Edamame, the immature soybeans in the pod, first got attention as a side dish at Japanese restaurants and has now found its way into lunch boxes and grocery stores. We sampled six brands of frozen edamame from grocery stores, including Trader Joe's in Sarasota, and searched unsuccessfully for Birds Eye's version that was sold out everywhere we looked. The green pods are steamed or boiled and traditionally served with sea salt. They are popular on salads, as side dishes or as snacks. We prepared the pods on the stove and served them salted. The beans, which are easily removed from the pods for eating, received high praise from our panelists, scoring better than some desserts on recent tastings.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent