Edamame: healthy beans from Japan

They are on everyone’s lips in the truest sense of the word – edamame. The sonorous name describes both the unripe harvested soybeans from Japan and the snacks made from them. But edamame is also excellent as a filling side dish or ingredient in many a recipe. In addition, the popular legumes are extremely healthy.

Anyone who has not yet come into contact with edamame has many questions. What  do immature harvested soybeans taste  like and how do you prepare them? What should you pay attention to when shopping? And why are edamame actually so healthy? We will get to the bottom of these and similar questions below.

What is edamame?

If they look like ordinary sugar snap peas at first glance, edamame are  soybeans that have been harvested unripe.  They have their origin in Japan. The term refers to both the  beans  themselves and the ready-made snack. Incidentally, translated from Japanese, edamame means “beans on a branch”. Other common names are lucky or stem beans.

We are familiar with the healthy legumes, especially from sushi restaurants or other Japanese restaurants. There they are traditionally served as a starter or a small snack for in between. However, they are now also available in some supermarkets. Most of the goods come from Japan. Shock-frozen and quick-frozen edamame are exported worldwide. The main harvest time for the bright green beans is between June and September. A pod usually contains two to three fingernail-sized beans.

How does edamame taste?

Are edamame soybeans – this question can be answered in the affirmative. But what makes the unique taste of legumes harvested unripe? The special feature lies in the combination of mild and hearty flavors. Edamame develop a sweet and nutty aroma at the same time. The unique taste, paired with their crunchy consistency, makes soybeans a popular snack. Edamame can also be seasoned to your heart’s content.

The unripe harvested soybeans are also often used as an ingredient for various dishes. No wonder, as they give stews, soups or stir-fries that certain tasteful touch. The fact that they harmonize perfectly with a variety of foods is certainly not a disadvantage.

How do you eat edamame?

When you look at the crisp green pods, you inevitably ask yourself: Can you  eat edamame raw?  Unfortunately, raw soybeans are inedible. The pods must be boiled in salted water for a few minutes before the inside beans can be consumed. These are either sucked out of the shell with the teeth or pushed out with the fingers.

In the water, the shell develops a light salt crust, which has a positive effect on the taste of the beans. No matter how healthy and crunchy it looks, the peel itself is not edible. It is much too tough and fibrous for that. After the beans are eaten, they are set aside and discarded later.

How healthy is edamame?

Edamame can undoubtedly be described as a healthy snack. A balanced composition of nutritional values ​​contributes significantly to this. The legumes have  few calories (125 kcal per 100 grams)  and hardly any fat content worth mentioning (4 grams per 100 grams). With 12 grams  of protein  per 100 grams, edamame are also true protein bombs and are bursting with vitamins, minerals and fiber.

The following ingredients deserve special mention:

  • Protein and  fiber :  The high content of protein and fiber allows the blood sugar level to rise only slowly and ensures that you feel full for a long time.
  • Minerals Minerals such as  iron calcium potassium magnesium  or  zinc  have a positive influence on a large number of metabolic functions. They are also important for building and maintaining muscles, joints, bones and teeth.
  • Vitamins:  Edamame mainly contains vitamins C, A, E and K as well as  B vitamins . This not only has a beneficial effect on the nervous and  immune systems  , but also has a positive influence on a large number of bodily functions (e.g. cell renewal and growth as well as blood circulation).
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids:  These polyunsaturated fatty acids have a positive influence on the immune system, brain and heart function. They are also said to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • Essential  amino acids These amino acids cannot be produced by the body itself, but are essential for various metabolic processes. Amino acids play a key role in building proteins. In this context, they are important as energy suppliers and building materials for enzymes, receptors or hormones.

Where can you buy edamame?

In recent years, edamame have also gained increasing popularity in German-speaking countries. In the past they were only found in Asian shops, but today you can also buy them in well-stocked health food stores and supermarkets. As a rule, the legumes are available as a frozen product.

