Fresh green soybeans called edamame or sweet beans make a fun finger food and are great in salads, soups, and stir-fries. The edible beans come in pairs inside a fuzzy pod and have a sweet, nutty flavor. They are easy to digest and are exceptionally high in protein (1/2 cup contains 16 grams). The beans also provide vitamin A, fiber, calcium, and a mix of phytochemicals, including isoflavins that act as antioxidants.
Although Americans are just starting to take notice of these snappy little beans, the Chinese have been cultivating them for thousands of years. The word "edamame," however, comes from the Japanese, who love to snack on them right from the pod. The availability of edamame in the United States is definitely growing. Today several kinds—frozen and fresh, in the pod and shelled—can be found in some supermarkets, natural-food stores, and Asian markets. You can also find edamame sold as whole plants at farmers'markets from late May through September.
Best Way to Cook Edamame
The beans inside the pods are the only edible portions of the plant. Cook 1 pound of fresh pods (or shelled beans) in boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, spread on a baking sheet, and let cool for a few minutes. Remove the beans from the pods, if necessary. Frozen edamame, in or out of the pod, have been lightly blanched and require less cooking.
To enjoy edamame as finger food, use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the cooked beans from the pod. Fresh soybeans in season are sweeter, crisper, and cleaner tasting than frozen ones, which can lack sweetness and have a softer texture. Store fresh pods in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
The Complete Vegetarian Handbook
Recipes and Techniques for Preparing Delicious, Healthy Cuisine
by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley
Excerpt reprinted by permission.
Also try Edamame Succotash
And please visit our Vegetarian Recipes page
This page created May 2003
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