Edamame (ed-uh-mah-may) are immature soy beans that are traditionally eaten either steamed or boiled. Edamame are usually purchased with the shell intact, cooked, and then removed from the shell just prior to consuming. Today, edamame can be purchased pre-cooked and pre shelled with no cooking required.
How to Prepare Edamame
Edamame that is purchased in the shell can be plunged into boiling water for a few minutes or until slightly tender. The water can be seasoned with salt or the edamame can be sprinkled with salt after being drained from the water. Alternatively, edamame can be cooked in a steaming basket over boiling water. To eat edamame from the shell, simply squeeze the shell to pop it open expel the beans into your mouth.
Pre cooked and pre shelled edamame only requires reheating which can be done in the microwave or boiling water. Precooked edamame is also sometimes eaten cold when added to salads.
How is Edamame Served?
In the United States, edamame is most often served as an appetizer at sushi restaurants. As an appetizer, edamame is usually served in the shell and sprinkled with salt. An extra bowl is usually provided to collect the empty shells.
Shelled edamame beans are a popular ingredient in salads. The small, green beans provide texture, color, flavor, and a good amount of protein. Roasting soybeans slightly prior to adding to salads provides a deeper flavor and texture.
Soybeans can also be pureed and seasoned to form a flavorful and nutritious dip. Special seasoning packets for edamame dip are a common sight in Asian markets.
Edamame are prized among vegetarians for their high protein content. Not only are these small, green beans high in protein, but they contain all nine amino acids making them a complete protein, similar to meat. In addition to protein, edamame also contains high amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals.
How to Purchase Edamame
Edamame is most often sold frozen, although it may be purchased fresh in some markets. Frozen edamame is usually offered either in the pod or pre shelled and pre cooked. Both varieties cook quickly straight from the freezer without any thawing required. Frozen edamame will stay good in the freezer for up to five or six months providing it is sealed air-tight. Cooked edamame will stay fresh in the refrigerator for four to five days after cooking.