An ancient crop in Asia, soybeans are protein-rich and very nutritious. They can be used fresh, ("edamame") or prepared as tofu, miso, and tempeh. Likes full sun and a light, well-drained soil, and warm, moist growing conditions. Sow after danger of frost is past. Keep weeded. Water is critical when plant is in flower. Use inoculant for best yields.
Among the legumes, the soybean, also classed as an oilseed, is pre-eminent for its high (38-45%) protein content as well as its high (20%) oil content. Soybeans are the second most valuable agricultural export in the United States behind corn. Soybean products such as TVP (textured vegetable protein), for example, are important meat substitutes that essentially duplicate the protein content of meats. Soybeans have been used in China for 5,000 years to primarily add nitrogen into the soil as part of crop rotation.
Dried beans are boiled, baked, sauteed, toasted, sprouted, and used in soups, stews, and casseroles. Soy flour is good for making pasta. Young leaves are used as a potherb.
Traditional nonfermented food uses of soybeans include soymilk, and from the latter Tofu and tofu skin or yuba. Fermented foods include shoyu or soy sauce, miso, natto, tempeh, Ketjap among others.
In Japan Edamame are harvested when the pods are green then steamed in the pod, sprinkled with soy sauce and served as a snack or appetizer (remove pods before eating). They can also be allowed to mature and harvested as dry beans.
W/Matures 11/Harvest 1-2/Yield 4-14/Spacing 6"