Edamame soybeans refer to immature soybeans still in the pod that are boiled, blanched, or steamed before they are served salted. If the water used to blanch or boil the soybeans is already salted, then there is no need to salt the cooked edamame soybeans. The term “edamame” is a Japanese word that means “stem beans” in reference to how the beans are typically sold still attached to the stem. Beans removed from the pod and then boiled, blanched, or steamed are called mukimame. In China and Taiwan, they call edamame soybeans maodou (fur peas). Edamame soybeans are common in East Asian cuisines, known sometimes by how locals call them.
Species: G. max
Binomial name: Glycine max
Edamame Soybeans Trivia
- Unlike other vegetables, an edamame soybean contains all nine essential amino acids.
- The word “edamame” was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003.
- The National Soybean Research Laboratory (NSRL) has listed more than 2,500 varieties of soybeans currently under cultivation.
Edamame Soybeans Buying Guide
Buying soybeans in pods to make edamame – To buy fresh soybeans in pods to make edamame at home, make sure you know when your local farms are harvesting. This small window is the only chance you have to buy edamame soybeans that haven’t been frozen yet. After this period, everything that is still in stock will be frozen to extend freshness. Many frozen edamame soybeans qualify as fresh since the freezing retains the quality of the edamame soybeans, and there are no additional preservatives or other chemical ingredients added to it. The packaging is usually transparent so make sure to check the color of the pod. If there is any discoloration (yellowish or brownish, even darker green color of the pod) or damage to the pod, do not buy it.
Edamame soybeans in restaurants – The only way to find out which restaurant serves the best edamame soybeans (the best to your standards, at least) is to go to a restaurant, buy it, and eat it. If you don’t know where to begin, you might want to read reviews to give you an idea of which restaurant to visit first. Things to consider are the taste and quality of the soybeans.
Edamame Soybeans Production & Farming in Texas
The climate in Texas is suitable for growing edamame soybeans. The best time to plant edamame soybeans is during the warm season. It can tolerate drought, light shade, and clay soil. This plant requires abundant sun and nutrient-rich, moist but well-drained soil.
Edamame soybeans are already available in Texas since farms are already planting edamame soybeans and seed companies are selling edamame soybean seeds. The only time you can buy edamame soybeans that are not packaged is if you are actually there during harvesting. There is a simple explanation for this: edamame soybeans need to be packed and flash frozen immediately after harvest because that is the only way to extend their freshness. Without freezing it, the edamame soybean can only last for two to three days and will start to deteriorate. The ideal time to harvest edamame soybeans is a very slim window. As soon as they are plump and bright green, harvest them, because it will soon turn yellow, in which case flavor and nutrition have started to decline. They are harvested before they start to harden, followed by a quick parboil and flash freeze. This process retains the freshness and flavor of the soybeans.
Edamame soybean plants are hardly bothered by pests, except for a few like the Mexican bean beetle (remedy the problem by using floating row covers) and stink bugs (use pyrethroid insecticides like fenopropathrin). Aphids too, although this is a rare problem for edamame soybean plants. Kills aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
Rabbits, dears, and groundhogs pose a greater threat. These animals enjoy munching on edamame soybeans. Set up a bird netting around the patch to keep the animals away.
China, Japan, North Korea, and other East Asian countries are the original producers of edamame soybeans. Because of its popularity in recent years, other countries outside of Asia started producing edamame soybeans, including Argentina, Brazil, and the United States which are currently among the top-producing countries of edamame soybeans.
Flash-frozen edamame soybeans are sold in the frozen section of supermarkets, groceries, and other specialty stores. You can usually find two variants: edamame in the pod and shelled edamame beans. These usually undergo freeze-drying processes during the manufacturing stage. The shelled edamame beans also have a roasted variant. There are brands producing packaged edamame in the pod that have packaging you can use to boil or microwave your edamame soybeans, which means you don’t have to remove the contents to cook it. Some brands sell edamame soybeans in plastic containers with a lid.
Enjoying Edamame Soybeans
There are two ways to do it: you can push out the beans and pop them directly inside your mouth, or you can open the pod using your fingers and pick the beans one at a time. Do not eat the pod. Edamame soybeans are usually eaten as a side dish. It can also be eaten as a snack.
Harvested edamame soybeans for commercial selling are cleaned, placed in a sealed plastic bag, and frozen. When these reach the store, they are immediately stored in the freezer. Customers are instructed to store edamame soybeans in the freezer until they are to be cooked.
Edamame soybeans are usually just blanched, boiled, or steamed. You can boil the soybeans in salted water or add salt later after boiling and just before serving. It is advised that edamame soybeans are eaten cooked versus raw. Exposure to heat either through boiling water or stir-fry brings out the real yummy taste of edamame soybeans. Cooking also makes the edamame soybeans easier to eat because the pods soften which makes it easier to push out the soybeans. To add flavor to edamame soybeans, you can prepare a simple sauce using basic flavoring ingredients found in the kitchen like soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, etc. Just drizzle the sauce on top of blanched edamame soybeans and lightly toss to mix the sauce.
Edamame soybeans are low in fat and calories, but high in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Edamame soybeans can help improve the condition of people suffering from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, lung cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and kidney disease. A regular diet of edamame soybeans can help in preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels, breast cancer, menopausal symptoms, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and weakening of the bones. Edamame soybeans are also helpful in addressing less serious health and wellness problems, like diarrhea, constipation, and muscle soreness.