It’s the new year and so it’s time to eat all those healthy snacks and live consciously.

I am one to snack.  I love all kinds of snacks, especially the unhealthy ones.  So as I continue to push towards a healthier lifestyle this year, I have to find alternatives for my obsession with gummies and potato chips.

A snack that I love and our readers like to try is our chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough!  Just eat it with a spoon, it’s healthy and low carb, and you’re even getting that protein in.

But my go to healthy snack is edamame.

Edamame are that yummy appetizer that you can get at a Japanese restaurant.  They can be served warm or cold and with all kinds of interesting spices and seasonings.

Edamame are immature soybeans and are thought to be native to China.  There are ideas for their domestication that are traced back as far as 5000 years but the first written record of the food is around 200 BCE in China with a reference to the beans being used for medicinal purposes.  It is thought that the Japanese were first introduced to Edamame from China.

From soybeans we get a variety of different products.  The soybean before it reaches maturity is edamame, it is harvested before they are fully grown and make the beans more tender to eat.  If the beans are soaked, they create a sort of milk (soy milk) and that could then be made into tofu.  The beans could also be used by smashing them and adding differing microbes to get miso paste and soy sauce.

The National Soybean Research Library concludes that there are over 2,500 varieties of soybeans that have been domesticated and cultivated, so there are a variety of options. But there was little interest in soy in America until the early 1900s.

A professor of Agriculture at the Tokyo Imperial University in Japan, Charles C. Georgeson introduced edamame to a US Market.  They were marketed as an alternative to lima or butter beans but they didn’t gain much traction in America until world war two.  Right before the war, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg began to can the edamame and they were shipped to the men overseas.  They were planted in victory gardens but after the war the interest in the vegetable all but died.

But then an interest in Japanese culture in the 1980’s swept the nation with the TV drama Shogun.  The Japanese were seen eating edamame when going out for a beer and sake, similar to Americans eating the free peanuts with a drink.  In Japan, edamame comes with a beer.  So an interest in edamame was born, Americans flocked to new Japanese restaurants to try sushi and to eat this soy bean that they saw on television.

So how do you make edamame?

Making edamame is super easy!  All you need to do is steam them!

You can have a dish and add a little bit of water to it with all the edamame and just microwave them for a minute or two until they are all warm.

Or you can boil water on the stove and steam them above with a steamer.

My favorite add ins:

My go to with edamame is putting on a drizzling of sesame oil with some kosher salt and red pepper flakes.  It’s delicious and a healthy snack!

About the author

Alice Cash is the Marketing Manager for Jubilance by day and an award winning Theatre Director by night.  Leading the podcast Weekly Woman, she loves her candid conversations with women from all over the world about how they live and the amazing things they are doing to make a difference. Alice is also the editor of the bi-monthly newsletter the Jubilee, a blog dedicated to the power of female wellness especially concerning menstruation.  She’s worked in France creating theatre pieces and taught drama and filmmaking to women and children in Haiti.  She graduated from Georgetown University and holds two master degrees from NYU and The New School.  Alice has traveled to  40+ countries, including Tibet.  She is a New Yorker and can often be found in Central Park, searching out the best bubble tea, or directing a play, you never know where she’ll show up. @alicesadventuresinwonderworld
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