If you have observed the alternative food market for things that can be eaten in certain diets, like vegan or lactose intolerance, then you will likely have read about soy milk.
This is a product that is made from soybeans and yet so many people are yet to taste these incredibly nutrient-rich legumes. While you may not need to replace anything in your diet with soybeans or their by-products, it’s always interesting to try new things.
Similarly, if you have recently made a change to your diet that includes eating soybeans and are left wondering what to expect, then you are in the right place. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the soybean and its most popular product, soy milk.
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What Does Soybean Taste Like?
Soybeans are a type of legume that is often used in Asian cuisine. They have a nutty, earthy flavor and are often used in soups or as a thickener. Soybeans can also be ground into a paste called tofu, which has a slightly sweet taste and is often used in savory dishes.
In some places, these beans are sold under the name of edamame.
Soybeans are small and green and are relatively easily distinguishable from other types of bean. You will often see them being used in Asian dishes and it is little wonder that they are so popular as they have many nutritional benefits including being one of the only beans that can lay claim to being a complete protein.
Some people would say that the taste of soybeans is very grassy and natural with an obvious sweetness. This is likely because the beans are picked while they are still young so they retain a lot of their natural sweetness once they are cooked. That being said, soybeans do have a very mild taste so if you don’t like things that are overpowering, these might be a good choice to add to your diet.
Furthermore, while soybeans are used to make many products such as tofu, the taste is not the same. There are suggestions that soybeans have a similar taste to the pea but with a much more nutty quality.
When soybeans are cooked, the texture remains pretty firm and has a nice bite to it. But it isn’t hard or unpleasant. There is a softness that one might compare to that of a boiled potato.
What Does Soy Milk Taste Like?
One of the most popular by-products of the soybean is soy milk. For people who do not want to eat animal products or who cannot drink regular cow’s milk, soy milk is a very common substitute. However, while a lot of people are dubious about tasting it, soy milk actually benefits from a very creamy and mild flavor.
Soy milk is made by soaking and grinding soybeans before boiling them and filtering the remaining liquid. Oftentimes, this liquid is very thin and so you will normally find that these products feature thickening agents.
How Long Does Soy Milk Last?
The great thing about soy milk is that it won’t go off quickly. When it is correctly sealed, you’ll often notice that the cartons have a very long shelf life. However, once you have purchased and opened your milk, you should typically drink it within seven days.
That being said, it is possible for the soy milk to go bad sooner, especially if it has not been correctly stored in the fridge. In this case, you would notice that the milk develops an unpleasant odor and the texture will change. At this point, it should be thrown out and never consumed.
Does Soy Milk Curdle In Tea And Coffee?
It is common for non-dairy milk products like soy milk to curdle when added into drinks like tea and coffee. This is down to the acid of the coffee mixing with the soy milk which acts as a coagulant. However, if you want to include it in your diet, there are ways that you can prevent the milk from curdling in your hot drinks.
If you add the milk directly into the hot drink while it is cold, you will likely find that curdling is a problem. However, by warming the soy milk and gradually adding it in rather than pouring it all at once, the issue of curdling should be reduced.
What Milk Tastes Closest To Cow’s Milk
Owing to the very creamy taste of soy milk, many would agree that this is the best substitute for cow’s milk for anyone who cannot or doesn’t want to drink it. It is incredibly similar to cow’s milk and also has a wide range of health benefits. Moreover, soy milk is known to contain far fewer calories than its dairy alternative.
Soybean Health Benefits
One of the main reasons that so many people are turning to plant-based products is that they are incredibly healthy. Soybeans are known to be one of the few legumes that can claim to be 100% full protein and this has a lot of nutritional appeal. But let’s take a look at the soybean health benefits in a little more detail.
- As women go through the menopause, there have been some links to decreased bone density. Good bone health is especially important as we reach our later years as the risk of accidents is increased. Eating soybeans or their by-products could stand to improve your bone health.
- In relation to women’s health, soybeans may be able to reduce or alleviate certain symptoms associated with the menopause thanks to certain phytoestrogens found in the plant.
- While there have been some concerns around soybeans increasing the risk of breast cancer as it increases breast tissue, there is a lot of evidence that eating soybeans could, in fact, reduce the risk of certain cancers. Prostate cancer in men was seen to be reduced when soybeans were included in the diet and there is now evidence to suggest that the proteins in soybeans may be responsible for reducing the risk of breast cancer.
- There is some suggestion that soybeans can lower cholesterol which is great news for those with diminished heart health. Furthermore, there have been studies that show that eating soybeans might decrease your chances of developing conditions such as heart disease.
- Where circulation is concerned, there is a scientific belief that having soybeans as part of a healthy diet could be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. This is related to the presence of arginine which has been proven to help with blood pressure.
- While studies are still ongoing, there has been research conducted into whether soybeans could help to lower blood sugar, particularly in women going through the menopause. The results have been promising.
Is It OK To Drink Soy Milk Every Day?
While soybeans and their by-products like soy milk are known to be very good for you, there is always going to be some truth in the saying too much of a good thing. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, it is perfectly viable to eat up to three portions of soy based products each day safely.
That in mind, there are people who should avoid eating soybeans including those who have an allergy. There has been suggestion that pregnant women or those who have had breast cancer should avoid soy products, but as long as they are consumed in moderation, it should not be an issue.
How Do I Eat Soy Beans?
Much like many other legumes, soybeans must not be consumed raw as they may be toxic. For this reason, you should always soak the beans in water overnight, prior to cooking. The water used for soaking should be discarded and fresh water used for cooking.
Attempting to cook mature soybeans likely won’t yield very good results as they typically become far too tough and many people would be unable to digest them. In any case, the skin is usually pretty tough.
When your soybeans are prepared, they can be eaten directly out of the pods as a snack. But we wouldn’t suggest eating the pods as these can be very fibrous and chewy. If you prefer, soybeans can also be eaten as part of a salad or they go very well alongside rice and noodle dishes.
In the quest to find a suitable replacement for dairy products, many people turn to soy milk. Made from the humble soybean, this is just one of the many by-products that come from this legume. One of the great things about soybeans is that they are a complete protein and they also have an amazing array of nutritional benefits and might help to boost your overall health.
Similarly to other legumes, soybeans can be dangerous if they are not properly prepared and this involves soaking the beans overnight. However, once prepared, they are versatile and can be used in a range of foods such as salads and rice but they may also be eaten alone.