In Japan since ancient times, there has been a tradition of harvesting young soybeans and eating them as edamame. There are three types of edamame now a days depending on the colour of the hair and skin of the beans. Blue edamame, blown edamame, black edamame.
Blue edamame is the most popular of the three in Japan. And they are called edamame in general and there were lots of blue edamame farmers in Japan. The hair of blown edamame is slightly blown compared with Blue edamame which has white hairs and that is why blown edamame is called blown edamame. Blown edamame is harvested mainly in north east part of Japan and there are some brand called “ Dadachamame” in Yamagata and “Kurosakichamame” in Niigata. They can be harvested from the end of July to the beginning of September and they have been very popular.
In addition to those, Black edamame is more strict about soil used and harvesting time. The black edamame is mainly harvested in Kansai area and it is typically harvested for use as boiled beans in Osechi in January. Although black edamame is harvested before the proper harvesting time. Among all of them, the edamame which is harvested in Niwasasayama area is considered as luxury food and often called as “Niwaguro”. What makes it special is the weather, which dramatically changes temperature from day and night and clay- like soil of the area. This black edamame is only harvested in October. Although it is hard to get them, because they are originally made as Kuromame as a ingredient of Osechi as I mentioned and not a lot of them are harvested during that time. You have to go to the area in October to eat this special edamame. This precious edamame is getting popular as a rare edamame.
The features of black edamame is its bigger size and colour. It is twice as big as blue edamame and its case is scattered with blown spots. The beans inside of its case are also black green coloured. This is because of anthocyanin in its skin, but also it is said to be a phenomenon of nutrition leaked out of the skin of the beans and it indicates how high its nutritive value is. Junk food often taste delicious and this is good example.
In the middle of October you are able to feel the autumn of Niwasasayama through the colourful persimmons and plenty of black edamame in soybean land. In the harvest, farmers use big pruning shears to cut these from the roots and cut off leaves and put them together. Then they take edamame from branches and boil them for 4 to 5 minutes with salt until ready to eat. The beans themselves are big, but they are really soft and most importantly they are sweeter than any other edamame types. Around this time on the main road of Sasayama area, there are a lot of street stores with signs to sell black edamame for 1kg each and lots of people from Osaka and Koube come to buy this precious edamame.
Edamame is now popular across the world as a part of healthy Japanese food and there is lots of edamame enthusiasts in foreign countries. I really hope they can come to Niwasasayama and taste this delicious edamame at least once.
Harvest the king of edamame: Image Gallery