Edamame: The Vegetable Soybean
Early interest in the edamame crop was seasonal, and it climaxed with the viewing of the full moon in September and October. Historically, edamame was grown on the bunds between rice paddies, but with the current rice surplus and official pressure to convert paddy fields to other uses, field production is more common. Japan is the largest commercial producer of edamame-turning out nearly 105,000 tons in 1988-and it is also the largest importer of the bean, bringing in over 33,000 tons in 1989. The most common is vegetable soybeans, but also beer beans, edible soybeans, fresh green soybeans, garden soybeans, green soybeans, green-mature soybeans, green vegetable soybeans, immature soybeans, large-seeded soybeans, vegetable-type soybeans, and the Japanese name, edamame. Dorsett and Morse collected extensive germ plasm during 1929-31, and Morse used it to develop 49 varieties of edamame. Japanese classify soybeans as summer or fall types.