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Edamame: Invasion of the Pods
One healthy and traditional way to start a meal is with a bowl of edamame. Unwrap Groupon’s study of this hearty Japanese vegetable.
Long name aside, edamame is simple: young, still-green soybeans served boiled or steamed. The snack is a traditional appetizer in Japanese restaurants, where diners use their fingers to pop the beans from the pods directly into their mouths. A dash of salt typically seasons the dish to bring out its umami richness, but on the whole the beans are one of the more nutritious things you can mindlessly munch from a bowl. Fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, and magnesium are a few of edamame’s nutrients, and its low fat and high protein content bolster its wholesome profile.
The first known written reference to edamame dates back to 1275 in Japan, though farmers had likely been growing the crop much earlier. In their book History of Edamame, William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi note that edamame’s popularity in the United States was stunted by the conflict with Japan during World War II, but the dish began to take off in the late 1960s when the first frozen edamame was imported from Japan. The California sushi boom and green-jellybean shortage of the 1980s solidified its place as a stateside staple, and today, many American farms dabble in edamame production, a natural outgrowth of the widespread cultivation of soy.