Edamame – Japanese bean sprig

Did you know that the Japanese eat beans straight from the pod? Edamame is a vegetable widely consumed in some countries on the Asian continent, especially Japan. In this article, we will see some curiosities, varieties, benefits and preparation.

Edamame is a green soybean or black bean pod, it is widely consumed, either blanched, steamed or microwaved. They are usually mixed with a little salt and served as an aperitif or as a starter.

In this article we will learn more about this vegetable, its growth process, its preparation methods and why you should consider making edamame part of your meals?

Makoto Edamura
Makoto Edamura

Edamame can also refer to people's names, they often call me that ridiculous name.

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The growth of Edamame

The name edamame (枝豆) means "bean branch". Its name probably refers to the fact that it is harvested with its branches.

Its pod has a similar appearance to the pea, but they are tougher and have fine hairs on the outside. Normally, pods have 2 to 3 grains.

It has a season from June to August, it is harvested while it is still at an immature stage, that is, it has not matured to the point of becoming mature soybeans.

Each edamame main stem can produce about 100 fruits. However, about 70% to 80% of the flowers on the stem will drop, causing only about 30% to 20% of the flowers to bear fruit.

The green pods surround the fruit, thus serving as protection for the fruit. Another function of the pods is to carry out photosynthesis so that the fruits grow and become strong and healthy.

Meet edamame and its benefits

Varieties of Edamame

There are several types of edamame as there are no restrictions on any line of soybeans, yellow soybeans, green soybeans, tea soybeans and black soybeans are available.

This variety makes it possible to have several colors of the seed shell, which can be divided into four types: yellow, green, brown and black.

Some of these are the " Black Soy Tamba" , a specialty from the Japanese region of Tamba. The biggest characteristic of "Black Tamba soybean" is the size of its grains, which weigh three times more than soybeans in general.

“Dadacha bean” , native to the Shirayama district, on the outskirts of Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture. It is a species characterized by brown hairs that grow in the pods.

“Koito Native” is a soybean native to Chiba Prefecture. It is so named because it is a high-quality soybean grown mainly in the Koito River basin in Kimitsu. It is a late maturing variety. 

The vegetable is produced all over Japan, but the most popular is produced in the city of Noda, which is in Chiba Prefecture, which is one of the biggest producers of edamame in the country. Green soybean cultivation began in the city of Noda around 1950.

Meet edamame and its benefits

Ways to Preserve Edamame

A characteristic of edamame is that after harvesting it begins to lose its sugar content and flavor over time. Therefore, it is not recommended to store raw.

The best thing to do is to eat it on the day of purchase. Another option is to keep it in the fridge in a newspaper or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

But if you plan to store it for a few more days, it is recommended to boil it, then place it in the freezer in a container such as a plastic storage bag.

Meet edamame and its benefits

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How to prepare Edamame

As already mentioned, vegetables tend to lose their flavor very quickly, so it is important to boil them quickly after purchase.

Before that, cut off the edamame branches and wash them well with water. Then you must remove the hairs from the pod shell, one way to do this is by sprinkling salt on top and rubbing them (industrialized products will probably come without hair).

After cleaning the edamame the cooking process is very simple, boil the water and add the pods, cook them until soft (about 5 minutes), drain the pods and rinse them with cold water.

After that they are ready and can be served as a side dish, or as an aperitif to alcoholic beverages.

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In addition to this simple recipe, there are many other ways to prepare edamame, such as tempura, jam or sweets in general. You can find many other combinations and ways of preparation on YouTube.

Meet edamame and its benefits

The Benefits of Edamame

Edamame has many advantages, such as easy preparation and handling, but its main advantage is the health benefits it provides. It is rich in nutrients, such as proteins, potassium, calcium, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Among them we can find vitamin K and folic acid, which are more abundant in green beans than in mature soybeans. The amount of folic acid found in 100g of green beans supplies almost 80% of the recommended daily intake.

This vegetable is really impressive and its consumption brings many benefits, we can list here at least 5 benefits for your health.

  1. It helps regulate your mood. Pods contain folic acid, which can help alleviate depression and regulate the hormones serotonin and dopamine in the brain. They regulate mood, appetite and sleep quality.
  2. Increase in muscle mass. Edamame is a great source of high quality protein and amino acids. A 155-gram cup contains about 18.5 grams of plant-based protein.
  3. Helps to control appetite. Green beans are a low glycemic food and are low in carbohydrates, thus helping to regulate hunger.
  4. Helps to reduce edema. The high potassium content of edamame can help remove excess sodium in the body, thus helping to reduce body fluid retention.
  5. Helps to reduce cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognize that soy protein may help in the prevention of heart disease and hyperlipidemia.

Green beans are many people's favorite snack. Due to their taste, high nutritional value and high protein properties, they are loved by people who want to lose weight or simply take care of their health. Did you like to know this vegetable?

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