Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bean Counter

Here it is - my great score for the winter. I was trudging around through the public hunting grounds surrounding a nearby lake when I stumbled onto a planted field full of soybeans.

I had decided to go out late that particular afternoon, hoping to catch small game bustling around before evening set in. It was a nice quiet time, with no other hunters out in the field. It was at least nice and quiet until I decided to see how far north a certain swampy area extended. I ended up in a plowed field, then headed west to its edge and then turned south into the edge of the swamp. I crashed along through the marshy thicket until I dumped out into a field with 8' high grasses. I had no idea where I was, and the sun was 30 minutes from setting.

The entire lake area is bisected by a road with a causeway over the lake. I kept the evening sun to my right and hustled quickly through, hoping to find the road before the sun descended. I found a few new bird hunting areas and a large field that had been planted with soybeans on my way to the road. I actually didn't know what they were at first. I had taken a few sample plants that afternoon to see if I could identify them (in the hopes that some were edible.) The bean pod had obviously been planted by the DNR. The plants had all been plowed over, save a few holdouts on the periphery of the field. Sitting in the car I decided to take a chance and taste one of the raw beans. It tasted a bit like a peanut, and a bit like a green bean. I wasn't quite sure what kind of bean they were at the time but knowing that deer corn was planted in the area I figured it was a cycle crop to improve the soil.

I got back out of the car to pick a few handfuls of the plants. I spent the last 15 minutes before sunset pulling up plants from the field and stuffing them into a backpack I had with me. A quick internet search showed me that the plants I had found were soybeans. After 15 minutes of picking and 5-1/2 hours of shelling I was left with a pound and a half of soybeans.

In my 2 successive hunting trips since then I've gathered what I could again from the field - I have found another field planted with soy near the first one. I now have 2 lbs of shelled beans and 2-1/2 lbs of beans still in their shells.

I've also cooked some of them up - I cooked some plain beans (boiled in water) and also ground some up in a pepper mill to see what they would taste like. I cooked 1/4 cup of the milled soybeans in 1/2 cup water, bringing it to a boil and then letting it simmer covered for 5 minutes. The final result tasted just like grits, so I added a pinch of sugar and some butter before I devoured them.


  1. Just a safty tip. Soy beans contain an Anti-nutritive Trypsin Inhibitor that must be destroyed with wet cooking methods (Primaraly Boilling for at least an hour).

    Certinly poping a couple raw beans won't do much. But if you try and use them as a protin source without distroying the anti-Trypsin you won't acctualy digest mutch of the protin.

    Fermenting into miso and such also destroys the anti-trypsin.

    So remeber to boil em good first, or you won't get all the nutrition you think you are getting.

  2. Mike do you want to join us? You sure are an abundance of input into the process, why not join in?

    And what do you know about making bean curd?

  3. Oh, and Todd has some recipes for tofu, miso, and soy sauce if you'd like them, Mark. He just mentioned that a couple days ago.

  4. yes making Curd to make Tofu isn't that difficult. Making Misu and Soy sauce is not too difficult either. They actually share the same process then they are separated. Kind of like curds and Whey. You do need salt and some kind of grain flour though. You mix up the powdered soy beans with a grain flour and make a cylinder then slice the cylinder into a bunch of patties/cakes. then you let the cakes sit our for a few days. They will grow mold and that is what you want. After a few days, I think, you put the moldy cakes in salt water in the sun. The sunlight with the salt cook the moldy cakes. After a few days of that you can separate the brown liquid from the solids. The solids are the Miso and the liquid will be your soy sauce. It may not be as clear or dark as conventional soy sauce but that's the process.

    And yes, Michael... Please join us. You have valuable input and maybe you could start a group by you if you're not in our area. My wife mentioned this to her international contacts and there are people all around the world that are planning to be involved. So far we have Cleveland, OH and NY, NY and unspecified international locations.

  5. As a follow-up to your post Mike, I did some research re: trypsin inhibitors in soybeans. According to an article written by E.C Baker & G.C. Mustakas in the May 1973 issue of "Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society", inactivation of the trypsin inhibitors in soybeans occurs at 1 hour/165 deg F or 15 mins 212 deg F. They also reference an earlier study from 1966 which determined that only 5 minutes of boiling is necessary when the soybeans have been soaked overnight. Props to my favorite sister-in-law in the KSU library for tracking this article down for me!