Ripe soybeans are hard and dry. But when cooked, they take on many delicious forms. Here are the most common ones you'll see.

By Lisa Singer
Updated September 10, 2004
Tina Rupp

Edamame: Young soybeans harvested when green, usually sold frozen. Boil in the pods and then salt.

Miso: A salty, smooth paste made from fermented soybeans and grains (often rice), cultured for one to three years. Miso is used to flavor soups, dressings, and sauces.

Soy milk: Soybeans are soaked, ground, and strained to produce a milk substitute. Can be made into cheese, yogurt, and frozen desserts.

Soy nuts: Soybeans that have been soaked in water and then baked to produce a high-protein, peanut-like snack. Can be blended with soybean oil to make a spread like peanut butter.

Soy sauce: A salty, dark brown liquid made from fermented soybeans.

Soybean oil: The oil extracted from soybeans, usually labeled "vegetable oil."

Tempeh: A loaf (and meat alternative) made from cooked, cracked, and fermented soybeans.

Tofu: Pressed curds of coagulated soy milk. Firm and extra-firm tofu can be cubed. Soft or silken tofu can be blended into dips and dressings.