The Power of Edamame
Edamame is a recently popular vegetable that deserves a place in your garden and kitchen. Rich in protein, antioxidants and fiber, it has many health benefits. Edamame can be eaten in many different ways. Read more about this powerful vegetable in this article.
Marjory Blare, Master Gardener
Edamame is a name for immature green soy beans. It has been enjoyed in Asia for a long time and now it is catching on in western cuisine. In the U.S., you will find it in the frozen vegetable section. It will be in the pod and is meant to be steamed or boiled. The pod isn't edible, but the beans slip out easily after cooking, to be eaten immediately or used in other dishes. They are good cold too.
In addition to tasting good, there are some promising health benefits. A life-long diet rich in soy has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Edamame can reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) if soy protein replaces animal protein. Isoflavones found in edamame can have an effect similar to estrogen, and may reduce menopause symptoms. Edamame is low on the glycemic index making it attractive to people with type II diabetes. It is a good source of vitamin C, calcium and iron. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-edamame
Edamame can be eaten raw or cooked, tossed in a salad, mashed with garlic on toast or put into pasta or hot dishes. You can find dry-roasted, salted edamame snacks that are vegan, gluten free, Kosher, and non-GMO. If you grow you own, you can make your own snacks!
With all these benefits it is great to learn that edamame is also easy to grow! Many seed catalogs will carry Tohya seed (an early variety, 78 days to maturity), but there are also Karikachi (85 days) and Chiba (83 days) varieties. The last and first frost dates for Dakota County are May 8th and October 10th. Knowing these dates and the days to maturity will help inform your choice of variety. Plant the seeds about 6” apart and 1” deep, after the last frost date. They do not respond well to being started indoors and transplanted. They need well-drained soil and don't like wet feet. They have very few pests and most vegetable varieties have been bred for resistance to aphids and Phytophthora root rot. The plants can be up to 2.5 feet tall, the pods are about 2.5” and contain 2-3 beans. Most pods ripen at nearly the same time, but if you leave the smaller pods they will get bigger later. They are open-pollinated, so it is possible to save seed.
Try this is recipe from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension:
1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
● Preheat the oven to 400° F (200°C).
● Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain. Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9 × 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.
● Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
Growing edamame is easy and rewarding. Eating it is delicious! Give it a try!