One of the very wonderful things about living in Lawrence is there is always new food to try somewhere. And, although we tend to get into a rut at our favorite places (Milton's, Free State, and Paisanos are our trinity) I'm very glad that we decided to try an appetizer of edamame (ed-uh-ma-mey) at Zen Zero one night this summer.
Edamame are soybeans picked in the green stage. They are then typically boiled and frozen, although they can be eaten fresh. I like mine steamed and salted a bit, but they can be eaten cold. They're also loaded with protein, which is very cool for those of us who don't get enough in other ways (I'm still questing for truly humane chickens).
And they're so fun to eat and just neat to look at! When edamame are steamed they turn this beautiful technicolor green. The pods, which are inedible, are covered in tiny white hairs, but the beans inside are slippery and smooth. In Asia (so the internet tells me) they're eaten like peanuts, which seems like an apt comparison, but the moisture of the edamame makes them so much more tasty. They just slide down your throat like an oyster.
So, of course, being me, I've been thinking of trying to grow some edamame of my own. I sat down tonight and did a serious search for where they grow successfully and where I can get seeds. I found Wannamaker Seeds which has both seeds and information about planting, and Seed Savers Exchange which has seeds in smaller quantities, but in less variety. According to Wannamaker, they can be grown in Kansas--which seems like a silly thing for me to have wondered about as I live just a few miles from acres and acres of soybean fields. I think what threw me is that I read that they also do well in the Northwest where the climate couldn't be more different than here. Evidently a very versatile (and tasty) plant!