Keeping your pantry well-stocked is an investment in your health as well as in your future. But some things may require refrigeration, be it kept chilled or frozen, for them to remain preserved. While that can be arranged with a freezer or a refrigerator, it is easier to simply limit your needs. In this case, the ongoing need for a refrigerator/freezer.
Things that are generally kept in the refrigerator, such as milk, vegetables, bread, juice - can be made for the occasion/s you need them for. There are a ton of ways of making plant-based milk. You can use soybeans, hemp, flax seed, coconuts, oats, just to mention a few. If you want to increase the nutritional value of your milk, you can sprout your beans or seeds beforehand, and then turn them into milk. You can even do that with your oats.
Soymilk is easily made by soaking beans, covering them up with about three times as much water as dry beans, and then you blend them hard. You can either strain the milk and then cook it on the stove or cook it on the stove and then strain it. Either way, it must be cooked for the flavour to go from bitter to slightly sweet. The bean pulp that will end up in your nutmilk bag after straining the milk, is called okara.
If you are making a batch of soy milk, you can then use the soy milk to make tofu, and the okara for stir-fries, hotpots, falafel or even your own miso paste. When you stir the soy milk as it is on the stove, a layer will form on top, called yabu. You can mix it in, or you can remove it and use it as a egg-replacement instead. Another use for the okara is to use it to make a few batches of tempeh. Tempeh in itself is one of the most nutritious proteins out there, and made from okara, even more so.
The tofu can be eaten warm, cold, with spices or without, in a dish or as is. It can also be used for baking and for making smoothies. It is very delicious warm with balsamic vinegar drizzled over it. Tofu can also be marinated and fermented ing glass jars, for further preservation and increased nutrition. When you sprout your soybeans and then turn it into milk, tofu, tempeh - whatever it is you want to do, the dishes will have an increased amount of protein and general nutritional value.
In other words, sprouting the beans is a simple change that is very easy to make but very, very good for your body.
Edamame are very forgiving should the soil around it be less than preferable, and it is easy to grow. The plants should be harvested after 85 days or, if you want them dry, after over 100 days. When you sprout them for cooking, simply take about ten of them, if you are in a one person household, and turn them into plants. You need 5-8 plants per person but in case something happens to some, better make it ten seeds planted. Edamame with some sprinkled sea salt is an excellent snack for warm summer days. They're cool, delicious and very high in protein. Some of those combined with some chilled green tea, will keep you cool and relaxed for hours.
When making soybean flour, simply take dry organic beans and place them in a bowl and either blend them hard or use a grinder. A coffee grinder is a good alternative.
Now that you know what you can do with soy, what are the health benefits of soy?
In Japan, around the 1950's, people were encouraged to eat soybeans to lower their blood pressure. Since soybeans was difficult to eat for old people and children, tofu was made instead. First for its nutritional value, and today for its delicious taste.
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk with either lemon juice, nigari, epsom salt or vinegar. When the milk starts coagulating and forming lumps, it is poured into a cheese cloth that is in a tofu press. The tofu is then wrapped with the cloth and pressed until all the liquid has run out of it.
Soy is also recommended when trying to get pregnant. In moderate amounts, as with everything. It increases the estrogen in your body, and it may increase the blood flow pumped to your reproductive organs. It is also recommended during menopause to lower symptoms and make it a happier and less uncomfortable time to go through.
Soy also helps prevent prostate cancer, prevent osteoporosis, help the body absorb calcium and strengthens your blood vessels. If you are looking to lose weight, soy can also help you with that.
You do need to know that the benefits of soy, or any food for that matter, is meant for when the food is eaten in moderation. Moderation is always key. There are some less healthy aspects to soy, but if you eat it moderately and often in its fermented form, you will reap all the benefits without the risks.
Stay healthy and stay vegan!