You might have run into edamame at your local Asian cuisine restaurant or perhaps a vegetarian’s friend’s house.
It’s that sweet, crunchy green soybean that pairs deliciously with some salt.
While it has always been a staple food in parts of the East, edamame seems only recently to be gaining popularity in Western countries.
The other night, I added some edamame to my stir-fry dinner while my parrot squawked his evening songs in the background.
This scene made me wonder if he would enjoy having some edamame, too.
Is it safe for parrots to eat edamame?
Properly cooked edamame can be safe and even healthy to include in your parrot’s diet. It is best to avoid genetically modified, non-organic edamame as it may contain potentially harmful substances. There are often other forms and types of soybeans in pellet formulas for parrots that add necessary protein to their diet.
Before you prepare an edamame treat for your feathery friend, let’s talk about what edamame actually is and how to best cook it for your parrot.
Then, we’ll discuss how soy can affect a parrot’s health and some other types of legumes that are healthy for parrots to consume.
Let’s not waste anymore time and get right into it!
What is edamame?
Edamame is a specific preparation of an immature soybean still in the pod.
It originated in China about 7,000 years ago and is still popular there and in Japan.
The name means stem-beans.
It comes from the way they are sold in Japanese markets, still attached to the stem.
We usually see it in restaurants served unattached to the branch and after the pod has been briefly boiled or steamed and tossed in salt, garlic, or served with soy sauce.
While the cooked beans are entirely edible, the pods are not.
They are a popular snack or appetizer and pack a nutritional punch full of protein, fiber, and healthy micronutrients.
What kind of edamame is best for parrots?
Whether fresh or frozen, the most important thing is to choose edamame that is organic, unsalted, and not genetically modified.
Nonorganic soy products, like edamame, might contain bacterial genes that activate BHT within your parrot’s body.
Fresh edamame can be harder to find unless you have access to a local Asian foods store.
Nowadays, it is customary to find delicious pre-shelled edamame in the frozen section of your local grocery store.
It’s even more likely to be in the frozen aisle of a health foods store like Sprouts or Whole Foods.
Edamame still in its pod is a great option as well.
How do I cook edamame for my parrot?
After you purchased organic, unsalted edamame, the next step is cooking it.
Unless you bought a pre-cooked package of edamame, the best way to prepare it is to boil or steam it.
You can boil or steam both edamame in the pod still and edamame out of the pod.
To boil edamame, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add your tasty edamame and cook for three to five minutes until the beans are bright green.
Remove, cool, and viola- a colorful, crunchy snack your parrot will love!
Steaming the edamame is just as easy and the better method if it’s frozen.
Put about one inch of water in a medium pot. Bring the water to a boil.
Then, place your edamame in a steaming basket before placing a lid over the pan.
Let the beans steam for eight to ten minutes if they are fresh and two to three minutes if they are frozen.
If you’re preparing edamame for your parrot, hold the salt and other condiments.
They are likely to devour it plain.
Bonus if the edamame is still in its skin- parrots tend to have fun plucking the beans out of the pods.
Is soy bad for parrots?
There is a lot of talk about the adverse health effects of soy, both for humans and parrots.
Firstly, our digestive system is much different from those of parrots.
So, it is not correct to assume that all that is true for soy and humans is true for parrots and soy.
What is true is that similar to humans, uncooked edamame also poses a threat to parrots.
If you choose high-quality, organic edamame beans and cook them thoroughly without additives, such as salt, edamame can be a valuable part of your parrot’s diet.
Note that edamame or other soy products should not be the bulk of your parrot’s food.
The best diet for your parrot is a diverse mix of healthy seeds, pellets, fresh fruits, and veggies.
Can parrots eat other beans and legumes?
Yes, parrots enjoy several types of beans and legumes.
Lima, chickpeas, black-eyed, kidney, and haricot beans can add some extra protein and fiber to your parrot’s diet.
As with any food you purchase for your parrot, it’s best to find the organic, unsalted version.
Most pet owners soak their choice of beans overnight before boiling them to feed to their parrot.
You may also choose to purchase unsalted canned beans. In that case, be sure to rinse them and follow the cooking directions.
If you provide your parrot beans, make sure not to feed them too many.
An excess of fibrous foods like beans can sometimes lead to some digestive discomfort in parrots.
Edamame, the healthy snack for you and your bird
Edamame can be a great way to add diversity and fun to your parrot’s mealtimes.
As a pet owner, it’s critical to keep your little friend entertained and stimulated- even by their food.
Whenever you decide to incorporate new food into your parrot’s diet, always be sure to avoid chocolate, avocado, alcohol, most dairy products, sugary and salty foods.
If you are still unsure, consult your local avian veterinarian.
Even if your parrot ends up not liking edamame- it can be a great, healthy snack for you to enjoy!