A young, vibrant, and tasty bean that adds a hearty punch of protein to any meal and is easy to grow at home? That’s what you have to look forward to when growing Edamame Beans! Read on to learn all about these popular beans!
Characteristics of Edamame Beans
Originating in the areas of East Asia, Edamame Beans are a type of young soybean classed within the legume family. These beans vary from mature soybeans in appearance and application. Mature soybeans boast a shade of light to medium-light tan and are used in the making of tofu, soymilk, and similar products, whereas Edamame Beans are plucked while they are still a rich green shade and are typically eaten raw or lightly cooked.
Because they are plucked before they fully mature, Edamame Beans do not achieve the hardness of fully mature soybeans. They are tender and carry a flavor profile that is described a creamy, nutty, and even somewhat sweet. You will typically find 2 to 3 Edamame Beans per pod.
As a crop, Edamame Beans are characterized as similar to bush beans in terms of their soil benefits and maintenance needs, but they tend to produce a higher overall crop than bush beans do.
Edamame Beans Specific
The most common way to enjoy Edamame Beans is raw. Once the pod has been lightly steamed, or boiled in salted water for 5 or so minutes, it will break open easily, allowing you to remove the inner beans and enjoy them simply, as-is.
However, if you would like to experiment with your Edamame Bean consumption, there are plenty of recipes that can make use of this sweet little bean! While still shelled—that is, in the pod and steamed—they make a great addition to dishes like stir fry, salads, pastas, rice-based dishes, and more.
Many people like to supplement Edamame Beans where one might otherwise use an ingredient such as sugar snap peas. They can also be enjoyed crisped or fried, or seasoned in various ways to your preference. Spicy seasonings, garlic and onion powders, and other such flavor profiles have been tried and enjoyed by many enthusiasts of Edamame Beans.
One of the key health benefits of Edamame Beans, and what often makes them very popular in certain diets, is that they offer a great source of plant-based protein. While not quite comparable or as bioavailable as proteins found in other foods, the Edamame Bean nevertheless offers a powerhouse punch of protein that can give your body a real boost!
Additional health benefits of Edamame Beans include their rich source of fiber, which helps with many bodily functions including regular bowel movements. These beans also contain key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and other vitamins and minerals that help keep your body working well and help you to feel your best.
Growing At Home
Though Edamame Beans are most often planted as a broader field crop, similar to corn, there is no reason at all why you should not grow some of these beans in your own garden, regardless of its overall size!
The only exception with this is that Edamame should not be planted in the same soil that housed other legumes the previous year, as this risks depleting the soil of nutrients, and spreading diseases.
Edamame Beans are very much a soil focused crop. Farmers will often use these as a rotation crop to help strengthen the nutrients in the soil for the next year’s harvest. This is important to bear in mind if you are forecasting what you would like to plant in your garden for future years!
This also means you will want to pay special mind to the health of the soil before you plant your Edamame Beans, as well. About 2 weeks up to a month before planting your Edamame Bean seeds, it is considered wise to lay down an inch or so of compost to help prepare the soil for your bean plants. Then, once the final threat of frost has passed, you can plant your Edamame Bean seeds directly into the prepared soil.
You do have the option to begin Edamame seeds indoors prior to the final frost. However, be sure to transplant them carefully and do so when they are young. Mature Edamame plants do not typically take well to transplanting.
Edamame Bean seeds need to be planted roughly ¼ to ½ of an inch deep in the soil, spaced 2 to 4 inches apart. If you are planting multiple rows, the rows need at least 2 feet of distance between them. You should see germination in 1 to 2 weeks and a growing season of about 10 weeks.
Once your Edamame Beans are planted, in most cases it will be a fairly smooth process going forward. As long as they receive direct sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours per day and are watered and mulched regularly, Edamame plants will typically do quite well.
It is also important to be aware that there are several different types of pests and diseases that may threaten an Edamame crop. Among them are Mexican bean beetles, powdery mildew, whiteflies, and more. To help prevent these, be sure to mulch and weed regularly, water at the base of your plants rather from above, and rotate crops.
You will know your Edamame are ready to harvest when they are bright green, reach a length of about 2 to 3 inches, and are plump from the inner beans. At this point you can cut or snap them from the plant and either enjoy them immediately, or store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you would prefer to enjoy your Edamame later, you can also freeze them either shelled or with the beans removed. Simply blanch your Edamame, place them into an ice bath briefly, then drain them and freeze them in an airtight bag or container.
Where To Buy The Edamame Beans
Edamame Bean seeds can be purchased online in several varieties, but Hoss Tools offers Chiba Green Organic Edamame seeds that will yield a harvest up to a week earlier than most other Edamame varieties.
Wrapping Up Edamame Beans
Excited to plant some Edamame Beans of your own? Time to take your learning to the next level!
Want to learn more about beans? Visit our bean plants page to discover more about beans!