muffins.]

[Pg 9]

Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics: University of Illinois College of Agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. H. P. Rusk, Director. Acts approved by Congress May 8 and June 30, 1914

Brief of "Ways of Using Soybeans As Food,"
18 pp. mimeo (HEE 224),
Evelyn Chambers Faulkner, Instructor in Home Economics


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