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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Incredible Edible and Industrial Soybean

Soybean harvest is just beginning here in Southern Kansas.  It is an interesting crop that most people do not realize how much they use on a daily basis.  I have been amazed at all the places you will find products made from soybeans.

I really think that soybeans should be called the Incredible Edible and Industrial Bean.  I have totally been amazed at the number of places that soybeans can be found in the grocery store, on the road just everywhere.

As I have said before in This Little Grain Went to Market, we are on half way between a “local” processing plant and a port that the soybeans can be loaded onto a barge and sent to the Gulf of Mexico and exported.  Soybeans that go to the local processor are crushed and the oil is separated from the meal.  Soybeans are 18-20% oil.  98% of the soybean meal in the United States goes to feed livestock.  Soybean meal is a major component in pig, poultry and beef feeds.

The oil is found EVERYWHERE! 

If you have ever bought a bottle of oil in the grocery store labeled “vegetable oil”, chances are pretty high that it was soybean oil.   I think it would be far easier to have a wheat allergy or even nut allergy when picking foods than soybeans.  I can’t remember where I learned this, but I have heard that nearly 75% of grocery store items have soy in them.  Not just oil, but many stabilizers and preservatives are soy based as well.

Newspapers often use Soy Ink to print their newspapers.

What does the Statue of Liberty have to do with Soybeans?  The hydraulic oil that runs the elevators is made from soybeans.

A piece of the insulation that was cut out of a wall.

When The Farmer and I selected insulation for our house, we wanted spray foam insulation.  We found a supplier that used insulation that was soybean based.

The insulation was sprayed on the house using a spray gun.  It went on and expanded to be really thick.  It was a lot like the cans of spray foam you can buy in the stores.

The Farmer wanted the outside of our house to be stained wood siding to look like an old barn.  When I started looking for stain, I chose stain that was soybean oil based.  I really came to like this stain compared to other stains I have used.  It did not have a toxic smell to it.  When we got it on our hands and arms it washed off with soap and water.  It stayed on the wood (and our clothes) really well.  Since we did most of the outside work on our house, it took a quite a while.  Before we applied the sealer to the outside of the house it rained.  The soybean oil based stain helped shed water off the house wonderfully.  If you are interested, the name of the stain is TimberSoy and no they didn't pay me to say that.

When The Farmer does maintenance on the farm equipment, he has to grease the bearings.  Did you know he can choose a soy based grease for this instead of petroleum based.

Thanks to my friend Kelly Bradford for the picture from a recent game.
I am not a huge fan of the Kansas State Football program (I prefer Oklahoma State University), but KSU does have a really neat artificial turf that used soybeans in the processing.

My favorite thing to hand out to school kids is soybean based crayons.  These are made by Prang.  They really have brighter colors and don’t leave the white streaks when you really color hard and pretty.

Soy oil can also be used to make CD’s, plastics, biodiesel and hundreds of other products.

Now you can see why I think soybeans should be called the Incredible Edible and Industrial Bean.  What is your favorite use for soybeans?

-A Kansas Farm Mom

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