>> Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My son is pretty picky - especially when it comes to vegetables. He would rather be hungry than snack on raw carrots. He would rather go without dinner than face a stick of raw celery. But one vegetable he happily snacks on - even asks for - is edamame.
For those of you who haven't experienced edamame before, it's a simple but wonderful thing. Edamame is young soybeans - soybeans harvested before they start to harden when they are but wee babes - that are typically boiled in water, maybe with a little salt added.
Soybeans are an excellent source of molybdenum, and a very good source of manganese and protein. They're also a good source of iron, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and potassium - just to name a few. Soy may have other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a good cholesterol level and keeping bones strong and dense, though it's doubtful that snacking on a handful of edamame alone is going to have a significant effect on your cholesterol level or bone density.
I'd be remiss if Ididn't mention concerns about excessive soy consumption - such as increased levels of phytoestrogens, or isoflavones (found in abundance in soy foods), in infants consuming soy formula and isoflavones' effect on thyroid function. Again, those may be valid concerns if soy is a big portion of your diet, but a snack of edamame every now and then isn't likely to impact your thyroid function.
We call edamame "poppers" because you pop the beans out of the shell straight into your mouth. Poppers is a lot easier for a little one to say than edamame, and it makes eating beans a lot more fun.
You can boil, microwave, or steam edamame for a tasty treat. I like to buy plain, no-salt added, frozen edamame in the shell and boil for 5 min. I used to add salt to the pods at the end, but I've discovered that we all like it just as well without the salt. It is good with a light sprinkling of flaky sea salt, but I leave that to our visits to the sushi bar.
If you have a picky eater - adult or child - give these a try! They're fun, tasty, and good for you to boot!