I suspect that most readers here, and in particular anyone near the Pacific Rim, will know about edamame, green soybeans in salty pods, a nice Asian hors-d’oeuvre which I normally associate with cold beer and friendly talk. You can have them at home too, and this evening I discovered they have a surprising effect on children.

Good supermarkets have them in the freezer, next to the frozen peas and beans and so on, and they work just the same: boil up a pot of water & toss them in for five minutes or less. Then, very quickly after you drain them but before they dry, sprinkle on lots of salt.

Our ten-year-old boy disdains fruits and vegetables, and would live entirely on hot dogs, cheese, and bread products if it weren’t for us forcing fruit at lunch and (at least) a serving of salad at dinner down his throat.

But edamame... they’re salty, and if you squeeze the pod just right the bean will shoot six inches into your mouth. Then you get to loft the empty pod into the empty-pod bowl in the middle of the table. This is fun! For the first time in an awfully long time, he was digging eagerly into a bowl of healthy green-colored food. Mind you, there was a certain amount of floor cleanup afterward.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: reub (Aug 24 2009, at 21:14)

Great Idea - just be careful if it becomes a disproportionate part of his diet as he grows up - the phytoestrogen might have detrimental effects in larger quantities.


From: Brian Mitchell (Aug 24 2009, at 21:22)

Your sun reminds me of myself as a kid. Green? Well I almost automatically didn't want to eat it. Edamame, though, was one of the first things to get me to change my mind again and is still sees my table at least once a week.

Do you guys like it hot or cold? It's interesting how different some people prepare it.


From: Michael Sippey (Aug 24 2009, at 23:08)

Yes! Edamame are big in our house with two young girls -- taste great, tons of fun and super easy to prepare. Plus, Mom and Dad love 'em, too.

We don't feed the kids the beer, though.


From: Julian Russell (Aug 24 2009, at 23:33)

My 2 year old has a fairly strong disdain for vegetables but can't eat enough fresh broad beans which I suspect is partly about the process of pulling them out of the pods. Will try these as well.


From: Mike (Aug 25 2009, at 15:30)

And if you can't afford to constantly buy edamame, you can get the "infinite edamame" pictured at:


Or here:


They even come in various colors now.


From: Cath (Aug 26 2009, at 05:00)

Try marinating the pods (after boiling) in a mixture of Mirin, Tamari and maybe some name-yer-fave hot sauce (just a little). I just stick it flat in a sealed baggie in the fridge and turn it over whenever I walk by to distribute the marinade. To take to a party or the deck, grab a serving bowl and the bag. It adds an extra step to the consumption process: a big slurp-suck!


From: Cath (Aug 26 2009, at 13:26)

Ooops! Please add some rice vinegar to the marinade mix: tastes waaaay better this way!


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