Look what I found? GMO-free locally grown edamame

Posted on September 24, 2014 - Category: News & Articles

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My kids love the frivolity of edamame. Popping those slippery little beans out of the pods and into your mouth? Good times.

Edamame is the Japanese term for green soybeans. You’ve probably had them at Japanese restaurants, topped with crunchy rock salt. Dietitians may call them a legume for their impressive 18 grams of high-quality protein per cup, but farmers consider them a vegetable. Either way, with 8 grams of fibre and all that protein per cup, I call them dinner.

The trouble is, it’s hard to find a good bean. Check your grocer’s freezer, and you’ll probably find the same options that I did:

Edamame from China: Most frozen edamame is a “product of China.” Why is that a concern? Well, China has a spotty record when it comes to food safety. Their food inspection standards and regulations are not as rigorous as Canada’s. Remember these headlines? Baby formula tainted with melamine; Gutter oil used in baked goods; Cat meat sold as rabbit and China caught selling expired meat to US-food chains. So, edamame from China is not my first choice, and I’m not sure I trust the package that says it’s “organic.”

Locally grown edamame: About 2 years ago, I was so pleased to see my grocery store carrying frozen edamame that was a “Product of Ontario.” In addition to supporting local farmers, it gave me an option that was not from China. BUT — it didn’t say whether the locally grown edamame was organic or genetically modified (GMO) or not. Since most soy is GMO, I was faced with a choice — Buy organic, non-GMO edamame from China, or possibly-GMO edamame from Ontario.

A third option

Imagine my delight when I discovered that some Ontario farms are now growing non-GMO edamame!

Yesterday I met Jacob MacKellar, a 26-year old, 4th generation soy farmer from Alvinston, Ontario. In addition to offering frozen edamame, he introduced me to my first-ever FRESH edamame.

Harvesting now, if you see something like this at a farmer’s market — buy it! Snap pods off, boil for three minutes, sprinkle with rock salt and enjoy! WOW.

In addition to this fresh bunch, I also got two bags of MacKellar Farms shelled edamame and two bags of in-pod edamame to keep in the freezer. They are available all across Canada – and are a great option! (and to be clear — this is 100% my opinion. I have not been paid to write this!!)

We enjoyed simple boiled edamame for dinner last night — the beans were excellent. Tender, a bit sweet, and so very fresh.

The main difference between soybeans and edamame is the age of the bean.

Soybeans (the smaller bean, far left) are mature when they are harvested, and are considered a legume or grain. Edamame (the larger bean) are young and soft when they are plucked from the branch, and are considered a vegetable! Plus, the seeds used to grow edamame are different than the those used to grow traditional soybeans, which become tofu or soy milk.