Friday, June 29, 2007

Spotlight On Produce: Edamame

Recently, the more I read recipes and publications about healthy eating, the more I see edamame as a cooking option. McDonald's has even added it to one of their salads. But what is edamame, exactly?

Edamame, a Japanese word meaning "beans on branches," is more commonly known as the soybean. The soybeans are harvested at the peak of the green season and boiled in the pod. You can buy either whole edamame or shelled varieties.

My local grocery store sells an organic variety in the frozen vegetables section, and it's added a lot of options to my repertoire of healthy foods to offer my picky toddler. I steam the beans in the microwave, then sprinkle cheese on top, and he eats them up. This is a great option for us, because my son is not a big meat eater, and soy products are high in protein.

A versatile item, edamame can be added to a large number of dishes. Try tossing a handful into stirfry, or add to salads. Mash them well and add to guacamole or mashed potatoes. Add to sauces, soups, or homemade hummus. The flavor is mild, so if you have vegetable-hating kids, this is a good option for disguising in other dishes.

Have you tried edamame? What are some of your favorite ways to cook with it?

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