Soybean : Soybeans (or soybeans or Chinese peas or bean oleaginous) is a species of plants annual herbaceous et legume (family of Fabaceae - Botanical name: Glycine max (L.) Merr.), probably native to Manchuria, a vast region in northeastern China, and eastern Russia on the Pacific Ocean. Soy is a plants similar to bean, the seeds of which are edible and the tops used as fodder. The Chinese call it dado (large bean) and the Japanese daizu.
There are many varieties, differing in particular by the habit, plants climbing ou crawling, seed color, flowering time closer to original types, to more commonly grown dwarf forms. The erect stems are 30 to 130 cm long and the leaves are trifoliate. The fruits are pods hairy, 3-8 cm long, straight or arched in shape, usually 2-4 seeds. It is not considered a dry vegetable, but as a oleaginous by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Soy has been an important economic resource for at least 5000 years. Widely cultivated for its seeds which are naturally rich in protein and oil; it is used in human and animal food. Traditional food uses of unfermented soy include soymilk and tofu. Fermented foods include, but are not limited to, soya sauce, natto and Tempeh. THE'Soya oil is used in many industrial applications. The main soybean producers are the United States of America (35%), Brazil (27%), Argentina (19%), China (6%) and India (4%).
Description of soy : Soy is a plants annual herbaceous existing in the cultivated state, derived from wild soybeans. There are many varieties, differing in particular by the habit, from climbing or creeping plants, closer to the original types, to the more commonly cultivated dwarf forms. Other differences are in seed color and flowering time.
The plant is entirely (leaves, stems, pods) covered with fine gray or brown hairs. The erect stems are 30-130 cm long.
The leaves are trifoliate (rarely bearing five leaflets) and recall the general shape of bean leaves. The leaflets are 6 to 15 cm long and 2 to 7 cm wide. As in the bean, the first two leaves are entire and opposite. The leaves fall before the pods have matured.
The flowers, white or purple, small, almost unnoticed, appear in the axils of the leaves, grouped in clusters of three to five. They are hermaphroditic and autogamous, but cross-pollination is perfectly possible.
The fruits are hairy pods, 3 to 8 cm long, straight or arched in shape, and usually contain 2 to 4 seeds (rarely more).
The seeds, spherical or elliptical in shape, have a diameter of 5 to 11 mm and are edible. Their color varies from yellow to black through green.
Soybean production : Soybean cultivation, like that of most oilseed crops, continued to develop worldwide between 1990 and 2010. Production reached 211 million tonnes in 2008/200910, on an area of around 90 million hectares. Approximately 77% of soybeans grown are genetically modified, or 69,3 million hectares of GM soybeans, compared to 20,7 million hectares of non-GM soybeans in 2009. The cultivation of GM soybeans, widely adopted in the United States and in Argentina, is now developing in Brazil. Transgenic varieties are most often resistant to herbicides, in particular glyphosate.
93% of transgenic soybeans sold in the United States contain genetic traits from Monsanto. Many seed companies sell their own varieties of soybeans with GMO traits from Monsanto.
Europeans are the main customers for non-transgenic soybeans, which cost about 10% more. In recent years, production has increased significantly in Argentina (to the detriment of extensive cattle breeding) and Brazil. The latter country indicates that it could still free up significant agricultural land if market conditions so require.
In the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are the main crushers of soybeans. Italy is a significant seed producer with 552 tons. In 500, France produced 2010 tonnes of soybeans, compared to the 139 million tonnes it imported, mainly from Brazil (including around 959 tonnes of seeds intended for crushing, and around 4,5 million tonnes of oilcake intended for animal feed).
Geographical distribution of soybeans : Soybeans originate from the hot regions of Southeast Asia, but the United States is the world's leading producer with 38% of world production, ie 80.5 million tonnes in 2008, of which 34 million tonnes were exported. Zones with a humid subtropical climate lend themselves particularly well to its cultivation, but the culture extends to zones with a continental climate with relatively hot and humid summers, as far as Quebec for example.
Brazil and Argentina are the largest exporters of soybeans after the United States. India and China are also major producers of soybeans. However, China, a major consumer, must import American and Brazilian soybeans to meet its needs.
Uses of soy : Soybeans, a staple food in the countries of the Far East, were known in China long before our era. It was introduced in the XNUMXth century in Japan, where it was nicknamed " vegetable meat ».
European travelers discovered it in the XNUMXth century and made known some of its preparations: porridges, cakes and soups. A century later, the first seeds arrived at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
Most of the production is intended for feeding farm animals, in the form of flour and cakes.
Direct use: In 2015, of the 261 million tons of soybeans produced worldwide, 16 million tons were consumed "directly" (without crushing but with soaking, cooking and/or fermentation, and grinding) by humans in the form of soy milk, "yogurt", tofu, etc.
Soybeans contain 18-21% oil and 36-40% protein. Most of the seeds are crushed and transformed into:
– oil: 42 million tonnes produced (by crushing and refining), of which 9% is used as agro-fuel.
– soybean meal, rich in protein: 180 million tonnes to feed livestock (beef, pork, poultry and farmed fish).
Human food : Soy contains a large amount of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins A and B, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
Soy in human food is used, especially in China and Japan, in several forms. Its dietary interest is to be a non-meat protein source.
