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  • Edamame / The World's Healthiest Snack

  • Created & Produced by John Daub

  • ONLY in JAPAN

  • Edamame

  • They're immature soy beans

  • usually boiled or steamed

  • a little salt

  • and I love them.

  • You can eat edamame frozen anytime

  • but between the end of June and the beginning of September

  • they're harvest fresh

  • and available at all the Japanese supermarkets

  • and it's by far my favourite summer snack

  • But what exactly are edamame?

  • Where do they come from and

  • how are the grown?

  • The name in Japanese gives you a clue

  • EDA means stem or branch

  • MAME means bean

  • To get the complete story I came to

  • Chiba prefecture near Tokyo to a city called Noda.

  • The best edamame are found nearby and

  • Chiba is very close to Tokyo,

  • known for great produce.

  • The middle of the prefecture is mostly farms

  • and beautiful flat countryside.

  • In the center of Noda is Yumeaguri Noda,

  • a produce coop

  • and they sell some of the best edamame in town!

  • The store just opened and customers are quick to snag up

  • the morning's fresh harvested edamame.

  • 400 yen or about $4 get you 300 grams of right off the stem edamame.

  • Yumeaguri has several varieties of of Edamame

  • that's right! There are dozens of cultivars!

  • There are edamame products too like Edamame toufu.

  • See those edamame beans?

  • Edamame soda?

  • Yupit's green, sweet and slightly salty with a hint of edamame.

  • National snack brands also cash in on

  • the summer edamame craze!

  • Executive director of Yumeaguri Noda is Sekine-san

  • who was nice enough to show me his farm

  • to get a better understanding on how edamame are made

  • and what makes them so darn good.

  • We grabbed a wheel barrel and headed to his field out back.

  • Starting in April, he hand plants the edamame seeds

  • in the field where they start sprouting within a week.

  • Here they are after 2 weeks. No soy bean pods yet.

  • Sekine-san and I were after the immature soy beans

  • which were down this way.

  • His family harvests them fresh daily in the summer

  • from June to August when the weather is best

  • and they're in season.

  • He's got a fair sized field,

  • all hand planted which means a lot of long days here.

  • Edamame is probably Japan's no.1 snack

  • especially in the summer

  • when it's enjoyed with copious amounts of beer at izakaya,

  • rooftop gardens or in homes all over the country.

  • Edamame are immature beans so you have to harvest them early.

  • Not yet.

  • The thickness of the pod is still 4-5mm.

  • At harvest time. the thickness of the pod will be

  • 10-12 millimeters

  • So they're not ready yet.

  • So - next week?

  • Well, maybe the week after that.

  • So you're probably wondering

  • What makes edamame so great?

  • Here are some facts.

  • Are Edamame Soy Beans? No!

  • Soy Beans are mature while Edamame are the immature soft version of them, thus the different name.

  • It's called Edamame when still in the pod

  • and Mukimame when serves just as a bean.

  • Avoid Edamame that is yellowish or shrunken.

  • The pod should look plump and firm.

  • Edamame are usually boiled in salted water or steamed.

  • I prefer them unsalted though.

  • What makes them the perfect snack?

  • They're high in fiber, calcium, amino acids, and a ton of minerals and vitamins.

  • Low is sugar and fat and almost no cholesterol.

  • Around Tokyo, Edamame are planted in April and harvested in June but different areas have different seasons.

  • Edamame must be eaten within 3 days

  • when harvested fresh so the best are always local.

  • They can last up to a year when frozen.

  • Most people eat them as an appetizer

  • Much healthier than french fries & potato chips!

  • The Japanese word Edamame entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003.

  • Don't eat the pod! That's just gross.

  • Eat the beans inside.

  • Do they grow on a tree or in the ground?

  • Let's harvest some edamame with Sekine-san right now.

  • It's not really that hard to harvest

  • Sekine-san just pulls them from the ground!

  • The plants are about 80-100 centimeters high.

  • When is edamame ready to be pulled?

  • Sekine-san explains.

  • This edamame pod

  • this plumpness means good and ready

  • the condition of the stem

  • the colour of the leaves

  • these are signs that

  • it's ready to be harvested right away.

  • I was a little curious about how they taste raw like this.

  • I mean, we eat almost all vegetables raw in salads.

  • It can't be bad, right?

  • The pods are hard to open

  • The beans are hard too when uncooked.

  • Hmmmhaha!

  • How is it?

  • It tastes different than the taste boiled, right?

  • Well, it just tastes like a raw vegetable

  • Just boil it really quick for a few minutes

  • Put it in boiling water - really hot

  • then cool it down in ice water

  • it will bring out the taste better

  • That's right! It'll get tastier!

  • Sohow do you eat edamame?

  • Here's one.

  • I've been eating it the same way for years

  • like a hamster

  • The salt is on the outside and

  • I like sucking it dry, typewritter the things out.

  • Was that odd?

  • Yeah, a little strange but no problem.

  • That's how I eat it.

  • Here's a demo on how some ladies eat Edamame in Japan.

  • Oh, you're eating it differently!

  • Yeah, that's how women often eat it

  • one bean at a time

  • Take a bean out and eat.

  • That's the ladies way.

  • Sekine-san demonstrates how he eats it.

  • Just push it a little here

  • it comes out easily

  • He just holds it up like a harmonica and pops it in his mouth.

  • Give it a try!

  • Rub it in salt and then put it in boiling water

  • for 4 minutes

  • when finished, quickly put it in ice water

  • and this bright green colour will show

  • that's the secret to eating delicious edamame

  • I wanted to know about when the different varieties of Edamame and how they're grown.

  • There are many types like cha-mamae, aomame

  • but the one that is most grown in this region

  • is the Aomame variety

  • Of the Aomame, we produce this one called Aji-Fuka

  • Aji-Fuka is our main edamame crop now

  • After that we have to harvest ones depending

  • on the weather

  • The types of Edamame

  • there are also so many seed companies so

  • simply the number of seeds that

  • JA introduces to us is oner 50 kinds

  • Within those types, each farmer will choose

  • what's suitable for their field

  • whether for taste or for the amount of harvest

  • so they will choose what to harvest

  • based on their needs

  • Naturally in February or March when it is cold,

  • edamame doesn't grow well.

  • Farmers use plastic green houses or row covers

  • to keep them warm making edamame grow faster

  • Farms all over the country

  • From Hokkaido to Kyushu

  • there exists so many edamame farmers

  • in different regions

  • but here in Noda, it's fairly warm

  • so here, you can plant the seeds in February

  • but places like Yamagata (in Tohoku)

  • famous for Da-da Chamame

  • Gunma for Tengu Mame - or Niigata

  • they plant after the snow has melted