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What is edamame?

We go to our favorite Japanese spot, sit down, order a beer or some sake – and ask the waitress for edamame before we’ve even glanced at the menu. Everyone loves those salt covered green pods and the delicious ritual of digging the beans out of the tough exterior with our teeth. But what is Edamame?

Edamame is a popular appetizer of soybeans tucked away in fuzzy pods, sprinkled with salt and devoured before your sashimi platter arrives.

Ok – that’s great… But – really, what is edamame?

Edamame is a immature/young soybean pod that has been harvested before the beans inside have a chance to harden. A common preparation of edamame is to steam or boil it and serve with salt. The beans inside the pod are eaten – and the pod is normally discarded. Edamame is a complete source of dietary protein and contains no cholesterol. Commonly used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cooking, edamame is sold frozen in most Western grocery stores and fresh in some produce sections. That narrows it down a bit.

soy beans

What is the nutritional information of edamame?

Here’s what you’ll get in a serving of 1⅛ cup of edamame in the pods (about a half cup of shelled edamame):

  •      120 calories
  •      9 grams fiber
  •      2.5 grams fat
  •      1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat (0.3 grams plant omega-3 fatty acids)
  •      0.5 grams monounsaturated fat
  •      11 grams protein
  •      13 grams carbohydrate
  •      15 mg sodium
  •      10% of your Daily Value of vitamin C
  •      10% of your Daily Value of Iron
  •      8% of your Daily Value of vitamin A
  •      4% of your Daily Value of calcium                                                                              

Values via Web MD

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What are the health benefits of edamame?

Well, from that half cup serving of the shelled beans, nine grams of fiber is about what you’d get from four slices of whole-wheat bread – or four cups of steamed zucchini. It contains about 10% of your Daily Value of vitamins A and C (two mega-important antioxidants). 11 grams of protein is a big dose for such a small amount of food. And those 13 grams of carbs just happen to be complex carbohydrates – which your body actually needs for energy, digestion, rapid metabolism and a good night’s sleep. The iron content found in our half-cup serving of edamame is about what you’d get from eating a four-ounce chicken breast. Consuming soy protein instead of animal protein lowers LDL (that’s the bad cholesterol btw) which decreases the risk of high-blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Tl;dr – edamame is good for you.

Is edamame gluten free?

Yes! 

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How long does edamame keep?

As long as you keep it frozen at 0℉, it will keep indefinitely. Obviously, your package will have a ‘use-by’ date for best quality. Once prepared, edamame will keep between 3-5 days covered in the fridge.

How do you cook edamame?

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil, add your edamame pods and cook for around 3-5 minutes. A shorter cooking time will result in a firmer bean. Test a bean at 3 minutes and keep cooking if you feel it needs more time. The beans should be firm, yet have an easy give to the teeth. Be mindful not to toss them in a pot and leave the room – overcooked edamame beans are mushy (yuck). Once cooked, drain in a colander, sprinkle the pods with salt and enjoy! If you like your edamame cold, shock them with cold water (this also stops the cooking process completely), sprinkle with salt and serve.

Salt is boring. Are there any other flavors I can use?

Sure! Lots of spices can be applied to make edamame beans taste even better – from chili to seaweed… It’s your world. Here are a few alternate variations on the classic salt and serve method.

How do you eat edamame pods?

Squeeze the pods with your fingers to press the beans into your mouth. Or you can extract the edamame beans with your teeth. Whichever way you do it, discard the outer pod. It won’t hurt you, but the texture is super tough.

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Is edamame a good ingredient to use in recipes?

Short answer: yes!

After cooking, shocking and extracting edamame beans from their pods, use them in everything from salads to stir-frys to blended spreads. Here are some easy and delicious recipes that showcase edamame as a versatile ingredient.

Edamame Recipes:

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