Edamam-YAY! Edamame, what is it?
Have you seen this beautiful legume that has recently been added to the farm stands? Edamame is a type of immature soybean that’s often found in Asian cuisines. It has actually been grown in China for over 7,000 years but has been introduced and used in American cuisine for just over a century. If you follow health food news, you may have seen that soy products have received a controversial rap over the last several years.
The main reason for this is that if they’re grown here in the U.S. they are often genetically modified to withstand heavy application of glyphosate, a dangerous herbicide that is also found in Round-Up. Conventional farms apply this toxic chemical with abandon, with very little consideration given to the negative health outcomes for the water systems, soil systems, or human consumers. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer (most commonly Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), liver and kidney damage, reproductive and developmental issues, and so much more. Due to this, health advocates have cautioned against conventionally grown soybeans as they have been found to retain high levels of glyphosate residues, along with the many other chemicals applied throughout the conventional growing processes. However, Woodside Farms is not a conventional farm. We are a certified naturally grown farm (you can read more on that here) therefore, grow and utilize organic practices. Our variety of edamame grown here is from organic seed – it’s called the Midori Giant if you want to read up on it.
Nutrition of Edamame:
Edamame is relatively low in carbs and calories but packed with protein and fiber. It’s also rich in healthy fats, folate, manganese, vitamin k, thiamine, iron, potassium, vitamin c, and zinc (and honestly so much more). Incorporating organic edamame in healthy doses has been found to be beneficial to heart health, especially if you’re swapping an animal protein source for edamame. It’s been found to improve lipid levels in the blood to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Its high fiber content has also been found to decrease cholesterol levels and block the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries. Additionally, organic soy has been found to help with bone health. The particular isoflavones found in soy have been found to impact bone metabolism and actually increase bone mineral density. These same soy isoflavones have been found to be phytoestrogens. This means that they essentially mimic estrogen in the body. This is why they may be helpful for women going through menopause, as they help mitigate the impact of hormonal decline. Additionally, organic soybeans eaten in moderation have also been found to help with weight loss and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Edamame can be used in so many fun and easy summer recipes. You can add shelled edamame to pasta along with a variety of seasonal vegetables, top your salads with a half cup of edamame for a protein boost, add it to a stir-fry, eat as a snack, add to rice and beans or succotash. There are so many options! I like to add it to my hummus for a protein-filled snack like this recipe below that I got from Cookie + Kate. I hope you enjoy!
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 to 3 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 medium clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (10 ounces), preferably organic, defrosted if frozen*
- 2 to 4 tablespoons water, as necessary
- Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- In the bowl of your food processor or high-powered blender, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Process for about 1½ minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides and base of the bowl as necessary until the mixture is well blended.
- Add the cilantro and process for about 1 minute, pausing to scrape down the bowl as necessary, until the herbs have blended into the mixture and the mixture is nice and smooth.
- Add half of the edamame to the food processor, plus 2 tablespoons water, and process for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining edamame and process until the hummus is thick and quite smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes more. If your hummus is too thick or chunky, run the food processor while drizzling in 1 to 2 tablespoons more water, as necessary, until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Taste and blend in additional salt if the hummus doesn’t taste awesome yet (I usually add another 1/4 teaspoon). Scrape the hummus into a small serving bowl. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with some additional cilantro leaves and a few sesame seeds, if desired. Leftover hummus keeps well, chilled, for 4 to 6 days.