Thursday, September 16, 2010


Recently my daughter Stephanie called and asked me about cooking EDAMAME. That reminded me about my years working in a grain elevator, and the tons of soybeans I’ve seen. The beans were crushed for their oil, and the remains were dried and became soy meal, for export. Nobody thought of consuming soybeans because they took forever to cook and were very bland. Only industrial processors could appreciate soybeans, turning them into meat analogs or textured vegetable protein, used to stretch or replace meat in recipes. Meat prices got outrageous in the early 1970’s, and a national boycott ensued. Soy- based meat substitute products became ubiquitous in local supermarkets, but soon vanished when beef prices stabilized.

The latest soy “product” on the market has taken off like a rocket; and for good reason. It is easy to prepare and extremely versatile. Called edamame, they are fresh green soy beans available everywhere, even in the freezer section. Mame means bean in Japanese, and Eda means branch. The name edamame means that the soy beans are harvested while still attached in branches.

Edamame are a beautiful jade green. They have a creamy texture, pleasant crunch and they are very healthy. If you are a vegetarian, edamame is a great way to get complete protein (all eight essential amino acids). A ½ cup of cooked edamame has 11 grams of protein and 4 grams of fibre, something to cheer about; as well as hard to find vital omega-3 fats, which are abundant in edamame.

You can puree edamame and serve as a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes, or to make a lovely Hummus. Try adding edamame to soup recipes during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Substitute edamame for lima beans in succotash. Use it to replace green peas once in awhile. You can enjoy edamame added to salads.

Try this hummus recipe, using edamame in place of garbanzo beans.

2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked as per directions
¼ cup of tahini (substitute creamy peanut butter if you cannot obtain tahini)
¼ cup of water
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon powdered cumin
Good pinch of salt
¼ cup good olive oil

Combine all in a food processor and enjoy with crisp pita chips, celery sticks or carrot sticks.

Used to be if you wanted to enjoy the many health benefits of soybeans, you had to start with the dried beans. That meant you had to soak them overnight or quick soak them (bring to boil in covered water, then let sit for one hour), and then either cook for 3 hours, or pressure cook for 13-15 minutes. The now widely available edamame is much more convenient.

Try edamame, its good groceries.

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