My first real experience with edamame was when I was in Japan, many many years ago. It’s hard to imagine, but just less than 20 years ago, Japanese food was not nearly as common or accessible as it is today. Edamame was not commonly available in grocery stores. It was served in Japanese restaurants, but those were pretty rare, too.
When I was in Japan, my host family stopped one day along the road near their house, and bought branches that looked just like this, from a man selling them from the back of his truck. We took them home and picked them off, steamed them and added salt… AMAZING. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve also become quite the edamame snob… partially because I remember how fantastic, sweet, and buttery, those first edamame were.
With that in mind, one of our experimental plantings this spring was a plot of edamame. They generally like warmer weather than Oregon typically has, but with our great southern exposure, I thought I’d give them a try. They were slooow to put on beans, but today I was picking tomatoes, and glanced over to realize that the beans have filled out and are finally read to be eaten! At least… I decided they were close enough.
I brought a few branches in the house, and we picked the bean pods off, just like I did years ago in Japan.
We picked about a half pound of bean pods!
Steamed with a little kosher salt sprinkled on for dinner… these were the edamame I remembered. So excited that we were able to grow them right here in our front yard!! I can’t wait to eat the rest of them.