Edamame – Health Benefits and Cooking Secrets
Once only found on menus, edamame is quickly becoming a favorite snack all around the world, and for good reason. This delicious food is prepared from immature soybeans that are left in the pod. They are boiled or steamed and usually served with salt.
As this food becomes more and more popular, some people are left wondering about its health benefits. It’s only recently that this food has been recognized as an alternative protein source, making vegetarians and vegans really happy but perhaps confusing some omnivores. It’s important before you start to eat something to fully understand any health benefits that it may have. Read on to learn more about this soybean and what eating it can do for you.
1. How to Cook Edamame
Most commonly, you will be able to buy this great snack in the freezer section of your favorite grocery store. It’s usually already cooked and just needs to be thawed and reheated before eating. The reason that it can be tricky to find fresh edamame is simple – it doesn’t keep very well once it’s been picked. It retains it’s nutritional content and great flavor a lot better if it has been blanched and then frozen soon after being picked. Otherwise, make sure that the pods are not brown or damaged. You may be able to store them a few days in the fridge without any noticeable decline in quality.
If you are lucky enough to purchase fresh pods that are in great condition simply blanche them and enjoy them with a little salt! Otherwise, there are usually two kinds of edamame available – frozen already shelled or still in the pods. It’s easy to heat up the edamame once you’ve chosen which kind you want. Simply bring a pot of water to a boil and quickly cook the soybeans to warm them up. If you’re in a big hurry you can even microwave them in a bowl with a splash of water. Either way they are easy to heat and a super filling snack.
2. How to Eat Edamame
The shelled beans are perfect for throwing into a dish that you are making, such as a casserole, soup, or cold salad. About twice the size of garden peas, they can replace them in a lot of dishes. Their texture is a little bit firmer, but it can be nice to contrast that with softer ingredients. Beans that are still in the pods are perfect to heat and enjoy as a snack. After heating them simply sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on the pod and use your mouth to extract the beans. You’ll love how fun they are to eat as well as how delicious they are! In the pods they make a great finger food at parties and can tide even the hungriest person over until it’s time for dinner.
For breakfast, edamame are perfect to throw in a veggie omelet. They add some much needed fiber to your breakfast and the protein contained in them will keep you full until lunch. Try folding them into an omelet with some other chopped veggies and a little cheese. Top your omelet with sour cream and some fresh tomatoes and you are setting yourself up for a successful day. This bean also pairs well in a cold chopped dip. Combine them with diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, and ranch dressing for a fun take on an easy salsa. Served with tortilla chips, this dip is sure to go fast at a party – and people will love the additional nutrition that the edamame provides!
3. Health Benefits of Edamame
Edamame is packed with fiber, making it a really healthy choice to improve your digestion. They have nine grams in just one half of a cup of shelled beans. This amazing amount of fiber comes with only 120 calories and boasts an incredible 11 grams of protein, making these a great snack for after your workout. Health conscious eaters will love the fact that one serving also offers part of your daily recommended Vitamin C, A, calcium, and even iron. The iron even rivals that of a serving of roasted chicken breast!
All in all, edamame is a wonderful way to get a lot of nutrients in a yummy snack. Soy consumption has been linked to good cholesterol levels in women and may even improve overall cholesterol levels in men. The protein that is contain in soy has a lot of health benefits, including repairing kidney damage and helping with insulin resistance in diabetics. Some people may worry about carbs in edamame, but they need not worry. There are just over 7 in each serving, a small amount compared to the other health benefits that this amazing snack offers.
4. Roasted Edamame as a Quick and Healthy Snack
One form of this snack that is becoming more available and common is when the beans are removed from the pod and then roasted. This dry roasted snack is crunchy and delicious, perfect to replace any afternoon chip cravings. Available varieties include lightly salted and wasabi beans. It’s important to make sure that you keep an eye on any sort of toppings that these edamame have been tossed in. Although the beans themselves are still just as healthy, you will want to be aware of any added salt or fat.
If you make your own trail mix try adding a handful of these delicious roasted beans to your next batch. They will rival peanuts as your new favorite, and the protein in them will keep you fulled during your hiking. It’s amazing that such a creamy bean can become such a delightfully crunchy treat after it has been dry roasted!
If you’ve never tried edamame before now is the time! This delicious bean is available at most stores and at a lot of restaurants. Don’t worry – if you’re unsure of how to prepare it the first time, getting it as an appetizer at a restaurant is a great way to get introduced and familiar with it. After that you’ll see why so many people stock up bags of this delicious snack in their freezer. It is an easy way to impress your company while still providing all the health benefits that you and your family need.
You’ll love how versatile it is and how healthy you will feel and be once you eat it. Just a serving a day will keep you full longer and help your body get the needed nutrients and vitamins. Try it either hot from the pod, shelled in a dish, or dry roasted – no matter which way you choose you’re sure to love this bean!