myPod: Edamame (soybeans in pods)

8 May

A beloved bean

Boiling up a bag of edamame is even easier than making ice pops, so you could say this is something of a lame thing to post about, but I’ve really been meaning to share my appreciation for this useful food item for a while now. And today, Mother’s Day, when it happened to save this mom a lot of trouble over dinner, seemed like the right time.

At under $3 per bag of frozen (even organic!) edamames make for a reasonably priced appetizer or T.V. snack for two to four people. Soybeans are full of fiber and anti-oxidants and contain no animal fats (but do contain those all-important omega-3 oils). They are tasty and quick to get on the table, and shelled, can replace lima beans (which I hate) and peas (which I quite like) in many recipes.

But what I really love about them is how companionable they are. They remind me of an leisurely, chatty evening shelling pigeon peas around a hurricane lamp in the mountains of Dominican Republic when I was doing a little humanitarian work. They remind me of dining at an Asian restaurant in San Juan with my dear, departed friend, Frances Borden, in the early days of our friendship.  They are how my son and I might start a meal…popping beans right out of the pod and into our mouths (and laughing when the beans shoot across the room instead), or how we might sit around watching the news with my parents, the pile of full pods getting lower and the pile of empty pods getting higher. Farmer Steve got Leandro to try the fresh garden peas we were picking at our C.S.A. last year, because they look like edamame pods.

So get a bag and keep it in the fridge for the next time you don’t know what to do for dinner and need to buy some time, or you want something more virtuous than chips to accompany your favorite show or a movie night.

Boil up a quart or so of water and add 1 lb. frozen edamame in the pods. When the water returns to the boil, cook for three minutes, drain and serve.

Leftover beans can be added to salads (including rice and pasta salads), stir-fries and soups.

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