Edamame is a delicious dish and one that we can grow the veggies for at home. Edamame is actually immature soybeans that are harvested and lightly cooked before they are ripe. This is why edamame has a hard shell that isn’t edible. In this article we’ll learn how you can start growing edamame indoors. We’ll start by looking at how to grow the soybeans and when to harvest them, and then look at a super simple recipe to prepare them and make your own edamame from scratch.
Soybeans are a warm weather crop, so you’ll want to start by selecting an area that gets a good amount of warmth. Luckily, they also require a good deal of sunlight, so you can generally leave them in a sunny spot and this will be warm enough. Avoid any drafty windows though, especially during the cooler months.
To plant, start by selecting a container that is at least 8” in diameter. You’ll want to sow your plants with at least 4-6” between each one. If growing from seeds, you can sow the seeds closer, but should thin them out once the seedlings reach a few inches in height.
You’ll likely want to start a few containers worth as indoor yields are generally less than outdoors. If you only plant a few plants you’ll likely have small harvests and have to wait longer between eating your crop.
As with all plants, you’ll want to use a high-quality potting soil that drains well. Your chosen container should also have proper drainage. Poor drainage is one of the biggest causes of failed soybean crops for indoor gardeners.
If you’re planning to hybrid grow, moving your plants outdoors in the summer, look to start about 3 months before your first frost date. Soybeans grow quite slow, so by doing this you’ll be able to harvest sooner.
Lighting For Soybeans
Soybeans will need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, although a bit more won’t harm them. Soybeans can stand direct light for the allotted time, or in-direct light if you give them a few more hours. For indoor growers, a grow light might be needed, especially if you’re planning to grow in the winter months. Lack of light will lead to smaller and less harvestable beans, so make sure your plants are getting enough light.
Soybeans enjoy a soil that is kept consistently moist but not soaked. In normal circumstances this will amount to about an inch per week, but could be more if your plant gets a lot of sun or warmth.
Check the top inch or so of the soil everyday, and water once this is dry. This will ensure that the plant doesn’t get too much water, but also that the soil remains moist. If the soil is allowed to completely dry out then it can be harmful for the plant. Avoid this by checking the soil daily.
Soybeans are not heavy feeders and therefore don’t need to be fertilized. As long as you use potting soil that is nutrient rich, they should be able to get all the needed nutrients for the growing season from that.
When to Harvest Soybeans for Edamame
In most cases, your pods will be harvestable about 90-150 days after planting. When planting indoors you’ll typically end up at the high end of this as soybeans will grow a bit slower indoors.
Your soybeans will be harvestable once they are about 2-3” long and have a bright green color. They should look plump, and slightly furry. Gently cut the beans off the plant to avoid harming the plant.
Now that you have some fresh soybeans it’s time to cook them!
- Start by cutting off the ends of the beans and lightly salting them.
- Bring a pot of water to boil that is large enough to fit your beans. Add a healthy amount salt to the water.
- Add your beans to the boiling water and let sit for about 6 minutes.
That’s it! Edamame is very simple to cook, and makes a delicious and nutritious snack. You’ll eat the pods inside of the shell, and then discard the shell when done. While you technically could eat the shell it’s tough and not very good, so is usually discarded.
Growing Edamame Indoors
Soybeans are quite simple to grow and hardy enough to stand some neglect. They are not only fun and easy to grow, but also let you make delicious edamame. Edamame is super simple to cook, and is a perfect snack on your own or with your friends.
Have you ever grown soybeans or another veggie that you’ve prepared? Let us know, we’d love to hear about your garden success!
What is Edamame?
Edamame is soybeans that are harvested before completely ripe and then prepared, either boiling or steaming, with salt.
Can You Grow Edamame?
Yes, you can grow the primary ingredient, soybeans, both indoors and outdoors.
How Difficult Are Soybeans To Grow?
Soybeans are one of the easier beans to grow. They don’t grow as large as other plants in the legume family, and this removes a lot of care needs like staking as well as reduces the space needed to grow.