Edamame are baby soybeans which are picked when young and tender before the soybeans inside are fully mature. They are steamed or boiled and usually eaten as an appetizer or snack.
You’ll find them in Japanese and Asian restaurants where they are usually served salted and at room temperature. Typically, you eat the beans inside and discard the pods. Check your grocery or specialty foods store – they can sometimes be found in the frozen foods aisle.
In Chinese, young soybeans in the pod are known as maodoujia which literally translates as “hairy bean pod.” No matter what you call them, they are a specific species of soybean grown for early harvesting and are different than soybean crops grown specifically for their mature beans.
Cook them by steaming or boiling for 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t overcook – you don’t want a bunch of mush.
10. “Healthy” is the first word that should come to mind with edamame – they are a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and high-protein food. What more can you ask for: easy preparation, super taste and high nutrition value?
9. Look for bags of frozen edamame in your local specialty food or health food store.
8. Edamame are popular in Japan and China but are catching on in the US – you will find them served as appetizers in Japanese and Chinese restaurants.
7. Worried about edamame calories? You shouldn’t be. There are only 125 calories per 100 grams.
6. Farmers in Kentucky and other states are now growing edamame. The USDA has an interesting web page discussing US growing of edamame.
5. US products include those by Woodstock Farms, Trader Joe’s and Seapoint Farms. You can buy Seapoint Farms products online from Amazon.
4. Grow your own edamame! Buy seeds from Wannamaker Farms or other vendors online (See the “Grow Your Own” section below). You can grow edamame just about anywhere in the US.
3. Edamame nutrion equals soy foods nutrition since they are made from the same thing. There is a great facts sheet at soyfoods.org which discusses all aspects of soy-related nutrition issues.
2. Sprinkle the edamame with lemon juice after cooking or add soy sauce/tamari to the water when cooking to subtly enhance their flavor.
1. Edamame, maodoujia, vegetable soybeans, beer beans, sweet beans, garden soybeans, green soybeans, immature soybeans, edible soybeans – they are all the same thing.
Edamame: 60 Tempting Recipes Featuring America’s Hottest New Vegetable – “These tasty beans are highlighted in 60 mouthwatering recipes. Whet your taste buds with Grilled Tomatoes with Edamame and Goat Cheese, Flank Steak with Jeweled Salsa, Balsamic Glazed Winter Vegetables, or Warm Scallop and Edamame Salad. Not just delicious, these recipes are packed with nutrients. But health benefits are just a bonus because the recipes are ones that any chef would be proud to serve his diners. No bland health food here but instead rich appetizers like guacamole and creamy soups such as Thai Seafood Bisque. Although the market has many cookbooks, this is the first to focus completely on Edamame-America’s Hottest New Vegetable.”
Soy of Cooking: Easy-to-Make Vegetarian, Low-Fat, Fat-Free, and Antioxidant-Rich Gourmet Recipes – “Soy of Cooking Now, you can create elegant meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. Soy of Cooking is a gourmet guide to preparing savory meatless dishes that incorporate nutrient-rich soyfoods into your diet—high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as fiber and vitamins. With more than 170 enticing recipes, this innovative cookbook shows how to combine creative techniques and easy-to-find soyfoods to make healthy starters, main dishes, desserts, and more with tempting, artful presentations. Soy of Cooking defines 30 new and traditional soyfoods, most of which can be found in supermarkets and health food stores around the country. It also includes a guide to useful cooking techniques, tips on using spices,and soyfood exchange information.”
- Edamame/soybeans are harvested September through November.
- Frozen Edamame is on sale in March.
- It is always best to purchase organic soy products as close to their natural state as possible. You may want to watch Controlling Our Food – The World According to Monsanto.
- The New York Times has a yummy recipe for “Soybeans With Garlic and Dill“
- The USDA reports that we could have record soybean crops this year. The soybean record is 3.188 billion bushels, set in 2006.
- Try sprinkling edamame with kelp granules as a low sodium alternative and get your required iodine daily requirement.
A few varieties include: “Envy”, “Besweet 2020″, “Beer Friend”, “Butterbaby”, “Butterbeans”, “Early Hakucho”, “Green Pearls”, “Misono Green”, “Shironomai”, “Tohya” Seed companies that carry Edamame: vermontbean.com, johnnyseeds.com, and Wannamaker Farms. Here are some direct links to buy seeds on Amazon.com: Edamame Green Soybean Seeds 50 Seeds at Amazon and Soybeans Edamame Black Seeds 7 Grams at Amazon
Growing your own healthy low-calorie edamame is easy. Here is one person’s discussion of growing soy bean plants in flower pots on their deck. Of interesting note in this blog post: soybeans have small root systems and thus you can plant them close together – in 2 inch spacings. They put six plants in a large flower pot – lots of beautiful foliage and lots of edamame pods!
If you often find yourself in coveralls driving a tractor, then you will find the USDA page on growing edamame as a row crop more informative.
Finally, you will find this article at the National Garden Bureau web site to be most informative: history, seed varieties, growing and harvesting are all covered.
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