One of the most enjoyable parts of eating at a Japanese or Vietnamese restaurant is ordering an appetizer. Not just any appetizer, though. Many would vote for edamame being a top-notch item to have before a meal comes.
Fall into that category? You’re not alone. Soybeans have been growing in China for 7,000 years. We’re not 100% sure when edamame was first introduced to the public, but we know it was already a thing by the late 13th century. A letter left behind by a Japanese monk detailed his appreciation for the salty delight.
As delicious as edamame is, can you also eat the shells?
While it may be fun to bite on them and suck the edamame out, as opposed to cutting it open, it should be noted that the shells are not edible. They aren’t toxic but they also don’t have any nutritional value and should only be used as a vessel to transport edamame only.
It’s not weird to be confused by that fact. Honestly, if you’re eating it for the first time and don’t have any experience with this type of food, it makes sense to have questions. Similar foods where we eat the seeds are often eaten with the outside. Take green beans, for example.
How do you eat edamame?
Since you can’t eat the shells, how do you eat what’s inside? Sure, you can get a dish while waiting for the bowl of pho to arrive. Sometimes, however, you just want to enjoy edamame from the comfort of home.
In order to make the bean soft and warm enough to eat, it needs to be cooked thoroughly. Once they are done, season to taste. Many edamame lovers find the flavor best with light amounts of salt.
There are four basic ways to get edamame just right.
This is a pretty easy way to brighten up your day, and culinary skills, with a snack. Start by grabbing a pot big enough to fit as much edamame as you want. Toss in the goods and fill the pot with enough water so that the fresh soybeans are covered but not drowning.
Be sure to add salt while you wait for the water to start boiling. Once the bubbles are rolling across the top, set a timer for five minutes.
This method requires similar equipment except for the addition of a steamer. If you’d like to invest, a steam basket can be used for quite a lot of food. It’s a great way to cook and is traditional. Unlike boiling, you’ll only need a thin layer of water at the bottom of the pot, up your first knuckle or so.
Once the water gets going, add edamame to the steamer and put it all on top of the pot. For the most tender edamame, let the steam go on for 10 minutes. If you like a little crunch, you can divide the time in half.
You’re more likely to use the microwave if you bought a frozen package with microwave directions. If that’s the case, just follow what it says. Most brands that cook vegetables in the microwave do so with a bag that sort of acts like a steamer. Basically the best of both worlds.
But say you’re in a rush and really would not like to wait up to 10 minutes for your favorite salty dish. Take a bowl that’s big enough to fit as much edamame as you want. Get your sprayer out of the sink and use it for one second to mist the greens. If you don’t have a sprayer, do a quick run across the faucet. Very little water is needed.
Next, you’ll place a thin towel over the bowl and put it in the microwave for three minutes.
Pull out a big pan where there’s enough room for the edamame to lay across it flat. Once the pan is fiery hot, the soybeans are ready to go in. Let them cook for a few minutes on both sides. Before pouring the whole lot onto a plate, try one first. If the beans are too crunchy, let them sizzle a little longer.
Can you eat edamame without cooking it?
Technically, yes. While it is soothing to the soul to eat warm, edamame can be ingested without any further interference. Of course, that’s assuming they are at room temperature. That means there’s no need to plan the night before by soaking anything.
Is edamame a superfood?
Despite the myth that edamame has a negative impact on testosterone, edamame is quite healthy. The reason they make a great treat is the baby soybeans are almost sans calories and are completely gluten-free. Of course, that includes guilt-free eating.
What makes it a superfood is all the extra goodies within. Here’s a short list:
- Vitamin K
How much edamame is safe to eat in a day?
As tasty and healthy as edamame is, it doesn’t mean you should lose yourself in the moment. As they say, all things are best in moderation. In fact, if you overeat the immature soybeans, it could result in an upset stomach and more time than you’d like in the restroom.
To keep your stomach and fridge in good standing, limit edamame feasting to about half a cup. That’s measured without the shells. You’ll still get all of the nutritional punch without discomfort.