The Historical Importance of Soybeans
History of Soybeans
Soybean, (Glycine max), is also called soja bean or soya bean. It is the annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae) and its edible seed.
Many Botanists believe it originated in central China as early as 7000 BCE. A colonist planted Soybean seeds from China in the British Colony of Georgia in 1765. In 1770, Benjamin Franklin sent some Soybean seeds to a friend to plant in his garden.
A crew member rescued from a Japanese fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean in 1850 gifted Soybean seeds which were distributed to farmers in Illinois and the corn belt states in 1851.
The soybean is an erect branching plant. It can reach more than 2 meters/6.5 feet in height. Soybeans have self-fertilizing flowers which are white or a shade of purple. Their seeds can be yellow, green, brown, black, or bicolored. Most commercial varieties have brown or tan seeds. There are one to four seeds per pod.
Most of the soybean crops grown in the United States are genetically modified for resistance to Herbicide Glyphosate. Soybeans thrive in warm, fertile, well-drained, sandy loam but may be cultivated in most types of soil. The US grows most of the world's soybeans in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota.
After their leaves fall off and the seeds' moisture content drops 13 percent, the soybeans are mechanically cultivated.
George Washington Carver discovered in 1904 that soybeans are a valuable source of protein and oil. Also, he realized the benefits of soybeans in the preservation of quality soil.
Soybeans are a soil-enriching crop because they add Nitrogen to the soil by means of Nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Nutritional Value of Soybeans
In numerous parts of the world, soybeans are one of the richest and cheapest sources of protein and a staple in the diets of people and animals. A soybean seed contains 17 percent oil and 63 percent meal. 50 percent is protein.
Soybeans do not contain Starch, making them a good source of protein for Diabetics.
Foods and Drinks Made from Soybeans
- Soy Milk: whitish liquid suspension
- Tofu: a curd resembling Cottage Cheese
- Sprouted: used as a salad ingredient
- Roasted: snack food
- Edamame: young soybeans (steamed or boiled)
- Soy Sauce: salty brown liquid produced from crushed soybeans and wheat
- Tempeh: deep-fried fermented soybeans (Indonesian dish)
- Miso: thick paste-like substance made from fermented soybeans
- Fermented Bean Paste: fermented ground soybeans (Korean seasoning)
- Soybean meal: residue left after oil extraction; used in food and animal feeds
Uses of Soybeans
- Soybean oil can be processed into Margarine, Shortening, and Vegetarian Cheeses.
- Used industrially as an ingredient in Paints, Adhesives, Fertilizers, Sizing for Cloth, Linoleum backing, and Fire-extinguisher fluids.
- Serves as a high-protein meat substitute in baby foods and vegetarian foods.
- Increases the cooked yield of ground meats.
- Used in Biodiesel production. It is cleaner burning than petroleum-based diesel oil.
- Used in Biocomposites' production. Biocomposites are building materials made from recycled newspapers and soybeans.
- Soy-based wood adhesives are used in Particleboard, Laminated Plywood, and Finger-jointed lumber.
- Used in home and commercial carpet, and auto upholstery applications.
- Used to produce an environmentally friendly solvent for rapid removal of oil from creeks, streams, and shorelines.
- Used in ink which is non-toxic, renewable, environmentally friendly, and cleans up easily.
- Used in crayons and is non-toxic.
- Vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans.
- Used by candlemakers.
- Soy candles burn cleanly and slowly.
- Carbon neutral.
A Fun Fact
Henry Ford made a car with plastic bodywork made from soybeans. He unveiled it on August 13, 1941, at Dearborn Days, which was an annual community festival in Michigan.
Besides having a nutritional effect, Soybeans help create eco-friendly products and is a soil-enriching crop.
If you're looking for just the right soy candle, HL Fashions & Gifts has a selection of soy candles for you to choose from.