My in-laws live in a house that sits on 11 acres, 10 acres of the land is farmed by a local farmer.
This years crop: SOYBEANS.
As a vegetarian, I periodically consume soy-based products including tofu, soy milk, and soy sauce. Although I oftentimes drive by soybean fields, I have never given much thought to a soybean plant until today.
Today, my father-in-law asked if I have any interest in edamame. I gave him the “don’t you know who I am??” look. I LOVE to eat edamame (while dining at Japanese restaurants), LOVE. Has anyone ever walked in to a Japanese restaurant and NOT ordered edamame as an appetizer?
Edamame has long time been the beginning to many feasts shared with close friends and family. Edamame begins the “let’s dig in, let’s feed our bellies, lets get to know each other better.”
I can remember the first time my grandparents experienced a Japanese Restaurant. Living in small towns their entire lives, they have not been exposed to the variety of restaurants that are available in larger cities. However naive, they are always willing to “try something new.” I decided to take them to a small sub-par Japanese restaurant in Fort Wayne, IN, possibly the ONLY sushi restaurant available in the entire town. Good sushi or bad sushi, I was grateful to allow my grandparents an experience that would forever last in their memories.
(Do you remember the first time you ate sushi?? I do.)
Grandpa mistook the side of ginger as salmon, he picked up his ball of wasabi and swallowed the entire thing. Despite the look on his face as he felt the burn, grandma chose to pick up her wasabi and do the same thing! Swallow, cringe. Grandma tried every sushi roll I ordered, not able to hide the anxiety, and ardor. I know we ordered edamame that day, the edamame was truly the FIRST experience grandma & grandpa had at a Japanese Restaurant.
(I’m bummed I didn’t take any photos that day!)
So anyway, I was encouraged to saunter through the soybean fields and to collect a bowl full of pods. The pods can be harvested and eaten as “edamame” when the seeds are fully grown, BEFORE the pods turn yellow. Most of the plants I came across today were still green, but I can see they will soon be changing in color.
The green soybeans are difficult to remove from their pods unless they are boiled or steamed for 4-5 minutes, after which they are easily shelled. I learned to boil the pods in SALTY water until the beans inside the pods are tender.
Mocking the Japanese restaurants, I sprinkled sea salt over the edamame after draining, prior to eating.
This edamame was the perfect snack.
How often do you drive by soybean fields?
Do you have any stories that involve edamame consumption? I’d love you to share.