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Edamame for North Dakota

Fresh edamame from the garden is a delight! Try growing 'Tohya', a promising new variety.

'Tohya' vegetable soybean
'Tohya' vegetable soybean
Do you want a healthy snack? Try edamame. What’s edamame?

Edamame are soybeans harvested when young, before the seeds inside the pods harden. The pods are boiled or steamed before served.

When living in Taiwan, I learned edamame is a snack as popular as potato chips or peanuts in the USA. A bowl of edamame would always appear whenever a group of people gathered together. We would shell the pods and pop the sweet seeds into our mouths. Edamame was especially popular with beer.  

The key to great edamame is to eat it when it is fresh. Farmers in Taiwan would harvest the crop in the middle of the night (when the sugar content was highest) and then freeze it immediately to export to Japan.

Fresh edamame is a delight, but the Asian varieties struggle to ripen before frost in North Dakota. The variety ‘Envy’ matures early and has performed best in our research trials, but its yields are low and its flavor is only satisfactory.

This year we compared ‘Envy’ with ‘Tohya’. The performance of ‘Tohya’ was remarkable. It was earlier and more productive. The pods were bigger and the seeds were more delicious. I invite you to try ‘Tohya’ next year. You can prepare it like lima beans for dinner or eat it as a snack any time!

Written by , Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, November 22, 2016. The photo is courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, www.johnnyseeds.com, 1-877-564-6697.

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