Let’s pop open the green treasure chest full of nutritional surprises – edamame!

Whether you’re looking for a plant-based protein source or searching for a quick and healthy snack, edamame is a versatile and delicious option. Below, we break down what edamame is, how it grows, its nutritional benefits, and some recipe ideas to add more edamame into your life.

What is Edamame?

Edamame, also known as vegetable soybeans, are young soybeans harvested before they ripen or harden. These delicious beans have a sweet, nutty flavor that are available in various forms, such as shelled, in the pod, fresh, or frozen, and are a popular plant-based food that have many nutrients.

Edamame has been a staple food in Asia for centuries and is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S.! You can oftentimes find edamame in the produce section at your local grocery store. For an easy and budget-friendly way to add edamame into your diet, check out the frozen isle as well, for beans that keep for months!

Watch the video to learn more about edamame.

How Does Edamame Grow?

To grow properly, edamame requires full sun, warm temperatures, and moist soil. The word “edamame” is a Japanese word and means “beans on branches,” as the pods grow in bunches on branched, bushy plants. Unlike fully matured soybeans, which are left to dry on the plants before harvest, edamame is picked before the pods fully ripen.

Can I Grow Edamame in My Backyard?

While edamame has a 10 to 12 week growing season, it can be simple to plant and harvest in your own vegetable garden.

To grow edamame plants yourself, here are some tips for success:

  • Temperature: Soil temperatures of at least 55°F is ideal, and frost should be avoided.
  • Planting seed: Plant the seeds ¼ to ½ of an inch deep, 2 to 4 inches apart, in rows 2 feet apart in an area of your garden that receives full sun.
  • Stagger planting: For a continuous harvest, plant seeds at least 10 days after the previous planting.

Are There Different Types of Edamame?

While there are various types of edamame available, two common varieties include agate and chiba green. Both edamame varieties have a great flavor and are suited for your garden and recipes. 

Agate: This edamame type was introduced to the United States in the 1920s and are characteristically small and olive-green with brown saddles.

Chiba Green: This early ripening variety produces large, dark green pods, with a high percentage containing three beans.

The Health Benefits of Eating Edamame

Not only is edamame fun to eat, but it is also nutrient dense. It’s the perfect afternoon snack for a quick energy boost!

Protein Powerhouse: Edamame is a complete source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids. Also, one cup (155 grams) of edamame provides 18.4 grams of protein.

Rich in Fiber: Edamame contains high amounts of fiber, with one cup of shelled and cooked edamame offering 8 grams of fiber – or about one-third of the recommended daily fiber amount.

Low Calorie Snack: You can indulge in edamame guilt free, as one of cup edamame is only 188 calories!

How Can I Add More Edamame to My Diet?

If you’re looking for a simple yet fulfilling source of soy protein, you can’t go wrong with straight-from-the pod edamame. Simply pop frozen edamame in the microwave and top it with your favorite seasoning for a satisfying, under-five-minute snack!

Edamame can also be easily added to any meal. Check out these unique recipes that showcase its versatility.

Edamame Snacks for All:

Quick and Easy Lunch or Dinner Ideas:

Edamame: The Little Bean with Big Benefits

Whether you’re looking for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or want to eat more plant-based protein alternatives, edamame is an excellent nutrient-dense option! Additionally, eating soy products like edamame not only support a healthy lifestyle, but also a healthy planet, as U.S. Soy farmers are adopting innovative agricultural practices that preserve our planet for future generations.

Edamame is just one of many nutritious soy food products. Click here to learn about the wide array of soy-based ingredients.