Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

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The first recorded mention of the word “Edamame” is in a thank you note from  the Buddhist saint Nichiren Shí´nin in 1275 to a parishioner who left him the  snack. Nichiren Shí´nin was the founder of the Nichiren Shu branch of Buddhism.

When the people of his native Japan where plagued by typhoons and political  strife, he wrote Treatise on Spreading Peace Throughout the Country by  Establishing Righteousness by which he converted many to his faith in the Lotus  Sutra. He also consequently suffered political persecution and exile.

edamameEdamame means “twig-bean” in Japanese and it is the fresh pod of the soybean  plant. Soy is the highly versatile and productive plant known throughout the  world and brought to the American colonies by Ben Franklin. In 1904, chemist  George Washington Carver discovered that soy was a valuable source of both  protein and oil. Edamame, unlike the field soy plant, was developed as a tender  shell bean meant to be cooked, seasoned, and then shelled like a peanut. This  unfermented soy food has long been a delicious appetizer in Asia and is now  popular in the U.S..

Seventy percent of the Edamame sold here is imported, but the fresh pods  in our east coast TakeHome cases are organically grown in the USA. Roasted  in piquant spices, smothered in herbs, or blended into a hummus, Edamame  may be enjoyed so many ways. Its valuable nutrients include protein (28g  per cup) and it is high in manganese, Omega 3s, and Isoflavone as well.

Preparation: Put Edamame pods into boiling water or a steamer for a few  minutes. Remove. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Just pop open the pod and eat  the bean. Discard shell. Repeat.

Freshly harvested veggies always taste best eaten as soon as possible.  Pods may be kept in clamshell container in the fridge. Use fresh pods within  three days or shell and freeze the beans for later use.

- Heidi Lewis


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