Soybeans come in over 1,000 varieties and can be as small as a pea to as large as a cherry. All soybeans come in inedible pods covered in a kind of fuzz. Green soybeans, also called edamame, are the most popular. Picked once fully grown but not quite mature, edamame are often then frozen, either in the pods or shelled. You can buy frozen soybeans in one-pound bags, and cooking these nutritious legumes is a snap.
Thaw the frozen edamame; place the pods or shelled beans in a colander and rinse.
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add salt, if desired.
Add the thawed soybeans to the boiling water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes for chewier beans and up to 10 minutes for soft, creamier beans. Avoid overcooking if you do not plan to mash them (for hummus, for example).
Drain cooked beans or pods and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
Squeeze the cooked pods between your fingers to eject the beans. Salt shelled beans if desired.