Evaluation of Edamame Cultivars in New Jersey and Maryland
5 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012
Date Written: 2007
Edible soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr., Fabaceae] are growing in popularity as a specialty vegetable crop. Soybeans can be processed into many types of protein rich foods. Asians consume fresh or salted edamame much as Americans consume peas and peanuts. The increase of soy products in the news, touting their health benefits, has increased the public’s awareness of this traditional Asian vegetable (Sciarappa and Quinn 2004). In order to develop production information for growers of this new crop, organic cultivar trials were conducted in New Jersey and Maryland (2002–2005), to determine suitability in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Edamame has large seeds, a light colored hilum, green seed coat and high sugar content. It is traditionally cultivated in China, Japan, and other Asian countries because it provides an excellent substitute for animal based protein that avoids saturated fats and cholesterol. These beans contain from 30% to 40% protein and are rich in calcium, vitamin A, and phytoestrogens, which may reduce the incidence of menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats).
Conventional edamame yields can be variable, ranging from 6,840-11,400 kg/ha (Miles et al. 2000). However, commercial growing has its limitations, including inconsistent plant populations, lack of commercial harvesting options, seed size variability, and effects of geographic microclimates (Duppong and Hatterman-Valenti 2005).
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