by Chrysa Smith

It was Pomegranates. It was Blood Oranges. Now it’s Edamame.
It’s the latest trendy produce in the restaurant spotlight. I must admit, the name is kind of exotic, isn’t it? Apparently, the word edamame means something like beans on branches or twig bean. But what exactly is it? It’s soybean. But not just any soybean. It’s one that’s picked just at the height of ripening, differentiating it (I suppose) from those soybeans picked ‘past due?’
I guess it’s way more dramatic to use the Asian name for what farmers grow acres of in the heartland. But Edamame also has something to do with the way the beans are prepared: in salted water. Of course, I add salt to almost everything I boil, so nothing new there for me.
Remember the famous scene from Forest Gump, where Bubba tells Forest about all the different ways shrimp are prepared? Boiled, fried, baked, grilled, etc., etc. etc. Well edamame is pretty darn close. Log onto the Food Network site and you can find edamame simply boiled with salt and served with a meal, to dips, edamame brittle, burgers, hummus and salads. And if you find yourself at mid-higher range restaurants these days, you’ll likely find it on your menu.
Nutritionally speaking, it’s pretty strong in the fiber department, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese, plus Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Phosphorus. But even more interesting to me, especially living life ‘in the middle’, is the effect soy is known to have on menopausal women.
Scientifically speaking, soybeans contain phyloestrogens—similar to female estrogen. Studies have shown that adding soybeans to your diet can reduce the chance of heart disease, hot flashes and osteoporosis.
Culinarily speaking, I just had a delicious piece of flounder served over a veggie medley, including edamame—It added a nice little firmness and taste to a tomato, corn, edamame mix.If a veggie can do all this good stuff, and can be made to be tasty, I’m in. Now all I need to find are some trendy veggies that can improve my eyesight, reduce belly fat, and improve my memory.