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Nutritionists often call soybeans a natural superfood, and no wonder -- a single one cup serving of soybeans contains 29 g of complete protein, 10 g of fiber and significant amounts of essential vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, calcium, riboflavin and magnesium. Although you can purchase soy protein in a dizzying array of forms, from soy milk to soy cheese, cooking dried soybeans in a slow cooker is the simplest and most inexpensive way to make soy a regular part of your diet.
Place the soybeans in the colander or strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Remove any damaged or discolored beans, debris and small stones. Put the soybeans in the slow cooker and fill with enough water to cover the beans by at least 2 inches. Cover the slow cooker and allow the beans to soak for 6 to 12 hours.
Drain the soybeans, wipe out the slow cooker and turn it to its highest setting. Return the beans to the slow cooker and cover with 4 cups of cold water. Add 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of vegetable oil, put the cover in place and cook on the high setting for 6 to 8 hours.
Check the tenderness of the soybeans by using a spoon to gently press several against the side of the slow cooker. When the soybeans are sufficiently cooked, drain them, reserving some of the cooking water. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container along with some of the reserved water or use immediately in soups, stews or bean main dishes.
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- "Now Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook"; Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann; 2005
- "How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food"; Mark Bittman; 1998
- If you're pressed for time, you can skip the initial step of soaking the soybeans. The soybeans will take an hour or so longer to cook and you'll need to add 1 to 2 cups more water to make sure the beans stay covered during the entire cooking time.
- Soybeans can be slow cooked with a variety of seasonings, sauces and vegetables. For a slow-cooked soybeans that resemble traditional baked beans, add half of a sliced onion, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder and 2 tbsp. of toasted sesame oil, after placing the soybeans and water in the slow cooker. Cook as described above.
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.
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