Edamame (pronounced ed-uh-mah-mey) is a soft, green-colored bean from an immature soybean pod. This legume, or plant containing seeds inside, is a member of the pea family.
Edamame is a Japanese word meaning “beans on branches.”
Edamame is good for you!
A 1/2 cup serving of edamame (beans-no pod) contains:
- 120 calories
- 9 grams of fiber
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Edamame is easy to Cook!
Each edamame pod comes with 2 to 3 beans. Individual beans are removed from the pod and boiled or steamed. Edamame can be used in any recipe that calls for beans and used in salads, or as a garnish. It adds a flavorful twist to guacamole and makes a healthy filler in any burger when blended and added to your “burger” mixture. Edamame also makes a wonderfully satisfying snack when sprinkled with sea salt or garlic.
Most food stores and specialty stores carry frozen edamame; fresh is very hard to come by. Contact your local Organic store or farm to find out if you can purchase it fresh in your area.
Edamame & Shitake Mushrooms
Steamed edamame seasoned with sea salt, sliced grilled shitake mushrooms (grilled until desired tenderness), red romaine lettuce (add arugula or frisee for a stronger taste), and toss with French dressing.
Edamame & Quinoa
Steamed edamame seasoned with sea salt, corn, quinoa, black beans, sliced yellow or red peppers, and cilantro. Top with a lemon-Dijon soy sauce dressing. Quinoa is cooked like rice in cold water with a bit of salt (for softer quinoa, hold the salt). Add 1 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn to simmer for approximately 10-14 minutes until desired softness. Let sit for several minutes before adding to salad mixture. Salad can also be served cold.
Grow your Own!
If you enjoy edamame, why not start your own garden. Edamame requires warm soil similar to tomatoes or basil, but the plant does not do well in cold weather. Plant when the soil is above 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid frost.
Edamame is a low growing bush and there are several different varieties. Midori Giant edamame is available in organic seed form and grows well in all regions. Sayamusume has been shown to grow well in the northern sections of both coasts, as well as in New Mexico. The Butterbean variety planted in Florida in August grows well into late fall and early winter.
Plant 3-5 inches apart and space rows a minimum of 2-3 feet apart. Plant a new batch each week in succession for up to 6 weeks to extend your harvest time. If planting in a container garden, use a 3 gallon pot with gravel or rocks as a base under your organic soil to ensure adequate drainage.
Make sure plants get plenty of sun and water. Contact your local agricultural agent for advice on whether or not to inoculate your soil. Inoculants are a type of bacteria, typically in powder form, that you add to your soil to help the plant produce its own nitrogen. Edamame roots attract this beneficial bacteria and the bacteria becomes affixed to the roots to help it grow.
If you start planting at the end of May, look for an early to mid- August harvest. Plants will be near ready to harvest when the pods become plump and the beans within the pods grow closer to each other. The raw beans should taste fairly sweet and tender. Check the beans every day so they don’t become too ripe. Pick when the pods are green and do not let the pods turn yellow or the beans will be inedible.
Your local farmer’s market or organic farm is an excellent source of advice. If you order organic seeds or plants online, most sites will offer the option of purchasing an inoculant.