Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beer friend

That's the name of the variety of edamame I tried growing this year... While most of the seeds didn't come up (poor germination, I didn't use innoculant, poor soil/weather conditions - who knows), I do have a sparse row of plants up and doing well... It seems edamame takes a lot long to "get ripe" than beans do - and when they do I guess pretty much all the pods on the plant ripen at the same time. LUCKILY most of the plants aren't at the same stage of readiness - from what I've read they have a short window where they're ideal for picking.

Here's two plants I cut at the base the other day:

I read awhile back that that's better than just yanking the plants. First, the roots will break down in the soil over time, contributing more organic matter/soil conditioning. Second, since soybeans are a legume, they take nitrogen from the air and "fix" it (store it) in nodules on their roots. So as a bonus, they're improving the soil in that way. So snip the plants off at the base, leave the good stuff for the soil in the ground, and then pluck all the pods off the plants. (And you know the rest of the plant matter is going back in the compost bin!)

They sure are fuzzy, aren't they?

So I first heard about edamame being a popular bar snack in Japan, where they're snacked on while drinking beer, just like it's common to snack on nuts in bars here in the US. Then when Sharon and I started going to House Gourmet (back when our schedules and proximities made it super convenient), we started scarfing down edamame like it was candy. Yum!

Since then, Brett and I have found we can get a case of conveniently microwavable frozen packs at Sam's Club - and they're really cheap! You poke holes in the top of the wrapper, nuke for three minutes, take off the wrapper, jostle in some sea salt (provided with the edamame), stick the pod in your mouth, "pinch" it with your teeth, and pull the pod - MOST of the time the edamame just pop right out into your mouth!

These homegrown ones were no different, and their extra fuzziness was barely noticeable after a 4 minute steaming in a pan on the stove. I would say they maybe tasted a "little fresher" than those that have been frozen - not greatly so, like the difference between storebought tomatoes and homegrown, but enough that I could appreciate it (and, yes, it might've been a mental thing).

If you come across edamame in your grocery store, or even at a restaurant, definitely give them a try! They're good for you, and tasty too! We sometimes buy them shelled and frozen, so like you'd buy a bag of frozen peas - and then use them as a pea-substitute in soups or stir fries. Good stuff!


the ginger tabby said... edamame!

Sharon and Andrew Holderman said...

I get it in the frozen veggie section at some grocery stores - and then you can micro it directly in the bag for like 2 minutes. It is very tasty!