Edamame is young soybeans, usually still in the pod. Because the beans are young and green when they are picked, edamame soybeans are soft and edible, not hard and dry like the mature soybeans which are used to make soy milk and tofu.
Some grocery stores such as Trader Joe's also sell green edamame that has been hulled, and is outside of the pod. This hulled edamame is great for making salads or adding to rice dishes or Japanese food, but the flavor of the pod is great if you just want a quick edamame snack.
Wondering how to cook edamame?
To cook edamame that is still in the pod, boil the pods in salted water, or, steam your edamame, then sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. You can eat edamame hot or cold.
Wondering how to eat edamame?
To eat edamame, place the pod at your mouth, then squeeze or bite the beans into your mouth. You don't eat the pod, just the edamame beans inside, which easily pop out.