Edamame is a vegetable that has an interesting looking and name. Many people associate edamame as a health food and they are not wrong! Japan enjoys edamame most as a popular appetizer and addition to salads.
What does the edamame taste like? Does it have the vegetable taste that kids tend to avoid? How do you make it?
Cooked edamame tastes like peas, only with a sweeter and nuttier taste. Uncooked edamame is toug and shouldn’t be eaten.
What is edamame and where does the taste come from?
Edamame isn’t just a cousin of the soybean, it’s actually the same plant as the soybean. Edamame is a young soybean that is picked earlier while it is still green.
Edamame tastes rather different from the soybean, which tends to be bland. Picking it earlier makes it taste a bit sweeter while soybeans tend to taste only like the foods they are cooked with.
Edamame is a vegetable. Can I eat edamame raw?
The underdeveloped edamame bean is not good for you from a digestive standpoint. Opening a edamame pod and eating the pods directly without cooking can result in nausea, diarheaa and vomiting.
Some good news here: Raw edamame is very tough and rather difficult to eat. It won’t be easy to anyone to unintentionally or intentionally eat raw edamame – it’ll take some effort to make yourself sick off the pods.
What is the texture of edamame?
Edamame’s texture can best be compared to a pea. Since edamame has pea like pods, this is hardly a surprise. The biggest difference is that edamame is a bit firmer than a cooked pea – bordering on crunchy.
What does edamame smell like?
Edamame smells most similar to the vegetable it tastes like – peas!
Bad edamame takes on a different smell, and will become sour and bitter. Edamame is best eaten when ripe and when it smells fresh.
What does edamame look like?
Edamame is bright green, quite attractive and fresh looking. The pods themselves look quite similar to pea pods and green beans.
When extracted, the pods are larger than peas, but they retain the green look. They are often either round or oblong.
How is edamame eaten or served?
Restaurants commonly serve edamame as a appetizer with a bit of a unique twist. The chef salts than boils the edamame. It’s served in the shell, which eaters can break open by dragging it across their teeth. They are served in the shell because the shell is green, fuzzy, and somewhat fun looking in a restaurant setting.
Edamame works best when spiced with garlic, salt, pepper, or sesame oil. Since the edamame itself doesn’t have a particularly strong flavor, it’s nice to add something with strength.
Salads with edamame are great, too. Edamame adds a bit of a crunch to an otherwise potentially boring salad.
Since edamame goes well with other vegetables, it’s often used in stews. Edamame absorbs flavors well and provides a bit of a crunch like an onion while not adding the same level of acidity.
Edamame is mostly served as a side dish. Since most American households use vegetables as a side dish, edamame fits right in as a food that adds some color and dietary nutrition to the table, while also being relatively easy to prepare.
The preparation for edamame is also different from its soybean adult self. Soybeans are often prepared and used as a soft item with a sponge like texture. Edamame does better as an effort to add a bit of crunch, and is most often spiced or salted.
One thing to note here: As described with the restaurant use of edamame, the shell itself is generally not eaten. While some believe the shell is toxic, it really is not. The larger issue is that like the uncooked edamame pod, it’s tough, rubbery, and difficult to eat.
Is edamame healthy?
Edamame is very healthy, and a great choice for vegan eaters. Vegan diets need some protein to develop and replenish the muscles and brain. One cup of edamame can have 18 grams of protein – which is quite a bit for the serving size.
Studies have also shown that edamame has the potential to reduce cholesterol in people with high cholesterol problems. This is a common property amongst soy, beans, and other veggies.
Edamame also slightly outdoes it’s more mature soybean cousin in the area of vitamins and minerals, packing in more Vitamin K and folate. Soybeans do have edamame beat for iron and zinc though. The maturation process does help the same bean in a few ways.
The above goes for cooked edamame. Uncooked edamame, as mentioned earlier, can cause digestive and bowel problems and isn’t suggested – though it’s rather hard to eat anyway.
Where can I find edamame?
Edamame is sold in many grocery stores. The pod is carried in many fresh product sections in trays like green beans. You’ll want to remove the shells though.
On the slightly easier end, you’ll be able to find edamame in the frozen section, often packaged by national well known brands like Bird’s Eye. Edamame often just needs boiling in order to be ready to eat.
Edamame is a great vegetable to try. The health benefits are great, especially for vegan eaters who need their fil of protein. The edamame pod also offers a bit more flavor than peas and can be easily added to other dishes or served on its own.
Try them with salt, pepper, or garlic. The edamame pod is often served as a healthy appetizer in Asian restaurant for a reason – they can be fun to eat and they are great for you.
Tiffany McCauley is a celebrated food and travel journalist and cookbook author known for her engaging stories on culinary adventures and cultural insights. With a background featuring collaborations with notable brands and publications, Tiffany brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Fanatically Food, where she champions taste, sustainability, and the art of cooking. Read More Here