Edamame – the soybean with flair

Fri. Jul. 7, 2017

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Edamame – the soybean with flair

Is it all in a name?  Soybeans hardly sound all that delicious, but edamame sounds exotic and unique, although it’s becoming more and more mainstream.  The name means “beans on branches” in Japanese.


Edamame grow pretty much like bush green beans, plant them the same way in rows about 2 1/2 feet apart with about 3 inches between plants. As we talked last week about planting for another harvest, consider Edamame.  It tolerates hot, dry weather better than green beans, in fact, they don’t like to be real wet, so keep the soil just moist when first planted.   They’ll grow to about 2 feet tall at maturity.  Be patient; germination and maturation periods for soybeans are longer than most other crops.  Edamame don’t suffer any real disease or insect damage but you could also cover them with a row cover to protect from the deer and rabbits.  Harvest the pods when they’re fully plump and still bright green.

edamame aka soybeans

Cooking edamame pods

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water, toss the pods in and cook for 5 mins. after the water returns to a boil. To use in salads and stir-fries, just pop the steamed beans out of their pods and into your salad or wok.

For Japanese-style snacking, cook pods as above then drain in a colander. Toss with flaked sea salt and serve immediately. (In place of popcorn!) You can put the whole pod in your mouth, drag it across your teeth popping out the beans as you go. YUM!


Simple edamame salad

Combine edamame with a bit of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, snippets of fresh herbs, sliced cherry tomatoes, slivered red onion and cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper.

You can freeze edamame, too. Parboil as above and then stick them in ice water. Drain thoroughly. Spread the pods on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze till they’re solid. Pack the frozen beans in plastic bags taking out as much air as possible. They’ll keep for several months.

Hoisin Shrimp and Edamame stir-fry with soba noodles – this was delicious! Click on the PDF below…

Hoisin Shrimp and Edamame Stir Fry