My glut crop at the moment is edamame, which are just green soybeans. If they are planted at the right time in the right conditions they are hugely prolific and pretty trouble free. They are a legume, so they’re symbiotic with a nitrogen fixing bacteria in root nodules. When you buy seed it comes with a little packet of innoculant as a starter population of the bacteria. Because they have their own little nitrogen factory you can easily overdo it with nitrogen in the soil, which will make the plants sappy and thin skinned and attractive to sap suckers like aphids. They’re good following leafy greens for this reason and fed pretty much like broad beans – bit of ash to bring the pH levels up, bit of seaweed brew to build aphid resistance, not too rich a soil. They are also, like most legumes, heavy phosphorus feeders but rotating chooks round my garden beds takes care of that.
They also like warm soil and lots of sun, and since ground space in my garden is at a premium early in spring while the brassicas are still bearing, they usually go in quite late. I planted these back in November. And then they need long days to flower – they’re one of the many garden vegetables that are day length sensitive – so there’s not much point in planting them later than December because they won’t get time to flower before the days start shortening too much. We’re now past the autumn equinox and the days are shorter than the nights and shortening fast.
Put all these factors together, and what you get is an endamame harvest season that is is short and very prolific. We have a very tiny fridge freezer, and I’m not a huge fan of frozen vegetables. Though I love edamame in season, I know that frozen ones will languish in the freezer passed over for the fresh greens in the garden. They work well shelled and used like peas in most recipes, and they make a nice pesto, but that only deals with a cupful or so at a time.
Luckily, you can get rid of a glut of edamame very easily. A few people, a warm afternoon, some cold beer, and a bowl of salted boiled edamame, and “morish” is really not a strong enough word.
Hardly a recipe, it’s so simple!
Pick the edamame green but full podded. Wash and put them in a pot, just covered with heavily salted water. (I use about a tablespoon of salt per cup of edamame). Boil for around 5 minutes, shorter for very young beans, longer for older more mature beans. Taste and you can tell when they are right. Drain and serve in a big bowl for people to shell and eat, straight from the shell like peanuts.