Edamame are mainly grown in Japan, where they are harvested and frozen. In this way, hardly any  nutrients are  lost. In terms of the most positive ecological balance possible, it makes perfect sense to pay attention to organic quality when buying edamame. Since the cultivation of non-GMO soybeans is becoming increasingly important in Germany, local products can now sometimes even be found.

If you use fresh edamame, you should prepare it as quickly as possible – preferably on the same day. The legumes lose their aromas relatively quickly. Stored in the fridge, they won’t last longer than three days. However, if they are blanched briefly, they can easily be frozen for a few months.

Preparation of edamame

Preparing edamame is very easy. The unripe harvested soybeans are usually boiled, but they can also be steamed, steamed or even fried. The possible uses are diverse. Whether as a starter, snack, filling side dish or special ingredient in various dishes – edamame always cuts a fine figure.

They are particularly popular as a snack. For perfect enjoyment, it is important to cook them long enough in advance. To do this, the frozen pods are placed in bubbling, lightly salted water. For about 400 to 500 grams of edamame you need one tablespoon  of salt  in one liter of water.

During cooking, the unripe soybeans soften and develop their flavors. The right cooking time is of course essential. If edamame stay in the water for too long, they lose their crunchy consistency. If the cooking time is too short, the salt crust on the shell will only develop sparingly. But this is not unimportant for the taste. As a rule of thumb, you have to cook edamame with the skin for about five to seven minutes, without the skin three to five minutes are sufficient.

Drain the finished soybeans or carefully lift them out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Finally, they can be seasoned as you wish and served as a snack. For example, edamame is often sprinkled with sea salt and/or chilli flakes or seasoned with  garlic . The legumes also go well with lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce or Tabasco. Before refining, the pods should not be dried. In this way, spices stick particularly well.

Recipes with edamame

Edamame are not only popular as a snack. They are also good as a filling side dish, for example as whole beans or as a puree. You can also find them on the list of ingredients in various recipes. With their hearty-mild taste, that’s no wonder. In this way, they enhance dishes from all over the world. Here the amateur cook can let his imagination run free.

Whether as pasta, in rice dishes, stews, soups or even as a pizza topping – edamame provide that certain something. Edamame should not be missing as an ingredient in salads either. They go perfectly with a classic green salad or pasta salad.  They go particularly well with  strawberriesavocado and some smoked tofu.

If you like it a bit more exotic, use Edamame in colorful Poké Bowls. In this Hawaiian dish, a variety of ingredients are draped around diced raw fish. Wakame, marinated brown seaweed, is also common here.

Edamame and salmon poke bowl recipe

With this delicious recipe you can try the preparation of edamame.

Ingredients for two servings:

  • 200 grams of salmon
  • 200 grams of frozen edamame
  • 100 grams of sushi rice
  • ½ Avocado
  • ¼ Lettuce
  • ½  carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • ½ tsp Chilli Flocken
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 THE Soybean
  • 1 THE Sesamol
  • ½ tbsp travel vinegar


Finely chop the garlic, cut the  onion  into thin rings and mix together with the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and chilli flakes. Dice the salmon and leave in the marinade for about an hour (in the fridge). Meanwhile, cook the edamame in salted water for five to seven minutes, drain and pop the beans out of the shells. Also cook the  rice  and lightly toast it together with sesame in a coated pan without adding fat.  Finally, slice the avocado,  cucumber and carrot.

Before serving, divide the rice between two bowls and drape the remaining ingredients on top.

Can you grow edamame yourself?

Although soybeans find the perfect climatic conditions in their home country to thrive, the popular legume also grows well in many places in our latitudes. As soon as the temperatures no longer drop below ten degrees at night, sowing can begin. This is generally the case between April and June. The soybean loves it sunny and sheltered from the wind. Furrows are made in loose soil, in which a bean is placed about every five centimeters and sufficiently covered. It is important to keep the seed moist but not too wet.

The annual plant grows herbaceously and, depending on the variety, is between 20 and 100 centimeters high. Within a few weeks, the soybean develops pods that are about five to ten centimeters long. As edamame, these are harvested immature about two months after sowing. At this point, the pods are bright green in color.

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