You may have first found out about this little green food stuff as a starter if you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, but edamame is fast becoming a staple of health food enthusiasts due to its taste, nutritional value and how fun it is to eat! De-shelling these green beans can keep your guests active and their taste buds satisfied with the added benefits of being a rich source of vitamins and minerals to match.
What is edamame?
Edamame beans are young or immature soy beans, unlike the dry variety you’ve probably come across. Picked before they ripen, they are full of nutrients and high in fiber which make them a tasty healthy and alternative snack.
Why eat edamame?
Edamame is high in protein which is especially useful for vegans and vegetarians. 30% protein is very high for a plant based food and high even for a meat. edamame beans are also quite low in carbohydrates but can still provide energy which is useful for those of you who do not wish to be packing on the carbs. They are also a very good source of:
- Vitamin K which is necessary for the healing of cuts and helps keep bones healthy
- Folate – can prevent anemia and prevents some birth defects
- Manganese – many functions including healthy bones, and many benefits in the proper functioning of the body
How to prepare edamame
The most fun way to eat edamame is to pop the beans out of their shells. In order to serve them this way you will need to buy them whole and then boil or steam the pods in lightly salted water. In Japan edamame is traditionally served with a natural mineral rich sea salt which adds its own unique flavors.
You can snip the ends off if you prefer but this is not essential
You can also eat the edamame beans raw. Unlike dried beans edamame beans do not need soaking first. People in China and Japan also add other flavors to their edamame beans including five spice or with packets of edamame dip which can be found in Asian food shops.
Edamame is often sold frozen so do not despair if this is the only variety you can find as it still contains many health benefits and does not lose its character as a non-traditional snack or starter. As edamame popularity increases in the States you will be able to find this nutrient packed bean in more and stores outside of just the traditional Asian and health food stores.
To sum up
The best use of edamame is as an addictive nibble either before or as your starter. Whilst your pots and pans are bubbling away and the guests are chatting, they can be fully engaged in de-shelling and nibbling their edamame beans and enjoying the challenge and feel of popping the pods with their teeth before reaching for the next one. Just make sure you’ve prepared enough!