Soymilk And Tofu Processing On Mars: Can We Really Stow It? 2004-01-2523
The Soymilk, Tofu, Okara and Whey (STOW) Processor Prototype was designated for use in a habitat or extended base [Closed Environment Life Support System (CELSS)] where soybeans will be supplied in bulk or grown locally. Project objectives were to evaluate the STOW Processor’s ability to produce quality soymilk and tofu from the soybean cultivar Hoyt. Hoyt, a small standing, high protein cultivar was selected by the NASA Biomass Production System to be grown hydroponically in the Advanced Integration Matrix (AIM) facility for Mars missions. The quality and yield of the soymilk and tofu from Hoyt was compared to soymilk and tofu produced from three high protein cultivars [Vinton 81 (Gold Standard), C1994, and IA 2032LS]. Composition and characterization of each cultivar was determined using raw soybeans and finished products from small scale stove top systems, large scale steam kettle systems, and STOW simulations. The 2002 field grower Hoyt cultivar had less protein in the bean and resulting tofu than all of the other cultivars. Its tofu and okara were an unacceptable gray/black mottled color compared to the cream colored Vinton 81. IA 2032LS produced the mildest flavored tofu with better yields, texture, and color using less heat than the blanching process. STOW simulations demonstrated that turbulent flow was necessary to properly coagulate the tofu, an automated press was required, and properly coagulated tofu was hard to pump into the press basket. The current STOW needs a major redesign to meet sanitary guidelines, with better temperature and press controls to insure safe and efficient operation. Upon modification, optimization studies can be initiated to produce safe, quality tofu with a minimum of labor for the Advanced Food Technology (AFT) team. Clear hilum, high protein, low beany flavored food grade soybeans, such as Vinton 81 or IA 2032LS should be used to produce soyfoods with lower inputs (solid and liquids) and high quality outputs (yield, sensory properties, low waste).