Archive | 10:39 pm

Edamame (Japanese Soybean) Harvest

22 Feb

Today my friend Karen came round and we harvested the first crop of Edamame soybeans. I planted 2 crops in succession, and the leaves on the first lot had yellowed slightly, so I thought it was time.

The plants were very heavy bearing, but the pods were still not as fat and I hoped they would be. Still, I didn’t want to risk them getting old and tough, so out they came.

The stalks of the plants had gotten extremely thick – up to approximately 2cm or so? Much fatter than last year, and many more pods too. Perhaps that was a combination of full-sun position, an earlier planting and consistent rain throughout the season.

After I pulled out the plants the nodules on the roots were very obvious. Edamame being a legume, I hope they have fixed a lot of nitrogen into the soil.

I also saved some of the soil from around the root nodules to use as innoculant for the seeds next year. Hopefully this soil will contain lots of the beneficial bacteria that helps the soybeans germinate. I put the soil into a little ziplock bag and put it in the fridge.

My original seed packet that came from Green Harvest also came with inoculant, but as I used up the packet I used the last of the innoculant too.

We started working on stripping the plants of their pods, carefully setting aside the fattest of the three-seed pods for seed saving. We debated the merits of saving the best overall pods or the pods from the best of the plants, but I lost track and just saved the best pods in the end. I’ll set them aside to dry out. I’m very glad I had Karen’s help, because there were a lot of pods to strip!

In the end we had 2.5 kilograms of edamame pods. I didn’t bother harvesting the undeveloped pods or the few that were insect-damaged, so this was 2.5 kilos of usable edamame – all ready for blanching and freezing. I’m pretty pleased with that, I must say!

Tonight for dinner I mixed up the menu plan and stuck with the Japanese theme:

Chilled Soba Noodles, dipping sauce, simmered green beans and sweet soy pumpkin

All recipes adapted from Cooking Class Japanese: Step by Step to perfect results by The Australian Women’s Weekly

Serves 4 adults, easily.

Chilled Soba

  • 250g dried soba noodles
  • 3/4 cup dashi stock (I used instant dashi granules)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • wasabi to taste
  • 1/2 toasted seaweed (nori) sheet, sliced thinly

Cook soba noodles in boiling water, approx 4 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, then drain again.

Heat stock, soy, mirin and sugar until sugar disolves. Cool the sauce.

Serve sauce, onion and wasabi on side dishes.

Chill noodles in ice water just before serving, then drain and serve, topping with seaweed strips.

Add wasabi and onions to the dipping sauce to taste, then dip the soba noodles into the sauce before eating.

Simmered Green Beans 

  • 350g green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cups dashi stock (I used instant dashi granules)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • Bonito flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until just tender.

Ideally, serve the beans decoratively (like in a pyramid shape) and sprinkle bonito flakes over the top. I just plonked them in a bowl and spooned more of the cooking liquid over the top. I aslo overcooked them a bit, but they were still yummy.

Sweet Soy Pumpkin

  • 500g pumpkin, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 cups dashi stock (I used instant dashi granules)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Cut the pumpkin into cubes, discarding seeds and cutting out chunks of skin randomly to make skin appear mottled and allow flavour to penetrate. This looks a lot better with a japanese pumpkin than my golden nuggets I had on hand.

Place pumpkin and other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil then reduce heat until pumpkin is tender. Serve on a plate with additional cooking liquid spooned over the top.

I realise now reading the recipe that I meesed it up and should have cooked the pumpkin initially skin side down in just the dashi, sugar and mirin, then only added the soy later. I think it worked just fine, and it was a lot easier to juggle the other elements this way.

After two very unpopular dinners over the past 2 nights, the kids really loved this one.


The weight-loss meal plan continues tomorrow with Cajun Chicken with Chunky Salsa.