The little soybean is a nutritional powerhouse that has been a staple
of the Asian diet for over 5,000 years. The yellow soybean is the most familiar,
but the black soybean's wonderful flavor and tender texture are making it
Storing dried soybeans
Soybeans are usually sold in bulk or in small packages at natural food
stores and some supermarkets. These can be stored in an air-tight container
for long periods of time. Cooked soybeans, both yellow and black, are now
available in cans in natural foods stores.
As with any dried beans, you must sort through the soybeans before cooking
and discard any broken beans or small stones that you find, then rinse the
beans well. Dried soybeans can be cooked in either of the following ways:
- Traditional. Soak soybeans in 4 cups of water for each cup of
beans for 8 hours or overnight. If the weather's warm or you soak the beans
longer, refrigerate them. Drain and rinse the beans, then add 4 cups of
fresh water for each cup of beans you started with. Bring to a boil, reduce
heat and skim off excess foam. Simmer about 3 hours, adding more water
as needed, until the beans are tender. They will remain somewhat firm.
Black soybeans cook in only about 1-1/2 hours.
- Quick soak. Put the beans into a pot with 4 cups water for each
cup of beans and then bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, then remove
from the heat. Cover the pot and let it sit 1 hour. Drain and rinse the
beans, then cook as in the traditional method.
Dried Soybean Tips
Do not add salt or acidic ingredients (such as tomatoes, lemon juice
or vinegar) to yellow soybeans until they are thoroughly cooked or the
beans will not soften properly. However, you may add these when cooking
black soybeans to help them retain their shape.
You may cook soybeans without presoaking them, but the cooking time
will be longer and some beans may break.
The water used for cooking soybeans makes a tasty base for soups, sauces
and gravies. The liquid from black soybeans is especially flavorful.
Prepare a big batch of soybeans and freeze them in small containers
or zippered bags to be used as needed.
Add cooked soybeans to soups, stews, chilies or casseroles.
Substitute canned and home-cooked beans for each other in recipes (a
15-oz can contains about 1-1/2 cups beans).
Try using black soybeans in recipes calling for regular soybeans or
other dried beans.