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Edamame, immature soybeans still in their pods, gained popularity in the US in the 1980s when the TV mini-series “Shogun” depicted edamame as an appetizer in a sushi restaurant.

Appearance & Flavor

These bright green pods are covered in a light fuzz and the beans inside are firmly attached. The beans have a slick coating and are dense yet soft, with a nutty, lightly sweet flavor. The pods are inedible-tough and stringy. When ripe, they look and feel full since the beans take up most of the pod. Avoid those that are soft, not dense, or discolored.

Ways to Enjoy

They are best cooked, boiled, and steamed. Snacking on the pods is the most popular, yet you can take the beans out and add them to soups, salad, noodles, and stir-fries. You can also blend them into a dip, dessert, or a plant-based burger. Try this sweet and spicy snack for your next football gathering.

Availability & Origin

Edamame is produced year-round and native to China. Fresh ones still attached to the branches are prevalent across Asia and Japan as well. As they are somewhat perishable, they are available frozen across Europe, Australia, and North America. In the US, Arkansas is the largest producer of edamame.


If you happen upon fresh pods, consuming them immediately is best, but you can always freeze them yourself for extended use. After freezing them, you will get up to six months of storage. If you’ve already cooked them, you can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days.