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Tofu made of green soybeans debuts in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- It is usually a sign that food has gone bad when it turns green, but researchers in southern Taiwan are proud to have developed a new kind of tofu made from green soybeans, which they say could boost Taiwan's NT$2 billion (US$66.34 million) of annual green soybean exports.

Researchers with the Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station said Wednesday that the new take on tofu, which has a slight green hue, maintains the unique flavor of green soybeans that is not found in traditional tofu, which is made from mature soybeans.

“We're developing many products made of green soybeans, aiming to add value to the crop and offer new options for consumers,” said Chen Cheng-min, an assistant researcher at the station.

Green soybeans are a major agricultural export for Taiwan and could see a boost if the product catches on.

Local farmers harvest some 42,000 metric tons of saleable green soybean products such as edamame each year, according to Chen.

The vast majority — 30,000 tons — goes to Japan. But exports dropped slightly last year to US$68.59 million off of a record high of US$71.6 million in 2012, according to official statistics.

Chen said the green tofu was “quite difficult” to develop as young soybeans have fewer protein gels than mature ones.

It is not the first time the Kaohsiung research station has done creative tinkering with green soybeans.

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