Can you compost edamame shells? ( Process and time scales )

  • By: composthq
  • Date: September 27, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Introduction

We all know that most organic things can be composted, and this goes for a lot of food waste – but what about edamame shells?

Certain surprising things can’t be composted, so it’s no wonder if you come up with this question.

Today, we’re going to look at can you compost edamame shells? ( Process and time scales ).

Yes, you can compost edamame shells, whether they have been cooked or they are fresh.They will add valuable nutrients to your compost, and although they are fibrous, they should not take too long to break down, especially if you cut them into chunks.

Don’t throw them into your garbage bin; toss them in your compost instead.

What Are The Advantages Of Composting Edamame Shells?

You probably already know the advantages of composting. It gives you nutrients for your garden and reduces the amount of waste you put into landfill sites, freeing up space in your kitchen bin.

It is generally considered a very green way to live and to deal with food waste.

Composting edamame shells is just a part of this process, and the shells will add plenty of valuable nutrients to your compost.

There is no reason not to add them; they are a good source of richness, and their fibrous nature means that they will help to add structure to your compost pile.

Structure is important in a compost heap, because if the heap gets too compressed, the bacteria that break the compost down will run out of oxygen.

These bacteria will die, and will then be replaced by anaerobic bacteria, which release a terrible smell, and contribute to the production of greenhouse gasses.

Obviously, this isn’t good for the planet, which is why edamame shells are a good addition to the compost heap.

They won’t add a huge amount of structure, but their toughness will help to keep the heap aerated and healthy.

Can I Add Cooked Edamame Shells?

With a caveat, yes, you can.

The caveat is that if you have cooked your edamame shells with salt, you should soak the shells in fresh water for a while and then rinse them thoroughly before you add them to the compost.

This will remove the salt, which could otherwise be damaging to the worms and microorganisms that break down the organic waste in your compost heap.

If you haven’t cooked your edamame shells with salt, feel free to go ahead and add them to the compost heap as they are.

They will not add as much structure as raw edamame shells do, but they will still increase the nutrients in the compost considerably, so they are a great addition nonetheless.

What’s The Best Process For Adding Edamame Shells?

This depends a bit on how quickly you want your compost and how much energy you want to exert on speeding your compost along.

If you want a no-fuss method, you don’t need to cut up the edamame shells.

If you usually shell your beans before cooking them, follow this process as normal.

Remove the beans from the shells, put them in a pan (or bowl), and then tip the shells straight into your compost bin (or a kitchen caddy, for later transferal). This is all you need to do.

If you cook your beans in their shells, follow the same process as normal, but soak and rinse the cooked shells when you have finished with them, and then add them to your compost caddy.

In either case, you will be adding whole shells to the compost; they will take a while to break down, but this is the minimal fuss method for composting edamame shells.

If you would like the shells to break down more quickly, the best solution is to cut them up into chunks.

The smaller you cut them, the faster they will disappear into the ground, so you can go as fine or as coarse as you like.

Breaking them up like this will make it easier to mix them into the compost, and should help speed it along.

You should ensure that you accompany green materials like edamame shells with a good balance of brown materials.

This might be torn up cardboard, some straw, fallen leaves, etc. Mixing the two kinds of ingredients keeps your compost bin balanced and ensures it doesn’t get too wet or too dry.

On their own, edamame shells will go mushy and slimy, and this prevents the bacteria breaking them down from getting enough oxygen, so it’s important to add browns at the same time as your greens.

How Long Does It Take To Compost Edamame Shells?

This depends quite a lot on your composting method, the size of the shells, and how active your compost bin is. In a hot, active composter, finely chopped edamame shells will break down very fast.

In a cold composter, with big chunks of shell (or intact shells), it will take a lot longer for them to disappear.

As a rough average, you can expect edamame shells to decompose within three to six months, but if your compost is very active, it could take less time, and if your compost is slow, it might take a bit longer.

Although they are fibrous, they are not a particularly tough kind of waste (especially when compared with dry leaves, straw, and branches), so they shouldn’t hang around in the compost bin for too long.

You can speed up the decomposition process of compost by turning your heap regularly.

This increases the amount of oxygen in the compost pile, maximizing the activity levels of the bacteria and encouraging the compost to break down more quickly.

You may also wish to occasionally water your compost heap to encourage shells to break down quickly.

Adding moisture will help to destroy their structure and make it easier for the worms to break them down.

What Else Can I Do With Edamame Shells?

Perhaps you don’t want to add edamame shells to your compost bin, but you also don’t want to put them into a landfill site. Fortunately, you still have a couple of options!

If you vermicompost, you can also add edamame shells to your worm bin.

Again, you may wish to chop them up into small pieces to help the worms process them more effectively, but they will be a valuable addition to a wormery.

You can also throw edamame shells into the garden as a mulch around plants.

They will dry out and slowly decompose beneath the bushes, helping the soil to retain moisture and adding to its richness over time.

Can I Compost Edamame Beans?

If you haven’t managed to eat your edamame beans before they have gone off, you might be wondering whether you can also add these to your compost bin.

The great news is that you can; they will also add valuable nutrients, and they will break down more quickly than the shells.

You may still wish to remove them from the shells so that they can decompose efficiently, and you can cut them up if you wish, but you don’t need to.

If you have salted the edamame beans, remember to soak them and then rinse them before you put them in the compost heap.

The beans should soon disappear into your compost with no need for further processing.

Usually, edamame beans will disappear in a few weeks or possibly a couple of months, as they lack the structure and fiber of the shells.

Can You Eat Edamame Shells?

You might be wondering why we compost the shells instead of making the maximum use of them and eating them.

They are a tempting green color and look as good to eat as the beans, so you might be tempted to include them in your menu for the night.

Unfortunately, these shells are not very good to eat.

They are too tough and stringy, even if the beans are picked young, and you will find that you spend a lot of time chewing without getting anywhere.

This is true even if you salt and cook them as you would cook the beans. Cooking the shells may soften them slightly, but it will not really make a difference. They will remain too fibrous to eat.

It is better to just compost the shells once you have removed the beans. This is the only real way to make use of the nutrients that they contain – by turning them into food for your other plants.

Although you can eat the shells if you are very determined, and people have done in the past, they are not a tasty or appealing food.

Summary

You can compost edamame shells, yes. They will add valuable nutrition to your compost bin, and help to keep it aerated by improving its structure.

They do take a while to break down in a compost heap, however; even a fairly active heap will take a while to deal with the tough shells.

Add both the shells and any waste beans that you have, and they will soon disappear into rich, nutritious compost that you can feed to your garden plants!

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