TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1: Growing Soybeans
FOREWORD: PLENTY was founded in 1974 by the Farm, a community of people dedicated to the development and promotion of ideas, technologies and businesses that enhance as well as safeguard the rights of individuals and communities to provide for their own food, water, shelter, medical services, and educational opportunities.
PLENTY is an independent, non-profit development agency whose staff and volunteers work around the world assisting disadvantaged people who have requested assistance for the purpose of achieving greater self-reliance and improved quality of life. Integrated soyfoods production training is one effective means of delivering such assistance.
Soybean production, processing , marketing and education specialists now working with PLENTY have provided technical support for integrated soybean programs in Guatemala, Lesotho, Liberia, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Jamaica, Mexico, Guyana, Belize and Sri Lanka.
It is important to plant your soybean seed in a season that will provide adequate water. It is equally important that soybeans be harvested in a dry season. Depending on the varieties used most soybeans will take from 85 to 125 days to reach full maturity.
There are many varieties of soybeans that can be planted. In most countries your agriculture extension services can suggest varieties that may grow well in the particular area you are planting. If you need help in selecting or acquiring soybean seed for your particular country and region, write to PLENTY and we will give specific advice.
It is always good to have your soil tested for its nutrient contents. The soil should be rich in organic matter. Loamy or sandy loam soils are best. The soil ph should be between 5.5 and 6.5 for best results. If the ph is below 5.5, lime should be spread on the field six to eight weeks before planting.
The area which you intend to plant should not hold water. Soybeans grow best on level or gently sloping ground. If you are planting on a slope be sure to dig drainage ditches across the field to help prevent erosion. The ground should be dug or plowed to a fine tilth.
If planting on a hillside, the rows of soybeans should be planted across the slope not up and down. This will help to prevent erosion of your soil. Seeds should be planted from 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) apart and from 1/4-1 inch (.6-2.5 cm) deep. If seeds are planted too deep they may rot or not be able to break through the ground. The rows should be made from eighteen to twenty-four inches (46-61 cm) apart.
It will take approximately 28 kg (61 lbs.) of soybean seed to plant 1 acre (.4 hectare) of land. The soybean seed you are planting should not be cracked, deformed or discolored. Only the healthy looking seed should be used for planting. When planting the seed, one teaspoon of soybean inoculant should be mixed with each 2 pounds (1kg) of seed. Inoculate only the amount of seed that will be used at the time of planting. Ask your local agriculture extension agent where the soybean inoculant can be purchased.
It will take from 3-6 days for all the soybean seed to germinate. After one week replant areas of your field that have not germinated. The soybeans should flower 4-5 weeks after planting. The flowering of soybeans is activated by the length of daylight hours. If planted too late in the season plants will not grow to full size. The pods should begin to develop two weeks after flowering. Depending on the variety used the pods will be fully developed from 75-95 days after planting. The soybean plants should be allowed to dry completely before harvesting.
It is important to keep your soybean field free of weeds during plant growth. Hoes, wheel cultivators, roto-tillers or tractor cultivators can be used for this purpose. Two weedings are usually sufficient. After the plants are fully grown they cover the ground and keep most weeds from growing. Keeping the field free of weeds helps the plants to dry faster after they have matured and makes the harvesting less time consuming. We also recommend that farmers keep an area around their fields free of high weeds.
We recommend using non chemical methods to combat insect or disease problems that may occur. Green stink bugs, Mexican and common bean beetles, and cabbage looper caterpillars are common pests that you may have problems with. Dipel, Micogen M-1 and Thuraside are organic compound pesticides that have been effective in deterring these insects. A concentrated spray extracted from the leaves of Neem trees can also be used to control insect problems. Good field sanitation practices will help prevent infestation from some of the insects mentioned You may also encounter bean pod mottle from wet conditions, or mosaic. Ask your local agricultural extension agent for assistance in fighting these diseases. Rotating the variety of soybeans being used in one area, can help prevent the occurrence of some diseases.
