We first sowed soybeans for green manure and then as bait for rabbits.
The theory behind the second usage was that rabbits preferred soybeans to other beans, so if there were enough soybeans to be had, they would leave the other beans alone.
The theory worked wonderfully. The rabbits had all the beans they liked best, and we had all we liked best; they were happy and so were we.
As it happened, I actually sowed more soybeans than I needed, for although the rabbits did their level best to finish them off completely, their appetites just weren’t quite up to it, and so a few plants matured and set fruit.
Then, for no particular reason, we can recall now, we thought we’d try the soybeans ourselves. And lo and behold, we really liked them.
A Cross Between Peanut and Pea Taste
The flavor, we decided, suggested a cross between the taste of peanuts and that of peas.
From then on, we have increased our plantings of soybeans each year so that besides those for the rabbits, there is always plenty for ourselves.
As might be deduced from the fact that they used to be grown as a green manure crop, soybeans are very easy to raise.
The seed should be sown after frost danger is passed in the spring; about mid-May is right for southern Michigan, and the profile also suits southern New England or New York.
An average of eight seeds to the foot of a row, covered with an inch or less of soil, will produce a good crop. The plants grow about 2’ feet high, are sturdy, and do not require any support.
Proper Way To Shell Soybean Seeds
The only problem anyone will likely encounter with soybeans is the difficulty of shelling them. But there is an easy way to overcome this.
A pot of water is brought to a boil. The soybeans, still in the pods, are dumped into the boiling water and allowed to simmer for five minutes.
The hot water is then poured off. Now pour cold water over the beans and pour this off so that the beans are comfortable to handle.
Now, all one has to do is squeeze the pods and the beans pop out as fast as the fingers can work.
Treated in that way, soybeans are easier to get out of the pods than peas or shell beans.
After being shelled, soybeans are prepared just like peas, considering that they have already been cooked for 5 minutes.
Shelling Lima Beans
Incidentally, I tried the same method on lima beans and found it worked almost equally well.
If soybeans are being prepared for freezing, they are kept in boiling water for 8 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
Then no further blanching is necessary. Wash the shelled beans in cold water if desired, drain, pack in the container, seal and freeze for winter use.
Pod Of Variety Bansei
Each soybean pod of the variety Bansei, which I grow, contains from one to three beans, averaging better than two.
They are easy to pick because all the pods ripen simultaneously, making it possible to strip each plant clean at one picking. It is a whole lot easier than picking limas.
If you want to, you can leave part of the crop till fall and store the beans dry for winter use. However, I wait until October, when most leaves have fallen.
Before harvesting them, the pods can be stripped off the plants more easily without the leaves interfering. The whole plants can be pulled up, and the pods stripped off inside.
Shelling Dry Soybeans
An easy way to shell dry soybeans is to place the dried pods in a cloth bag, step on them until the pods are well broken, and then empty the contents of the bag into a tub of water.
The beans sink while the broken pods and other debris float. If you tip the tub or keep a hose running into it, the debris will float off.
Of course, the beans should be well-dried again before being stored fur winter use. When ordering soybean seeds, be sure. Of course, select one of the edible varieties.
44659 by Everett S. Henderson