Soybeans have big impact in our lives

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 03/18/97.

Soybeans are quickly increasing their value as a cash crop for United States farmers. With issues such as health, fitness, and environmental conservation becoming more important to people, the many uses for soybeans are expanding.

According to Bill Debruyckere of the Cenex Fertilizer Plant in Paynesville, put together, their customers from parts of Meeker, Kandiyohi, and Stearns counties have approximately 30,000 acres planted in soybeans, which at this time go for around eight dollars a bushel.

In years past, soybeans have been used in many different foods and cooking oils, as well as a source of nutrition in animal and livestock feed. Now, however, with expanding cultures and concerns, soybeans have found new places in products such as milk, ink, and even lubricants, solvents, adhesives, and soap; soybean farmers are experiencing a new demand for their soybean crop.

According to the Mid-February issue of Successful Farming, acres planted in soybeans that are devoted to specialty production in the United States is now approximately half that of corn. The clear or white hilum soybean which is used in making tofu and soybean curd, runs between 600,000-970,000 acres, according to an estimate by the Japanese imports. The U.S. represents about three-fourths of that market.

Premiums for organic or pesticide free soybeans for Japanese tofu production have run as high as $20 per bushel.

Other Asian nations make tofu, but because Japan's population is growing one to two percent per year, the demand for tofu beans is also growing.

Soybean growers should consider the cost, however, since getting into organically grown beans takes at least three years in crop rotation and must be approved by a private certification organization. A reference for those considering grain contracting is the Grain Production Contract Checklist.

Reduced Fat Soybeans
Soybean oil normally has 16 percent saturated fat, or palmitic acid. Two new varieties, N94-2575 and C1945 both have a saturated fat content of seven percent, and the omega-three and omega-six fatty acids which lower cholesterol are the same as regular soybeans. Since dietary guidelines recommend daily saturated fat intake no more than eight to 10 percent of calories, these new varieties will help the more health conscious.

In the area of lubricants, Archer Petroleum Products has come up with a soybean based lubricant for irrigation wells, as well as a parts washing solvent and an agent that will remove graffiti. Strategic Marketing Development has also developed two different lubrication products. SMD Soy Primer will help propel water through fire hoses, and SMD Virgin Soy Drip Oil will lubricate water well sub pumps. With soy based products replacing petroleum based ones, it will greatly reduce the United States dependence on foreign oil.

Soy Recipes
1-1/2 cups dry soybeans
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. basil, crushed
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper
3/4 cup chopped green onion
2/3 cup chopped dill pickle
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
parsley for garnish

In a large bowl, cover the beans with water. Let stand two hours. Drain. Place beans in large kettle and add eight cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 1-1/2 hours or until soybeans are tender, drain. Combine honey, vinegar, salt, basil, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pour over soybeans. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley). Chill at least four hours before serving, stirring occasionally. Garnish with parsley before serving. Calories per 1/2 cup serving: 66, fat: 2.3 grams.

8-8" whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped sweet green pepper
1-4 oz. can chopped green, mild chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. dried cilantro
12 oz. silken firm tofu, drained and mashed
2 cups diced tomato, drained
2 cups thick tomato salsa
1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9"x13" baking pan with no-stick vegetable spray.

In bowl, combine all ingredients except tortillas, tomato salsa and cheese. Place 1/2 cup of mixture in center of each tortilla and roll. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Pour salsa over enchiladas. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Serves eight. Calories: 199, fat: 6.8 grams.

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