In this article, we will look at how to grow edamame starting with planting as well as when to harvest edamame and how to enjoy them. Follow us along!
Edamame is originally from East Asia. It is relatively new to North American gardeners. Most gardeners lack the knowledge of growing edamame thus reducing the number of farmers growing them.
So What Exactly Is Edamame?
Simply defined, Edamame is soybeans. It is the name given to immature soybean pod.
Mature edamame pods are hard, and dry, and used to make soy milk and tofu. These two products are loved and adored by people across the world.
Edamame, because its immature soybean, is usually steamed in water before eating. It is eaten by squeezing the beans out of their pods and popping them directly into the mouth.
Sometimes these beans are referred to as either edamame beans or edamame peas. They have become iconic ingredients associated with healthy, flavorful, and much-loved Asian dishes. In Japan, Edamame has a more specific meaning. It refers to dishes made from the young soybeans enclosed in their pods.
Soy is a term used in Japanese cooking in many shapes and forms. From soy sauce to tofu, that’s why even today, edamame mostly refers to cooked soybean pods.
When To Harvest Edamame
Soybean grows within 90 and 150 days from seed to pod. Edamame is ready for harvest when the pods turn bright green and are full of plump seeds.
The pods must be at least 2 – 3-inches long. This is between 70 – 110 days. Edamame is harvested in its immature state because that’s how they are enjoyed.
You have a small window of time to pick edamame almost about five days before the seeds begin to develop a bitter flavor and a fibrous, stringy consistency that makes them inedible.
Yellowing on the pods is a sign that indicates you’ve left the pods on the plants too long and you should leave them to mature.
A Simple Guide To Edamame Growing
You can grow edamame from a seed sold as soybeans. It is essential to pick the right variety of soybeans. Different beans are for different uses; some are for making tofu or for flour, and the black soybeans are better for drying. For edamame, choose the green soybean varieties.
Edamame grows fast and takes 70 to 90 days from seeds before they’re ready to be harvested.
They are very sensitive to frost and need proper timing if you are growing them outdoors. We recommend you sprout them indoors to give you a head start before transplanting them outside in late spring.
Germinating edamame seeds. To save you precious time when growing edamame, germinate the seeds indoors. This method will give you control over the temperature and soil moisture. Edamame needs at least 70°F to germinate, and plenty of light. Too much water causes the bean to rot before it gets a chance to sprout a seedling.
Planting. You can plant either in your pots or in the garden.
For pots, check the number of seeds you have in the packet and prepare a germination pot for each one. You can also use compostable seedling pots that make transplanting easy without damaging the roots. Choose a pot that is 2 inches tall and fill it with compost. Place the seed in the middle and cover it with a layer of soil at least a finger deep. Avoid sowing cracked or scarred edamame seeds, as they will not germinate.
For the garden. Prepare your soil by loosening it. Edamame plant thrives in rich, loamy soils, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Do not plant in clay or heavy soils, as this will affect the growth of your plants and stunt them or even cause root rot if the water doesn’t drain properly. If your soil is not well-draining, use soil amendments like peat moss or bark to improve its drainage.
Watering. Provide your planted edamame with enough water once planted. For proper watering, use a spray bottle to mist the pots daily, ensuring that the soil is moist but not soggy. For gardens avoid using a hosepipe, rather use drip irrigation.
The Right Time To Transplant
When you start your seeds indoors, you will need to transplant them at the right time. Edamame seeds take 7 days or more to sprout. These seeds are similar to peas or beans seedlings and produce large, heart-shaped leaves from the time they are small. Once you have at least 4 leaves per seedling, you can start planning to transplant them to your garden.
How To Harvest Edamame
Edamame has a short window period in which the beans are sweet. If they go past a few days, they become inedible and too tough.
Pick these beans when the pods are full.
Examine pods on different edamame plants starting at 75 days after planting. Look for a bright green color on the pods, like the one for snow pea pods. As soon as you notice them, start harvesting immediately. If some of the pods have started yellowing, do not harvest them rather leave them to mature as soybeans.
Harvest them as you would sugar snap peas or green beans. Hold them by the stem with one hand and snap them off the pods with the other hand. Do not pull the pods with one hand without supporting it because you will end up ripping off a branch of the plant or even uprooting it.
How Does Edamame Beans Taste Like?
Edamame beans taste sweet and mildly nutty. They are quite similar to beans, but when compared to peas they have a firmer consistency.
You must cook these beans before eating. Eating them raw can cause digestive problems. This applies to both edamame served in their pods, as well as the shelled and frozen versions you can find in stores.
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Edamame beans are not only delicious but also healthy. They are easy to grow at home and an authentic ingredient for Asian dishes.
These beans taste great when cooked the traditional Japanese way. Simply boil or steam with the pods on for 5 minutes. Sprinkle salt and serve. Pop the beans in your mouth as you eat and discard the shells.
You can also remove the shell and add them t dishes like rice, soups, salads, stir-fries, etc.