Authored by Kata Hribar, UMN Public Health and Nutrition

Colorful, plump and sweet – fresh green soybeans have been a staple in both Japanese and Chinese cuisine and are increasing in popularity here in America.

Edamame, the Japanese name for edible soybeans, are immature soybeans, harvested after about 80 percent of their growth and are available in stores either fresh or frozen in the pod or shelled.  To cook edamame, boil the pods (or shelled beans) for about 4-5 minutes or microwave covered for 2-3 minutes, drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool.  Only the beans are edible, but edamame are traditionally served as an appetizer in the pod.  Simply sprinkle the cooked pods with salt, serve hot, warm or chilled and squeeze the beans right from the pod into your mouth.  In addition to being a delicious and fun-finger food, cooked edamame are great protein-packed additions to any dish.  Try adding shelled beans to your favorite salad, stir-fry or soup.  Or try blending shelled edamame with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and tahini for a tasty new version of hummus.  Shelled edamame are also a good substitute for lima or fava beans in virtually any dish.

Fresh edamame will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.  Wash the pods (or shelled beans) under cold running water, pat dry, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.  Cooked or uncooked pods/shelled beans can be stored in the freezer for about a month.  Spread the cooked or uncooked pods or beans on a baking sheet and place in the freezer.  Once the edamame are frozen, transfer into a well-sealed freezer bag.

These little sweet soybeans are exceptionally high in protein – 1/2 cup of beans contains 16 grams, as much as a hotdog or a cheeseburger!  They are also a great source of vitamin A, calcium (for healthy bones), fiber and isoflavins (which act as antioxidants).

With their buttery texture and sweet nutty taste, edamame are a delicious and healthy snack that everyone in the family can enjoy!