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Vegetarian Essays/Vegan Essays

Vegetarians in Paradise regularly presents informative articles by guest contributors on subjects of interest to vegetarians and vegans. This month we feature Bill Rumbley who offers suggestions on making soymilk at home. Rumbley lives in a suburban city near Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two children and holds degrees in computer science as well as an MBA from SMU in Dallas, Texas. He has worked in software and marketing in high-tech companies.

Eating healthy food is his family's tradition. His whole family has been drinking fresh soy milk for years.

Making Soymilk at Home

By Bill Rumbley

Soymilk, a nutritious drink, is a good source of complete protein, complex carbohydrates, and health-promoting isoflavones. The FDA recommends consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. A cup of soymilk contains about 6 or 7 grams of protein. It's a valuable part of many diets.

How do homemade and packaged soymilk compare? With homemade soymilk you have absolute control over what's in it, adding only the flavorings or supplements you choose. Okara, the high-fiber grounds, can be used in many recipes to boost fiber and protein content. You will save a lot of money making it at home since it costs about one-tenth of what grocery stores charge.

Packaged soymilk usually has added sugar, salt, starch, and may have vanilla extract or cocoa processed with alkali. It is fortified to be roughly equivalent to dairy milk by adding calcium carbonate, vitamins A and D, and sometimes other vitamins and minerals. When you choose homemade soymilk, be aware of the differences so you can balance your meal planning.

Bill Rumbley Have you made soymilk at home? I have. No, not really. My wife has made it many times. A few years ago, our family traveled to Taipei, Taiwan. Every day, the morning markets and street vendors were selling hot, fresh soymilk. We tried it and loved it. It tasted so rich and fresh. No additives. Just pure water, soybeans, and sugar (you can tell them to skip the sugar). We could not forget the taste.

So, my wife found out how to make it at home. It involves grinding the beans in a blender, cooking with water, filtering and squeezing the soymilk through a special sack, and boiling it again, and again, and again. The manual process takes the better part of an hour - and you have to watch that pot boil or you'll have soymilk foam all over your stove. It can be very messy.

Now, there is technology available to simplify things. An automatic soymilk maker with a microprocessor that controls and monitors the whole messy process makes a batch of soymilk in just 15 to 20 minutes. All you need to do is add water and soybeans and start the machine. You can pre-soak the soybeans for 6 hours or so to reduce phytates, which improves the flavor and digestibility of the soymilk.

If you're in a hurry, it lets you use "raw" soybeans. The machine does the rest. It heats the beans and water to 80 degrees C. (176 degrees F.) before grinding to eliminate the overly beany flavor commonly associated with homemade soymilk. Then the machine finely grinds the soybeans, producing soymilk. The process is finished after thoroughly boiling the soymilk. When you hear the beep, it is time to enjoy pure, rich, and fresh soymilk at home, flavored the way you like it. As a bonus, you also can use it to make rice and almond milks.

Once you have fresh, homemade soymilk, what do you do with the left over ground pulp? This soy fiber, also called okara, is a high-fiber, high-protein food. The easiest way to use it is as a flour substitute. Suppose you are ready to make pancakes. Instead of 1 cup (240 ml) of pancake mix, you would use 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the mix and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of okara. Or for a large loaf of bread, instead of 3 cups (720 ml) of flour, use up to 3/4 cup (180 ml) of okara and 2 1/4 cups ( 540 ml) of flour.

There are many recipes available for okara burgers too that you can find on vegetarian web sites. Usually, you start with a selection of minced veggies, like onion and carrots. Sauté these in stock or soy sauce. Then add the okara and some kind of flour. Some like to give them a crispy finish with a cornmeal coating.

To learn more about soymilk nutrition and recipes and making soymilk with the automatic soymilk maker, visit http://www.qtessencesoymilkmaker.com or call Bill Rumbley at 303-661-9393 or contact him by email at wrumbley@qtessencesoymilkmaker.com

Editors' Note: Vegetarians in Paradise does not endorse or recommend any products. This article is intended to provide information only.

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