From Bean to Meat

By Saga Norrby

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a collaboration between The Herring and AUC’s Journalism course. The students of the spring course created a collection of so-called short form alternatives – creative pieces that are informative in one way or another, often with a touch of humor.

From this…

…to this

Haven’t we all wondered how on earth soybeans can be made into something strikingly sinewy and meat-like? What follows is a simplified and in no way chemically correct illustration of the process.

soy-meat-3
1. The beans are slightly dried, then cleaned, cracked and dehulled.
Soy meat 4
2. The resulting bean flakes are then defatted, by being “washed” in hexane.
soy-meat-5
3. In the next step, the defatted flakes are treated in water, alcohol or acids to dissolve and separate carbohydrates from the flakes and acquire protein concentrate.
soy-meat-6
4. Then the flakes, which are by now almost purely protein, are milled to a flour.
extruder
5. The flour gets mixed with water into a dough, which gets passed through a so-called extruder. The extruder uses heat and pressure to create a fibre like structure, and voilà – soy meat.

 

Some companies sell the soy meat chunks as they come out of the extruder, others season and marinate the product before offering it to you.

 

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