When soybeans are fully mature their leaves will turn yellow then brown and fall to the ground. After the pods turn brown and when the weather is dry, the beans should be harvested. If you are harvesting by hand a machete, cutlass, or a pair of pruning shears can be used to cut the plants just above ground level. It is recommended not to pull the plants out by the roots. The roots of soybean plants have nodules of nitrogen fixing bacteria, that may help establish a colony of this bacteria in your soil to aid future plantings.
If the weather is rainy you may have to put your harvested dry plants on racks under shelter, to keep them dry until all of the beans can be threshed from the pods and stems.
If you are threshing your soybeans by hand, this should be done in a way that does not damage the seed. The dried stems and pods can be placed in a sack, then lay the sack on the ground or a big rock and beat it with a stick. This will separate the seed from the pods. The left over trash can be cleaned from the beans by slowly pouring the beans into a large container or onto a ground cover in a windy area. The wind will blow most of the small trash away from the beans. There are also large machines and small hand tools that can help you separate the beans from the pods.
Soybeans should be dried to 8% moisture before being put in a container and sealed for storage. When soybeans are dry enough for storage they will break apart when you bite them. Store the dried beans in a cool dry place. Turning over the sacks of beans once a week will shift the weight and help prevent the growth of weevils. Spreading leaves from neem trees among the soybeans being stored will also help prevent infestation of weevils.
In countries with high temperature and humidity changes, soybeans that are going to be used for replanting three months or longer from the time of harvest need to be stored in a vacuum sealed container or in a temperature and humidity controlled room.
One of the main problems small farmers encounter is when sobean and other seeds lose their germination viability. In the paragraphs that follow we will explain how to make a low-cost tool that will help keep your planting seeds viable.
The Viability of plant seeds in enhanced by protecting them from excess heat and moisture. After stabilizing seed at their desired moisture content, they should be stored in a sealed container to prevent rehydration. This hand-operated vacuum-packing system is a means to seal containers, reduce the oxygen content in the container and prevent rehydration. This packing system is not a means to adjust the temperature or moisture content of the seeds.
The main components of this packing system are a bicycle pump, tire inner tube stem valve, large food can used as a vacuum chamber, and glass jars used as vacuum-sealing containers.
1. Remove the plunger rod from the bicycle tire pump. Remove the rubber or leather cup and metal support disk from the plunger rod. Reverse the order in which the cup and metal support disk are placed on the plunger rod.
2. Cut the valve stem out of a bicycle tire inner tube. Remove the spring check valve. Drill out the bottom end of the stem valve to allow the tension spring to move freely. Reinsert the spring check valve. Connect the stem valve to the bicycle pump to permit air flow from vacuum chamber to the bicyble pump. (Some inner tube valves do not have to be drilled out and can be threaded directly on to the lid of the vacuum chamber).
3. Make a lid to cover the food can. Sheet metal or plywood can be used. Attach a rubber gasket to the lid. You can use a piece of rubber from an old tire inner tube for this gasket. Drill two holes through the lid and rubber gasket. Attach a vacuum release valve (rubber stopper) and an exit port (hose barb or inner tube valve) on the can lid.
4. Cover the jar containing dry seeds with a resealable jar lid (a lid with a plastic or rubber gasket). Twist on the jar lid, but not so tight that air can't escape. Place jar inside food can.
5. Connect the modified bicycle pump and check valve to the can lid. Cover the food can with the can lid. Evacuate the air from the food can using the modified pump.
6. After evacuating the food can, quickly remove the rubber stopper to allow air to fill the chamber rapidly. The rapid refilling air will slam the jar lid down and seal the jar. Secure the seal by twisting the jar lid tight.
For more detailed information and pictures on making, and using this low-tech vacuum sealer please go here.
COST OF GROWING AND RETURNS FROM SOYBEANS The following list will help you evaluate the cost of growing soybeans in your area. Add the values of all these inputs and subtract from the total value of soybeans harvested.
distribution, sales labor
PART 2: HOME PREPERATION OF SOYBEANS
Soybeans contain complete high quality protein and have no cholesterol. It is very important to clean all sticks, stones, parts of the plant and broken or discolored beans from the soybeans you will be preparing to eat. The clean soybeans should then be rinsed a couple of times in water to remove any dirt that may be on them.
