SOY BEAN. Commercial and government circles both in Europe and this country are devoting increasing attention to the cultivation of the Soy Bean as a food product, as it contains a large percentage of pro tein and a fair amount of fat, thus resembling meat in general nutritive value. The cell-walls of the raw bean are very tough, but thorough cooking makes it readily digestible. Boiled with bacon and other fatty broths until soft and then seasoned, the re sult is a vegetable dish very plea sing to the average palate. If the beans are dry, a preliminary soaking to remove the skins is necessary.
The Soy Bean is largely consumed in Japan, China and other parts of Asia as an adjunct to rice and other foods, taking the place of meat in the popular dietary. It is most popular in those countries in fermented form, the best known types being Shoyu or Soy Sauce ; Tofu, a kind of cheese ; Miso, Soy Bean "Milk" ; Yuba, the evaporated product of "Miso," and Matto, a product obtained by simple fer mentation of the boiled beans. The various degrees and styles of fermentation serve the double purpose of rendering the beans more easily digestible and producing new flavors, just as by the fermentation of milk and cream we produce the different flavors of cheese.
The plant is an annual, growing chiefly in bush form to varying heights of from two to four feet, with branching hairy stems, marked by stiff reddish hairs, slightly hairy leaves, pale lilac or violet flowers and hairy pods containing from two to five beans, from round to oval in shape and more or less flattened. There are a number of different varieties under the principal classifications of Black, Yellow, White and Brown, according to the color of the beans. Types of all these four classes are grown to some extent in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and the first three also in this country, in North Carolina and other Southern States. Under favorable conditions a single plant may bear a hundred or more pods.
Because of the fact that the beans contain little if any starch, they have been recom mended as a desirable food for diabetics, and Soy Bean Bread and Soy Bean Meal are prepared for that purpose in Paris. The dried beans are also used. in Switzerland and elsewhere as a coffee substitute.