Eaten in Asia as a summer snack, sometimes paired with beer, edamame, or young soybeans, have made a name in the U.S. as a healthy snack food. Typically sold in a grocery store’s freezer section, fresh edamame seasonally pop up at farmers markets and specialty retailers. When frozen, they keep up to one year, but fresh edamame last only a few days. Proper storage is essential to retain the nutrients, quality and safety of these beans.
Frozen Edamame Shelf Life
When frozen, you can store edamame for 10 to 12 months in a freezer kept at a constant zero degrees Fahrenheit. While they remain safe to eat indefinitely if they’re kept frozen, their nutrients and quality will begin to diminish after a year. Once you open a bag of edamame, over-wrap the bag with another freezer-safe bag to limit exposure to air and prevent freezer burn and drying out. Edamame are blanched before freezing, ensuring that enzymatic damage does not occur during long storage.
Fresh Edamame Shelf Life
You may find fresh edamame at farmers markets and grocery stores beginning in early summer. If you find fresh edamame, ensure your soybeans do not go to waste by storing them properly. Store fresh edamame at room temperature in a breathable bag. Eat fresh edamame within two days for the best quality and freshness.
Cooked Edamame Storage
Store leftover, cooked edamame in the refrigerator and eat them within four days. After this time, the quality will decline and they may become unsafe to eat. Place leftover edamame in a food-safe container and get them into the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. This is particularly important if you prepare edamame together with more perishable items such as meat. If refrigerated edamame have any unpleasant odors or other signs of spoilage, such as mold, throw them out.
Cooking edamame from frozen works well and doesn’t affect taste and flavor much. The traditional way to cook edamame is to boil the pods in salted water for three to four minutes and eat them directly out of the pod. Edamame do not have a strong flavor, making them a suitable addition to stir-fries and other dishes. Try roasting edamame in the oven for a quick and nutritious snack or pair them with different meats and vegetables for an unexpected surprise.
References and ResourcesU.S. Department of Agriculture: Freezing and Food Safety
The Japanese Kitchen; Hiroko Shimbo