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Difference Between Edamame and Soybeans


Edamame vs Soybeans

If one draws two circles, one for soybeans and the other for edamame, then the latter would be fully inside the former. To make this sentence uncomplicated, let us just say that all edamame are soybeans but the opposite is not true.

What are soybeans and edamame beans?

Soybean is a kind of legume that originated in East Asia. It’s one of the most widely grown edible beans and is well known for its nutritional properties. Soybeans are not only popular in the Far East but throughout the world. They can be consumed in different manners and they also have uses other than consumption. However, as per FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) soybeans are not pulses but oilseeds.

The US is the largest producer of soybeans and has a 35% share of total production.

Edamame is type of soybean preparation. The name is Japanese and edamame is actually a very popular part of Japanese cuisine. At the same time it is also an important part of the cuisines of China, Indonesia and Hawaii. Edamame is prepared by harvesting immature soybeans and then boiling or steaming them. So, we go back to that statement in the first paragraph – all edamame beans are soybeans but not vice versa.

Asia has traditionally been the largest producer of edamame. Countries like China and Japan rule the rest of the world in edamame production. However, edamame production is picking up the in the USA. In 2012 Americans consumed between 25 and 30 thousand tons of edamame. It is now seen as one of the most popular snacks in the country. As per the United States Department of Agriculture edamame bean is a soybean that can be eaten fresh and is a snack with a nutritional punch.

How are soybeans and edamame beans consumed?

Soybeans can be consumed in different ways. Most of the soybeans are used in the production of soybean oil, tofu and soy milk. Soy milk can be used to produce other products like cheese, ice cream and yoghurt. Soybean sprouts are very popular in Korean cuisine and in Japan they are used in making a variety of items including miso, kinako and nattõ. Soy-based Infant Formula (SBIF) is also gathering popularity all over the world and is given to babies that are not on breastfeeding diet.

Soybeans find extensive use as cattle feed and have helped reduce cost in the poultry and meat industries.

Edamame finds extensive use as a side dish. Because of its nutritional value it is highly popular in many countries. China, Japan and the USA are the largest consumers of edamame beans.

In Japanese restaurants edamame beans are mostly eaten by mixing the beans with arajio salt. Arajio is a natural sea salt that is wetted with brine. It offers a marine flavor to the beans. In the US edamame beans are often eaten raw with cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Edamame salads and dips are also very popular in the USA. In some restaurants edamame beans are also used in making fried rice.

Nutritional value

Soybeans have excellent nutritional value. Soybeans are the only plant food with complete protein. They are also rich in carbohydrates and fat. Soybeans are free of cholesterol and trans fat and at the same time they are rich in dietary fiber. Soybeans also offer excellent supply of vitamin C, calcium, iron and folic acid. The amino acid content of soybeans is almost equal to that of meat or milk or egg proteins.

Since edamame beans are prepared from immature soybeans their nutritional value is more or less similar to soybeans. They are also rich in protein, carbs and fatty acids. There is a significant proportion of dietary fiber in edamame along with vitamins B and C. Some of the minerals that are found in edamame include magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus.


Soybeans are plant crops and edamame beans are soybeans that are prepared by boiling immature soybeans.
Soybeans are used in the food and other industries while edamame beans are exclusively used for human consumption.
Soybeans can be consumed in different forms like tofu, soy milk and soybean oil and edamame beans are consumed as snacks and used in side dishes.
Both soybeans and edamame beans have more or less similar nutritional value.

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  1. Can traditional soybeans be boiled and are they any good.

  2. There are more plants that provide essential amino acids…
    ” Soybeans are the only plant food with complete protein.”

    Quinoa, Mycoprotein (Quorn), Chia, etc.

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