For those of you who are unfamiliar with Asian food, you may be wondering what is edamame? Not too worry, it is not raw fish – it is a soybean (a special type). Traditionally, an Asian vegetable, with roots in China dating back 200BC. In Japanese edamame means “Beans on Branches” and is an exotic name for this sweet, nutty-flavored food.
Once nicknamed “the vegatable cow”, edamame is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It is the only vegetable that offers a complete protein profile equal to both meat and eggs. In addition, many studies are finding that consumption of soy protein reduces cholesterol levels, builds bone density (thereby preventing osteoporosis), alleviates symptoms of menopause and reduces risk of prostate cancer.
Edamame is very nutritious – packed with many of the basic nutrients that keep us healthy, including calcium, iron, potassium, and folate. Calcium not only builds strong teeth and bones, but also helps prevent heart disease and colon cancer. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body, so the body and mind perform optimally, preventing fatigue. Potassium is important for a regular heartbeat and normalizing blood pressure. And folate helps fight heart disease and prevents birth defects.
Edamame is best used within 24 hours of harvesting. To preserve this quality and flavor, food companies blanch and quick-freeze freshly harvested edamame. Until recently, it was only available in specialty Asian markets. The rising popularity of this healthy food item has brought it into most grocery store frozen food sections. Edamame is available in the pods and shelled. The pods are commonly used as an appetizer or snack and the shelled beans are great for use in cooking and salads.
Age to introduce: 6-8 months (cooked and pureed) Over 18 months (whole beans).
If you can boil water, you can make edamame. It is super simple and quick. The pods are not edible, so you need to show your kids how to eat this snack. The beans need to popped out of the pods. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the beans from the pod. With a little mastery, your children may be able to shoot them directly into their mouths – what fun!
Bring about 3-4 quarts of water to a boil, add a dash of salt and place the edamame in the boiling water. Cook 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Serve in a bowl. You will need another bowl to put the empty pods in.
Edamame for everyone
Edamame pods are not edible. It should be cooked before using it in salads. To cook: quickly boil them (pods or shelled) in water 3-5 minutes and drain and rinse in cold water. Shell if necessary. If you are planning to use shelled edamame in a recipe that will be cooked, such as soup, there is no need to boil them first.
- Cocktail party treat: Make the toddler treat recipe, but instead of using salted water, use plain water. Drain and rinse the pads in water. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle them course sea salt. They taste ten times better than peanuts!
- Add Edemame (shelled) to any 3-bean salad recipe.
- Put an Asian twist on traditional succotash (corn and lima beans) by using shelled edemame instead of lima beans.
- Add edamame (shelled) to soups, such vegetable or minestrone, stews, or stir frys.
- Add edamame to green salads and toss with your favorite salad dressing. To inspire your salads with a Japanese zip.
- 1 Tbsp wasabi powder OR paste
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Directions: Whisk together all ingredients. Pour over salad and toss.