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Thursday, May 31, 2012

What in the World is TVP?

Original Article

TVP and Whole Wheat Pasta photo by cisc1970
If you’ve looked at purchasing food storage from any number of companies, you’ve probably encountered TVP.  But what is TVP?  And do I need any of it in my food storage?

TVP is an acronym for Textured Vegetable Protein.  It is also sometimes called Textured Soy Protein (TSP), or soy meat.  It is a non-meat product that provides a comparable percentage of protein per serving when reconstituted as meat.  It is high in fiber and low in fat.

TVP is made from soy flour after the soy oil has been extracted.  The flour is mixed with water, then cooked under pressure and squirted out a machine to dry.  Because of the pressure, the TVP fluffs with air pockets when it comes out of the extruder, giving it a texture and mouth feel similar to meat.  TVP can be dried in various forms like strips, flakes, and crumbles depending on what the final product will be used for.

In its natural state, TVP is tasteless, so most food storage TVP has flavor added.  There is chicken, ham, beef, taco, and bacon flavors of TVP.  You know those artificial bacon bits at the salad bar?  Those are TVP.  So you’ve probably been eating TVP all your life and never realized it.

Why would you want TVP in your food storage when there are perfectly good freeze dried meats and canned meats available?  One good reason is the cost.  TVP is quite a bit less expensive per serving than freeze dried or commercially canned meats.  The pricing on #10 cans right now of TVP products are about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a #10 can of freeze dried meat.  Because of the cost savings, TVP is an enticing alternative be used alone or as a meat extender to add protein to a variety of meals.

TVP is also a great protein source for vegetarian folks as it is soy based and has no meat products in it.
Some people actually prefer TVP to regular meats.  I’m not a huge fan of it personally, but it’s not bad as an extender or an occasional taco filler.  Sweet husband likes the Thrive Ham TVP dry, right out of the can.  So do my kids.  Hubby says he’d put it in his trail mix.  If I actually gathered all the things he said he’d have in trail mix and put them together he’d have a whole dehydrated three course meal in a trail mix sack!  He’s creative like that.

To rehydrate TVP, either add boiling water to it, or boil it in water until it is reconstituted.  Usually it is about 3/4 cup water to 1 cup TVP, but can vary depending on the variety of TVP you’re cooking–check your product label for more specific instructions.

So there’s the skinny on Textured Vegetable Protein.  How about you?  Do you have TVP in your storage?  Do you use it?  What kinds do you like?

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