Unfermented Soy Foods :
– Soybeans sold in their pods, fresh, canned or frozen; contain up to 20% directly assimilable proteins. They are getting ready for porridge. In China, they accompany both beef and seafood.
– Dry beans, yellow, green, black or bicolor, provide 422 Kcal or 1764 kJ per 100 g and are twice as rich in protein (37%) as beef. Soaked and boiled, they are eaten in soups or salads. In Japan, black beans, long-cooked with cloves and sugar, are flavored with soy sauce and served with a rice garnish.
– Soy flour (3,5 times richer in protein than wheat flour but low in carbohydrates) is used in cakes, breads and to thicken sauces; in Japan, it is used to garnish sticky rice pies. It is often mixed with other flours.
– Soybean oil is a good quality edible oil with a slightly too high omega-6/omega 3 ratio (6.7) – the ideal proportion being 5, according to ANSES.
It is the second most consumed edible oil in the world, after palm oil. Since unsaturated fatty acids are relatively temperature-sensitive, and generators of carcinogenic polycyclic chains at cooking temperature (benzopyrenes), this oil should not be used in frying. Its average composition is as follows: saturated fatty acids: 16%, monounsaturated fatty acids (omega-9): 24%, linoleic acid (omega-6): 53%, α-linolenic acid (omega-3): 7 %
It is little used in cooking because it is very fragile when cooked. It is only used for seasonings.
– Tonyu (or tonju) or soy milk is a non-dairy drink obtained by extracting soluble nutrients from soy flour with water. Tonyu is high in protein, low in fat and calcium, and cholesterol-free. It is used to make soy “yogurts”.
– Yellow bean sprouts (see “Bean sprouts” below).
Note: Soybeans Glycine max contain toxic compounds (presence of antitrypsin), they are indigestible raw and are eaten cooked or fermented.
– “Bean sprouts” sold in Europe are young bean sprouts 3 to 5 days old. You should not confuse the true soy with the fakes bean sprouts " or beans mung mung (Vigna radiata, eg. Phaseolus, also known as “green soy”). These can be eaten raw, the enzymes they contain facilitating their digestion. They have nothing in common with soy (Glycine max or “yellow soybeans”), larger, recognizable by their bright yellow seed; however, "bean sprouts" (yellow), are also consumed, after cooking, in Asia and can be found in Europe at the few manufacturers of fresh tofu or in stores run by Chinese migrating from mainland China or from Taiwan, less frequently among those run by Chinese migrants from Indochina who do not sell the same products. They are found there in the form of sautéed, braised, in soup or in dishes such as kongnamul (Korean cuisine).
– Edamame (枝豆) are immature, still green, boiled or steamed soybean pods served with salt as an appetizer.
On the other hand, in the food industry, soy-based food ingredients are used in many common products, such as:
– Soy lecithin, a food additive (E322) with the role of emulsifier, widely used in chocolate.
– Soy flour, de-oiled or not.
– Textured soy proteins, which can partially or totally replace meat.
– Soy concentrates and isolates, products richer in protein than flour (up to 90%), used in particular in meal replacements and infant foods.
fermented soy foods : Japanese cuisine also makes extensive use of several products made from soybeans.
- The tofu (or sufu) or soy cheese with many uses: It is obtained by inoculating soy milk with molds (of the genus Actinomucor, Rhizopus or Mucor), followed by salting with calcium or magnesium salts followed by more or less long maturing (variant: Smelly tofu).
This curd is pressed and shaped. It is available fresh or dehydrated. Tender and firm, it has no real flavor and must be enhanced. Diced, it is usually grilled or fried and mixed with various vegetable preparations. In vegetarian diets, it often replaces meat because of its high protein content.
- The miso is made from a soybean paste that has been fermented for varying periods of time and can be used in broths and soups, sauces and as a flavoring or garnish for fish, combined with vegetables.
– Soy sauce (shoyu in Japan, or jiang-yong in China) is a spicy sauce traditionally made by fermenting crushed cooked soybeans, to which various ingredients such as rice fermented, the koji, the whole being mixed with wheat flour. In China, soy sauce, clear, is saltier and more fragrant. After aging for several years, it becomes almost black, very concentrated and aged, with a sweeter taste than tamarius (See Tamari below).
– Natto (fermented black beans), used as a garnish for rice dishes and some festive dishes. It has a rather sticky and even very sticky consistency.
– Tamari is a fermented, wheat-free soy sauce with a stronger flavor than shoyu.
– Tempeh: Finally, tempeh (or tempe) called “soy meat” is made from fermented seeds and has a firmer consistency than tofu. It is a kind of compact mash added with flour and obtained by cooking the soybeans and crushing them.
It is used as meats in sauce, grilled steak, stir-fry or soup.
The properties of soy : All soy-based preparations are very rich in protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids (essential elements for the construction of body tissues). Without cholesterol. They are suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.
Rich in vitamin C, soy contains 35 to 40% vegetable proteins, 20% lipids, 35% carbohydrates, mineral salts and also vitamins B and E.
Medicinally, the lecithin that is extracted from its seed is a substance that helps fight against cholesterol and prevent the risk of arteriosclerosis. It could help protect women from breast cancer.
Soy is used to make infant formula and meal replacements for weight loss diets.
In addition, soybeans contain molecules with estrogenic properties, perhaps having a protective role against osteoporosis in postmenopausal Asian women.