Legumes are a large group of plants that are grown for pods and/or the seeds inside their pods.
Some leguminous crops can be harvested and used before they are fully mature including soybean and the common bean.
Edamame is the immature pod of soybean(Glycine max) while green beans are the immature pods of the common beans. (Phaseolus vulgaris).
They are both harvested when their pods and seeds are green.
These two legumes are also prepared and eaten differently.
Edamame beans are popularly found in Asian cuisine as a snack and green beans are used as ingredients for stir fry dishes.
This article discusses some of the differences between edamame and green beans.
Differences between edamame and green beans
The structure and growth pattern of these two plants have a couple of differences.
Edemame beans are products of soya bean plants harvested when they are not fully mature.
Soya bean plants have erect and branching stems that require no support. These plants can sometimes reach heights of up to 2 meters.
On the other hand, the common bean is a diverse species with several cultivars.
Green beans are the immature products of selected cultivars of the common bean plant.
The plants of the different cultivars exhibit either of two growth patterns. They could have crawling or erect stems, and based on this they are categorized as pole varieties and bush varieties.
The pole varieties of green beans which are crawling type need to be supported with stakes as they grow.
Bush varieties of green beans do not require support and can grow alone without the need of stakes or poles.
Pole beans can reach height of up to 8 meters and require support.
Bushes reach height of 2 meters and require no support.
The beans and the pods of green beans are soft and are usually eaten together.
They are used whole for meals such as stir fry.
You may find edamame beans in grocery stores packaged as the shelled varieties, that is as the bean seeds alone or you could also get them unshelled together with their pods.
The pods of edamame beans are fibrous and therefore not edible, the pods are discarded after eating the seeds.
The pods are the fruits of these plants. Within the pods are the bean seeds covered by a shell.
Green beans have long slender pods which are about are 4 to 6 inches long. Their pods are also smooth and soft.
Edamame bean pod are shorter. They are about two to three inches / 5 cm long and dark green in color. The pods are fuzzy with a slightly hairy texture and filled with about one to three plump beans in each pod.
Their pods are also flatter and thicker.
Green beans and edamame are both rich sources of nutrients, containing fiber proteins, minerals and vitamins in good proportions
Edamame is richer in calories, fat, fibre, proteins, iron, magnesium, vitamin, calcium and potassium compared to green beans.
Edamame beans are a source of complete protein , which means it has all the essential amino acids.
What is Edamame?
Soybean is one of the most popular legumes produced on a commercial scale.
Their beans can be used in so many ways and several products that can be gotten from soybean including soymilk and tofu.
There immature beans which is known as edamame beans is popular in Asian cuisine, and they are also growing in popularity worldwide
Unlike mature soybean that is hard and dry, the edamame beans are green and softer.
They could may be served as a snack; steamed, boiled or salted.
Compared to mature soybean, edamame beans picked at a stage where their seeds are firm, large enough and have a high level of sucrose.
This sucrose content gives them their sweet taste and the amino acid glutamic acid contributes also contributes to their flavor.
Edamame beans are highly nutritious even compared to mature form which is soybean.
Edamame beans are also a rich source of vitamins and other minerals, they can boast of having a high nutrient content greater than so many other legumes.
They are sources of complete proteins which mean they provide all the essential amino acids that the body need.
You could find the shelled and unshelled forms of edamame at your grocery store.
For the shelled types, the beans are first taken out of their pods and eaten while the pods are discarded.
Their Pods have a gray pubescence, hairy projections and contain two to four beans.
Their shells or pods are not edible, so the bean inside the pods has to be squeezed out and before they eaten.
What is green beans?
The common bean is a very diverse specie with more than a hundred different cultivars. These cultivars vary in the colour, shape and size of their beans.
Selected cultivars of the common beans are cultivated specifically for their immature pods.
They include both bush beans and pole beans types of the common beans.
The immature pods of these common bean varieties are known as green beans, snap beans or string beans.
Unlike the mature pods and seed of the common beans, green beans pods are fleshy and sweeter tasting.
The pods of green beans are also smooth, long and slender.
They are often used for stir fry where the bean seeds are eaten together with their pods.
Green beans are rich in several important nutrients but low in calories.
Edamame is the short and fibrous immature pod of the the soybean plant while green beans have softer, smooth and longer pods.
Green beans are eaten together with their pods but edamame pods are discarded, and only the beans inside are eaten.
However, edamame beans are packed with more nutrients than green beans, and they are a source of complete proteins.