Before stocking up or planting edamame, arm yourself with ample knowledge by asking yourself:
“How long do edamame last? How do you prepare edamame? What is the shelf life of edamame?”
Edamame consumption has been all the rage – sparking both positive and negative debates.
Read on to get a better understanding of these young soybeans.
What are Edamame? (How do you pronounce anyway?)
Edamame are young, immature soybeans. As for the pronunciation – use 4 syllables, i.e., e-da-ma-me (simple, right?)
Highly popular in Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea, edamame are the go-to plant-based foods used in various relishes.
For instance, Japan is synonymous with serving edamame as an appetizer. The seeds are retained and cooked in the pods, though the casings are not palatable.
Edamame are mostly sold in their pods, although you can also find them hulled, either fresh or frozen (pre-cooked or raw).
How to Prepare Edamame – 2 Simple Ways
In Japan, young soybeans are prepared by boiling in salty water.
Depending on the maturity of the beans, cooking time takes approximately 4-7 minutes, which leaves them soft, but crunchy.
After boiling, the pods are immersed in ice cold water to stop further cooking. The fine hairs on the pods are removed by scrubbing with salt.
Another common preparation method is to dry-roast the beans. For extra zing, add a dash of vinegar and season well with salt.
Dry-roasted edamame make a wonderful treat and a healthy snack.
Opt to add them to salads or stir-fry dishes. A great way to use edamame, whether dry-roasted or fresh is to make hummus.
To Eat or Not to Eat Edamame?
Edamame is one of the food items which spark controversy in terms of nutritional value.
On one hand, you have cult-like followers who swear by the choke-full of nutrients in edamame, terming it a complete protein, since it contains all the 9 essential amino acids.
On the other hand, soybeans are well known to contain phytoestrogens or isoflavones – which mimic estrogen behavior in women hence can disrupt hormonal balance and worse still, predispose one to cancer.
One thing remains true: edamame consumption dates back to more than 2,000 years ago, with China recognized as the place of origin.
As far as nutritional components are concerned, edamame are known to be rich in the following: Rich in folate; Fiber; Vitamins – Bs, C, K, A, E; Minerals – potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese; Omega 3 fatty acids as well as isoflavones.
As such, you are bound to reap both benefits and side effects of consuming edamame. The key is in moderation – eat moderately and listen to your own body!
Shelf Life of Edamame
If you grow your own edamame, farm to table option is the best. This means consuming the soybeans as soon as you harvest them.
This ensures that essential nutrients like vitamins are not lost.
Notwithstanding, short-term or long-term storage is inevitable, whether you grow your own or buy. As such, being aware of the shelf life of edamame comes in handy.
Raw, fresh edamame beans, hulled or in pods have a fairly short shelf life when left in the open.
Refrigerate them for short-term use or preserve them for long-term purposes.
In case you opt for the pantry, edamame lasts at room temperature in a very short span. Space the pods out on a breathable bag, keep in a well-aerated spot, away from moisture as well as direct heat and use within a day.
When stored in the refrigerator, fresh edamame are best eaten within 2 days.
The shelf life of cooked immature soybeans depends on their storage conditions. Refrigerate or freeze them.
Store cooked edamame in Ziploc bags or sealable containers.
Refrigeration is ideal if you intend to use them within 7 days. This is because the beans start to lose quality due to humidity in the refrigerator.
When refrigerating edamame, leave them unwashed, since moisture facilitates rotting.
On the other hand, freezing cooked soybeans prolongs their shelf life. Well frozen and cooked edamame last up to 1 year.
3 Preservation Techniques to Prolong Shelf Life of Edamame
Enjoy edamame all year round by trying out pickled recipes. Pickling is an ancient preservation technique used to curb food spoilage. It entails fermenting food items in a brine solution.
When pickling, stick to a specific recipe to guarantee optimal results. Pickling solutions can be sweet or sour.
Basic ingredients for pickling include water, salt, vinegar, sugar and/or spices of your choice.
Prepare pickling solution by bringing to boil the basic ingredients first, before adding the items to be pickled.
Leave the items to boil in the solution for a few minutes, before transferring them on to mason jars and left to cool.
Once cooled, seal the jars tightly and store in a cool, dry place for fermentation to occur. For optimal results, leave the jars undisturbed for a few days. This allows flavor to develop.
Store them in the refrigerator. Use opened cans within two weeks at most.
Unopened cans can last several months. Pickled soybeans will change from green to dark brown.
How to use pickled edamame
Enhance your meals by making use of pickled edamame. Who can resist the rich, sharp, tangy flavor they impart? Throw them on a salad or when making hummus or sauce.
Moisture extraction is a guaranteed food preservation method. You can dry edamame in various ways – oven drying, using a dehydrator or steaming basket.
Drying works well for hulled ones. Go a notch higher and season the beans with vinegar and salt.
To ensure the beans dry at the same time, do the following:
- Select uniformly shaped beans
- Spread them evenly on lined baking sheets or trays before drying.
Oven drying and the dehydration machine should take roughly 10 hours.
Keep tossing the beans after few hours to ensure thorough drying on all sides. Allow the beans to cool before transferring them in airtight containers.
Store in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight or heat.
Well dried soybeans last long, up to 3 good years.
Place opened packages of dried soybeans in re-sealable freezer containers for maximum shelf life.
Your faithful freezer never disappoints when it comes to food preservation. Observe constant freezing temperatures of 0° throughout.
When freezing, use heavy duty airtight containers. Pack the beans to the full to prevent airlocks which cause spoilage.
Freeze in small batches to avoid thawing excess quantities which may not be consumed at once.
Frozen immature soybeans lasts up to 1 year.
How to cook frozen edamame
You don’t have to thaw frozen soybeans. Simply throw them in salted, boiling water, blanch for a few minutes and they are ready to eat.
Do Edamame Go Bad? How to Identify Spoiled Edamame
It is easy to identify spoiled edamame beans or pods. Here’s how:
- Discoloured pods or beans indicate the onset of decay. Look out for blackened or dark drown patches. Discard them immediately to prevent the rot from spreading. For frozen ones, look for freezer burns which will also cause discolouration.
- Slimy and squishy texture is another sign of expiration. Unfortunately, you cannot salvage slimy edamame. Throw them away or use in compost manure.
- Mold growth screams of decay. Do away with moldy beans or pods instantly.
- Foul smelling soybeans or pods points to spoilage. In case there are only a few rotten ones, discard them to prevent the rot from spreading.
You may be wondering, “What happens when I eat spoiled immature soybeans?” You may have accidentally munched a few spoiled edamame without your knowledge.
Consuming expired food is a leading cause of food poisoning and bacterial infections. Watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, headaches or vomiting and seek immediate medical attention.
Final Thoughts on “How Long Do Edamame Last?”
Savour the creamy, nutty soybeans in their fullness.
Going through the above guide helps you understand all about the young soybeans, how to prepare them, tell-tall signs of spoilage, their shelf life as well as preservation tips for maximum use.