Soybeans can be pressure-cooked for one hour at 15 pounds pressure. Soybeans cooked this way should be very soft and easy to digest. Oil should be added to the water before pressure-cooking to help prevent the bean skins from clogging the release valve. Salt will help flavor the soybeans. This method is used in North America.
Soybeans can also be soaked in water for eight hours, boiled for 30 minutes then the cooked beans are stir-fried with onions, garlic, chili peppers and other seasonings. This recipe is used in Sri Lanka.
Fresh or toasted soy flour can be used to replace approximately 1/8 of your regular flour when making breads, cakes, dumplings, cereals or pies. Adding soy flour helps to increase the nutritional value of the foods you are feeding your family.
To make fresh soy flour with most home size grinding stones or hand mills, you will have to run the beans through the equipment more than one time. Fresh soy flour will turn rancid after a few days if not refrigerated.
You can make toasted flour by placing the beans in a heated skillet and stirring them until they turn golden and smell nice. These toasted beans can then be ground into flour. Toasted soybeans will be the raw soybeans. Toasted soy flour can be sealed in a container and stored in a dry place for a month or more.
Soy coffee is used by many people as a coffee substitute. Hot or iced with sweetener, it makes a tasty treat. To make soy coffee toast the beans until they are almost black. Grind these beans, and use as you would coffee.
Soy nuts are very nutritious and make a delicious snack food for children and adults. To make soy nuts boil the beans for thirty minutes, drain the water and air dry them on a tray. Heat a pot of oil until it is very hot. The beans should fry as soon as they are placed in the oil. For every three cups of oil you can add one cup of soybeans. Fry until golden brown. These same boiled soybeans can also be roasted in an oven on oiled cookie sheets or bread pans.
1 pound or 2 and 1/2 cups (600 ml)of soybeans.
1/4 cup (60 ml) of vinegar, 1/4 cup of lime juice or 1/2 cup (120 ml) of sea water
2 gallons or 8 liters of fresh water.
One clean large cloth
Stone grinder, a deep mortar and pestle, hand grinding mill, or an electric blender.
A small container to soak the beans
A heavy 2 gallon (8 liter) cooking pot
One other large pot
A large spoon
A large cup
A strainer or colander with lid that fits inside
One 3 ft. sq. ft. (1sq. meter) piece of cotton, or nylon material
A clean stone or pail of water to be used for a weight
The soybeans should first be placed in cool water to soak for eight hours. Before you start to process the beans wash your hands and clean all of the kitchen tools you will be using with soap and water. Then pour boiling water over the tools to help kill any bacteria that may be on them. Cover the clean kitchen tools with a cloth to keep bugs and dust off of them.
Boil 2 gallons (approx. 8 liters) of water in a large pot. Half of this water will be used for blanching the beans. While the water is boiling rinse the beans with clean water. Place the beans in a small pot and pour enough boiling water over the beans to cover them. Let this stand for three minutes. This will help improve the flavor of the milk.
Drain the hot water then grind the beans to a fine paste and put the bean paste into the remaining gallon (approx. 4 liters) boiling water. If using a blender add some of the water to the beans when blending. Next bring the milk slurry (ground soybeans mixed with water) to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
It is very important to stir the milk frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pot or foaming over the pot. Pour a small amount of cold water in the pot while stirring if the soy slurry tends to boil over.
While the soy slurry is cooking put the straining cloth over a colander placed on a second pot. With a cup or ladle pour the slurry through the cloth and into the pot a little at a time. When finished take the cloth by its ends and twist to help squeeze out the remaining milk. You can also hold the cloth with the soybean residue (okara) then press it against the side of the colander with a large spoon to get more of the milk out. You now have soymilk and okara.
