Rural life has so far proven to be great for my wallet and bad for my sanity.
I adore edamame, the soybeans you cook and serve in pod. I buy them frozen in the States all the time. They are high in protein and fiber (no, you don’t eat the pod), low in calories and fat, and overall, delicious. Generally, all you have to do is boil them for 5-10 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a healthy snack or side-dish.
I probably should note here that one of my coworkers describes my grocery-shopping style as “housewife mode.” I love a good bargain, and since my first monthly paycheck is due to come about three weeks after my first day on the job, the bargain-hunting mode has reached an all-time high as I try to conserve money for my bills and travel expenses. So when I discovered that I could buy a small package of frozen edamame for 315 yen OR I could buy raw edamame about 135 yen, which do you think I bought?
Did you know that you can even buy raw edamame still on the branch? Me neither! The novelty of shopping in Japan hadn’t quite worn off yet, so, feeling quite pleased with myself, I took my sack of edamame-on-the-branch home.
Now, obviously, you don’t cook this stuff while it’s still on the branch, so I boiled some water on the stove, and started plucking the pods off the branches, which is surprising strenuous and unpleasant work, particularly in August when you have a pot of boiling water going and no central air. Nevertheless, I gave it my best, and soon had a pot of boiling bean pods on.
I figure raw beans needed more time than frozen ones, so I give them 15 minutes. Still crunchy. Twenty minutes? Crunchy! Apparently, raw edamame take at least half an hour to cook properly, which would be super if it were winter and I needed to heat up my entire apartment.
Last night, I when returned from prefectural orientation, I boiled the last branch of raw beans and went out and bought proper frozen packaged edamame at the store. But now I’m eating the edamame and feeling guilty about buying the frozen beans—not because it cost an extra 200 yen, but because I really felt a sense of accomplishment from eating the beans I worked so hard to prepare. In a weird way, it was kind of fun. But do I really have time to dedicate to bean preparation?