Black soybeans were originally grown in Asia. It is believed that they were first cultivated in Northern China during the Shang Dynasty (1700—1100 BC), and were designated as one of the five "sacred" grains of the time. In ancient China, the black soybean was commonly used as a medicinal food and herb rather than as a staple food. By the 16th century, soybeans were being grown throughout Asia. In Korea, Japan, and Indonesia, black soybeans were used as an integral part of many traditional ceremonies. After the discovery of fermentation methods, black soybean-based foods also became popular. The utilization of black soybean for food products is illustrated in Table 27.1.
TABLE 27.1 Black Soybean-based Food Products
Production in si, tau si Dried by-product of the mash black soybean China, Phillipines sauce fermented with Aspergillus oryzae Tempeh Traditional food from black or yellow soybean Indonesia fermented with Rhizopus oligosporus Tofu Protein gel-like product from soybean Asian countries
Soy sauce Sauces fermented with Aspergillus oryzae and Asian countries
Aspergillus soyae, used as condiment Natto Traditional Japanese soybean product Japan fermented with Bacillus subtilis Chungkookjang Steamed black soybeans fermented with Korea
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