Edamame are edible young soybeans that are full of nutrients. Enjoy the pods as a snack or the shelled soybeans in many dishes!
Edamame (枝豆) are edible young soybeans that are picked before ripen. The name eda 枝 means ‘stems’ and mame 豆 means ‘beans,’ as traditionally they are often sold in pods with the stems attached. In Japan, you can find edamame being served as a snack or as an appetizer on most menus in Japanese restaurants.
These young soybeans are eaten before they are fully mature because the flavors are nutty, buttery, and sweeter. Edamame beans are the exact same soybeans that are used to make tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, natto, tempeh, and other soy products.
Where to Buy Edamame?
You can find edamame sold in the freezer aisle at most grocery stores in the US. They are also available shelled, fresh, or frozen.
Between June to September, I can find fresh edamame pods which come in stalks at my local Japanese grocery stores. The freshly cooked beans are a treat!
Otherwise, I often stock up on the frozen ones — both pods or shelled — as they are frozen shortly after being picked to preserve the freshness. Check the label when buying frozen edamame. It may be imported from Asia or grown in the United States. Organic is best. Do make sure there are no additives, it should be just edamame and maybe salt.
You might find fried or dried shelled edamame called mukimame (むき豆, literally “shelled beans”) in the snack aisle at Asian or Japanese supermarkets, which are delicious and addicting.
Nutrition and Benefits of Edamame
There are a lot of health benefits of edamame. It’s rich in fiber, calcium, isoflavones, folate, and other nutrients. There are observational studies that suggest it can lower cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Edamame is also one of the few plant-based foods that has a complete protein, meaning it contains all the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This makes edamame an excellent choice of protein for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone who want to eat more plant-based food.
For those on a keto diet, it’s also low in carbohydrates and calories. 1/2 cup of serving of edamame packs a lot of fiber, protein and other mineral content which are needed for our bodies.
How to Cook Edamame
If you’re able to find fresh edamame during the summer season, do try to cook them at home. The traditional Japanese method to cook fresh, whole edamame is to boil the pods in lightly salted water. You can also steam them or pan-fry them. Enjoy edamame warm, cold, or at room temperature.
I have a recipe for cooking fresh edamame using the Japanese method on the blog.
For frozen edamame, follow the instructions provided in the package. Some may already have salt with it, so you do not need to sprinkle with salt.
How to Microwave Edamame
For precooked frozen edamame, place them in a bowl and add half a teaspoon of water. Cover and microwave on high for three minutes.
I love serving edamame in pods as an appetizer, but I also use the shelled edamame in many of my Japanese dishes. They make a great pantry ingredient and a plant-based protein. The mild and sweet and buttery taste of edamame pairs well with many dishes. Try include them in soups, hot pots, noodle dishes, salads, stir fries, or in your bento lunch box!
Here are some recipe ideas: