Edible Soybeans

Dr. Joe Masabni
Patrick Lillard
Department of Horticulture
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


soybeanNew bush edible soybeans, Glycine max, produce excellent green shell beans. Pods grow in large clusters of large beans, usually containing three beans in a pod. Edible soybeans are high in protein, with some having as much as 39 percent protein. Commercially produced soybeans do not have the same quality as varieties which are considered to be edible.


Sow in late spring for outdoor cropping and in winter to early spring or greenhouse growing. Soybeans are a legume and can be inoculated with a special nitrogen-fixing bacteria (takes nitrogen from the air) that is dusted on the seed before planting. In the greenhouse, use a population density of 25 plants per 9 square feet and three or four plants per foot of row. Plant seed no deeper than 2 inches. Seed thrive in warm soils. Sow every 2 weeks for a constant supply throughout the summer.


Half-mature, podded, edible soybeans are used for relish. Bean pods are harvested from clusters of large beans. Beans may be dried for sprouting or winter use. For easy shelling, put in boiling water for a few minutes.

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