Edamame (pronunciation ay-dah-MAH-may) is the preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, which is most common in Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian cuisines. This green soybean strongly resembles a snow pea. The beans are round (like a pea) and packed in pods in threes or fours.
Where is Edamame grown?
Currently, it is a challenge for the Ontario consumer to purchase locally grown edamame at large grocery retailers. The edamame available at the major retailers is imported from China and other Asian countries. It is available fresh, frozen and prepared. Ontario farmers have over half a million pounds of edamame in local soil which translates into 500,000 one lbs retail bags. It is harvested in August. I’m familiar with two Ontario farmers growing it – Herrles Market and the Pristine Gourmet. This is a relatively new crop for Ontario, but one that allows food service providers and retailers, who support local farming, to incorporate this healthy little bean into their offerings. If you live in Ontario, the next time you’re at the supermarket or your favourite restaurant, ask for local edamame.
Edamame Education (April is National Soyfoods Month)
In Ontario and Canada the soy associations, for example the Canadian Soybean Council and Soy 20/20 are strictly focused on the grower and do not provide much consumer outreach and education.
It is quite different in the USA. For instance, the Soyfoods Association of North American has designated April as National Soyfoods Month. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness and educate consumers about soy foods, their health benefits and to encourage consumption. Click here for more information, recipes and tips.
When was your first encounter with edamame? Or has there been an encounter? Perhaps at a metropolitan sushi restaurant or as a bar snack on your last business trip or roasted in your own kitchen. With consumer interest, edamame is showing up on many restaurant menus. In the ‘meat and potatoes’ community of half million people where I live, it is well received by patrons as a menu staple at an established, local restaurant chain – The Charcoal Group.
Edamame Health Benefits 101
Edamame easily contributes to a healthy, well-balanced diet because it is low in calories, saturated fat and sodium.
Nutrition for a ½ cup (125 ml) serving of shelled (out of the pod) edamame beans:
- 100 to 120 calories
- 11g of protein. This protein is complete, meaning that it contains all the amino acids that our body needs to function properly, but that we cannot make ourselves.
- 13g of carbohydrates. This amount is almost equal to the protein, so it makes a well balanced food/ingredient.
- 2.5g of fat. This include 1.5g polyunsaturated fat (0.3g plant omega-3 fatty acids) and 0.5g monounsaturated fat.
- 9g of fibre. This is very high for the serving size.
Edamame is also rich in many micronutrients including calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K.
How to enjoy Edamame in your day
- Sprinkle the beans over a salad at lunch
- Make edamame dip for an afternoon snack
- Toss edamame into a stir-fry for supper
- Roast the beans, then eat with dried fruit (I like pineapple) for an alternative to traditional trail mix for your next hike
If you want to give an edamame dip a try, here’s a simple recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine. It is very yummy and the colour of this dip screams ‘Spring’.