A cup (250ml) of soy milk will have 7-8 grams of protein. The milk can be used the same as you would cows or goats milk. Refrigerate the soy milk if you intend to keep it over- night. Adding a little sweetener and flavoring to the milk will improve its taste.
The okara is high in fiber and contains 4% protein by weight. Okara can be seasoned and stir fried with vegetables, mixed with flour and corn meal, seasoned and cooked like a burger, or added to breads, cakes, cookies and other baked goods.
Adding a curding agent (vinegar, lime juice, calcium sulfate, or sea water) directly to the slurry will make curds which will then be pressed to make okara.
When making tokara boil the slurry for 30 minutes. To the suggested amount of curding agent add 1 or two cups of hot water. Stir the soy slurry in a circle and while doing this pour in the curding agent. Stop stirring as soon as you have finished pouring in the curding agent. Place a lid on the pot to keep mixture hot. This curding process must be done as soon as the slurry is taken from the heat. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Now check to see if the liquid has become clear and separated from the curds. If not, very gently stir again then let the mixture set for 3-5 more minutes.
Line a colander with the cotton or nylon cloth. Pour the curded slurry into the cloth-lined colander. Fold the cloth over the curds so it completely covers them. Set a plate that will fit inside the colander, on top of the curds. Place a clean rock or a container of water on top of the plate to press out the liquid whey. You now have okara.
Okara can be stir fried with vegetables and seasonings, mixed with flour and seasonings then baked or fried, made into patties and fried like a burger, stewed with tomatoes or other sauces, or used to replace ground meats in a variety of dishes.
Adding the curding agent to the strained milk will make curds that can be pressed into tofu. For best results the milk should be kept steaming hot.
Stir the hot milk. Now add the curding agent that has been diluted with hot water. Stop stirring and place a lid on the pot and let it set for five minutes. Now remove the lid. When the curding process is complete large white curds will have separated from a golden clear liquid. If the liquid is still milky, gently poke the mixture with a spoon or paddle to help spread the curding agent without breaking the curds. Let the mixture set for five more minutes.
Line the strainer with cloth and place over a pot, bucket or sink. Gently pour or or ladle the curds and whey from the pot into the stainer. Be careful not to break up the curds too much. Fold the cloth over the curds then put a plate and a clean rock or container of water on top. It will take from 15-30 minutes for the curds to form into tofu.
When the tofu is firm to the touch, unfold the cloth, lay the block of tofu on a plate and cut into 2-4 pieces. Place the pieces of tofu in clean cold water.
Change the water two or three times to help rinse the tofu. If you are going to keep the tofu to use later, put the tofu pieces in a container and cover with water. The water should be changed daily to help keep the tofu fresh.
Tofu can be fried with vegetables and seasonings, stewed with tomato or other sauces, seasoned like fish then fried or baked and made into a sandwich, blended to make dressings or spreads, or used to replace meats or fish in many other recipes.
Soybean fresh foods are high in protein and therefore will spoil easily when exposed to warm air. In many areas of the world people do not have refrigeration in their homes. If you do not have a refrigerator the following advise will be useful:
Soy milk can be kept in a bottle and placed in a pan of cool water for up to one day, if the water is changed often and the weather is not extremely hot. Tofu should be covered with water in a bowl, changing the water a couple times each day. Tofu will last up to three days when stored in this manner, if the weather is not extremely hot. The okara should be used with other ingredients and cooked or baked the same day its made.
Nutritional content of 100g. soy milk, cow's milk and human breast milk (with equal concentrations of water).
Ref. - Chen S. Soy milk: a drink from the great earth. American Soybean Association. 1983.
Because soy protein is so concentrated, soy products should be introduced gradually to a baby or young child who is undernourished. If too much protein is fed to the malnourished child, it may cause diarrhea. A child in this condition should eat a small amount of tofu and diluted soy milk each day, until their body becomes used to receiving protein again.
PO BOX 394
SUMMERTOWN, TN 38483
Phone/fax: (931) 964-4864
Page put up by Noah Goodman