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Edamame, a shell bean, is also called an immature green soybean. The popularity of this bean has grown in the past decade and is now easily found frozen in most major supermarkets. Edamame is of Chinese origin and was developed in Japan especially for eating out of the pod. Edamame is a variation on the same yellow and black field soybean that is transformed into many popular soy products such as tofu, miso, and soymilk. However, because of its recent introduction into the U.S. market, only a small percentage of U.S. soybean fields are devoted to growing edamame.
Some call edamame the super or wonder vegetable because it is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes edamame a complete protein source, similar to meat or eggs. Edamame also contains isoflavonoids. They are found in all soy products and are being studied for their health benefits.
Availability: Edamame is rarely sold fresh, but is available frozen all year.
To eat beans right out of the shell, boil them until they are al dente (still slightly firm). Rinse to cool slightly, and season as desired. You can easily suck the al dente beans out of the shell. Beans may also be shelled and added to other dishes, such as salads. Beans are easy to shell after they are boiled briefly.
CDC.gov - 5 a Day