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
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.