Thursday, August 13, 2015

Vegetable Feature: Edamame

by Andrea Yoder
Alvaro & Luis Harvesting Edamame
This week’s featured vegetable is edamame, otherwise known as fresh soybeans.  Edamame is a favorite summer-time vegetable that’s gained popularity over the years.  You may associate soybeans with other soy foods such as tofu, tempeh and soymilk, but fresh edamame is much different. \

 We’ve carefully selected the variety of edamame we grow and have chosen a variety that originated in Japan where it is grown specifically for fresh eating.  Most varieties of edamame available commercially are also used for making tofu.  These varieties do not have the sweet flavor of the edamame we grow and have much more of that “beany” characteristic.  Tofu beans also often have darker “hairs”  on their pods which give them a dirty appearance.  The edamame we grow has light colored “hair”  which makes them much more attractive.

Edamame should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve the sweetness of the bean.  While they can be stored and cooked in their pod, the pod is not edible.  The easiest way to extract the bean from the pod is to cook it first.  One method is to bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the edamame and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the beans are tender.  Drain the water off the beans and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Now you can easily pop the beans out of the pods.
Edamame Plant

Once cooked, the fresh soybeans inside can be eaten raw as a snack or added to other preparations including fresh salads, summer vegetable sautes, or dishes such as the fried rice recipe in this week’s newsletter.  Edamame is often served in its pod as a snack.  In addition to boiling, you can also roast edamame.  If you are roasting it, first toss the edamame with a bit of oil and salt or your favorite seasoning.  Roast in the oven until the beans are tender, then serve hot.  When you eat them, you can put the whole pod in your mouth and then pull it out between your teeth to extract the beans from inside the pod as well as the seasoning from the outside of the pod.  If you’d like to preserve edamame, simply follow the procedure above for blanching or boiling them.  Once you’ve cooled them, put in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer.

Edamame and Sea Salt
Recipe featured in Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.
Yield:  3-4 servings
1 ⅓ pounds edamame
1 ½ tsp sea salt

  1. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil the edamame about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the beans.  Scoop out with a strainer into a medium-sized crockery bowl and toss with sea salt.  Serve immediately.  The edamame should be so hot you can barely touch them.  
  2. Grab a handful and eat quickly because they cool quickly (and are particularly good burning hot).  Don’t forget to prepare the cold beer (if you like) and a bowl for the empty pods.  Boil in batches for a big crowd so you can keep serving them hot.  If you have any left over, save the pods in a resealable plastic bag, then pop the beans out the next day and fold into a vegetable salad, or any curry or stewlike dish.  
VARIATION:  Heat an iron wok over high heat and throw in a couple of handfuls of raw edamame pods.  You want to make sure that each pod is in direct contact with the surface of the pan.  Toss with two flat-edged wooden spoons to ensure even heat distribution.  Cook until the skins are blistered and a little juice runs out.  Taste to check for doneness.  Sprinkle with sea salt, toss once or twice, and serve hot.

Fried Rice with Edamame and Corn
                                                  by Andrea Yoder
Yield:  4-6 servings
3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 eggs
¼ tsp salt plus more to taste
8 ounces ground pork (optional)
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, small diced
1 cup small diced carrot
1 Italian frying pepper, diced
½ pound fresh edamame in the pod, blanched
½ cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1-2 cobs)
3 cups cooked rice
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. First, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp of oil.  When the pan and oil are hot, add the beaten eggs and ¼ tsp salt.  Scramble the eggs until they are cooked through, yet soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat ½-1 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  If you are using ground pork, add the pork now and cook until browned.  If you are omitting the pork, go on to the next step.
  3. Next, add the garlic, ginger and onion.  Increase the heat to medium high and continually stir the mixture to prevent the ginger and garlic from getting to brown.  Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until the onions are softened.  Next add the carrots and the frying pepper and  continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the corn and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add 2 more Tbsps of oil to the pan and tip the pan to distribute the oil evenly.  Next, add the rice and continue to move the rice so it is evenly distributed in the pan.  Continue to stir-fry the mixture until the rice is thoroughly heated, 3-5 minutes.  
  5. Next, add 3 Tbsps of soy sauce, the fresh edamame, and freshly ground pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for a few more minutes.  Adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce if you like and additional salt if needed.  Stir in the scrambled egg and serve hot.

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