Konnichiwa! The Detwiler family learned their first Japanese in 2004, when we hosted our first of two Japanese 12-year-olds through the Ohio 4-H and LABO organizations. Ohio welcomes over 100 Japanese kids age 12 and older each summer to Ohio 4-H homes. It was a fabulous program where each of our boys were host brothers. It was a great experience and exchange of cultures.
In my early dietitian years, I had fallen in love with edamame. We had been selling it through local farm markets for several years with little success. Trying to introduce edible soybeans in a meat and potatoes community who grow soybeans for a living is like making juice from a turnip. It wasn’t readily available in stores yet and our community was very hesitant to add edamame to their diets. We even tried rebranding it as a sweet bean, taking samples and giving away small stalks for people to try. Let’s just say although our host Japanese brothers loved that we grew edamame, we were our primary customers. We needed to find a connection to the Honda community. In 2006 a perfect storm happened as we opened our berry farm. Our berry farm just happens to be right smack in the middle of a 30-mile radius of Honda, a huge permanent/transient Japanese population and even a Japanese school. That summer we also were hosting our second Japanese “brother” and a group of Japanese women stopped by. One of these women, a wife of a Honda executive, spoke fluent English and connected to our Japanese brother. Our guy, Daiki, was from Tokyo and was a fish out of water in rural Ohio. Not only did she help break the ice with our very homesick 12-year-old boy by bringing some familiar, favorite Japanese food but she began to spread the word in her community, now known to me as the Japanese news network. Ten years later, edamame continues to be a mainstay in Japanese culture but also has become more popular to American’s taste buds. Our edamame production has grown dramatically from those years when we were growing less than a pound and struggling to sell our harvest. We now grow 10 pounds of seed, which seems to double every year as the word continues to spread of local fresh edamame.
These little green soybeans pack a punch to your diet. A half-cup of shelled edamame provides 120 calories, 9 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fat and are packed full of possible health benefits. Studies have shown soy’s positive influence on fighting cancer, cholesterol, hypertension and osteoporosis. How much would we have to eat? Well probably more than you want, but why not start with a serving a day.
You can find edamame in various forms in your local freezer section. You can buy them shelled and add them to stir-fry, salads, soups, casseroles, and just about everything. I love them in the pods. They are a great snack. You can buy them in single servings to zap in the microwave or larger bags of pods. According to the Ohio Soybean Council, in 2012 Ohio produced 206 million bushels of soybeans. So, why not just add a row or two in a nearby field. Edamame is so easy to grow. The seed looks just like field soybeans. The plants look just like field soybeans. Taste wise there is no comparison. I describe the variety is like a sweet corn variety to field corn variety. We have grown two varieties from Rupp as well as a variety from Wannamaker seeds in North Carolina. Remember they are not Roundup Ready! They take 85 to 95 days from seed to harvest. They are definitely well worth the wait. Edamame is ready to pick when the green pods begin to fill out. The Japanese buy their edamame fresh from the field on stalks, so that’s how we sell it. Cut the stalks with pruners, pick off the pods and get the water boiling. Once the water is boiling it takes 3-5 minutes. Drain, spread on a plate or a platter and sprinkle with salt. The USDA dietary guidelines say “Eat less sodium.” Don’t tell the food police but I want to you to sprinkle heartily with coarse salt. You must have salt to enjoy the edamame experience. Then while still warm gently squeeze the bean out of pod while sucking the salt off the pod.
Rumor has it in Japan, edamame is the go to snack in bars instead of peanuts. I love to throw them in a Ziploc and enjoy during the fall football and soccer season. Since we are absolutely not allowed to drink Soy fluid in this house, edamame is definitely the best soy product on the market! Even the carnivores in this family enjoy the little green soybean. If you haven’t tried edamame, open your mind, boil up some water and don’t forget the salt!
Eat well & healthy!
Chile-Garlic Edamame www.foodnetwork.com
Cook 1 pound fresh or frozen edamame in the pods in salted boiling water until tender, 3-5 minutes; drain. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 2 sliced garlic cloves in a skillet over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the edamame, some lime juice and salt.
Crispy Edamame www.allrecipes.com Recipe By: Sophia Candrasa
1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain.
- Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
Herbed Corn & Edamame Succotash www.eatingwell.com
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh shelled edamame
1-2 slices of center cut bacon, sliced thinly (Shelly says to add!)
1 Tbsp. canola oil (omit if using bacon)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn kernels
3 Tbsp. dry white wine or water
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Cook edamame in a large saucepan of lightly salted water until tender, about 4 minutes or according to package directions. Drain well.
2. Heat oil or cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables start to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in corn, wine (or water) and the edamame; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in vinegar, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Make ahead tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Zesty Three-Bean Salad www.betterhomesandgarden.com
You can use any beans along with sweet soybeans-edamame to combine to make this tasty salad recipe that’s perfect for your next potluck.
2 cups frozen edamame
15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed & drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
- Prepare soybeans according to package directions. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water.
- In large bowl combine cooked soybeans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, onion, and cilantro.
- In small bowl whisk together olive oil, lime peel, lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over bean mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Stir well before serving. Makes 10 servings.
Nutrition Facts (Zesty Three-Bean Salad) Per serving: 174 kcal cal., 8 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat), 0 mg chol.,317 mg sodium, 21 g carb., 6 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9 g pro