Edamame shells are not edible. The edamame or soybean inside the pod is edible.
According to the National Soybean Research Laboratory, edamame shells are too tough to be eaten or digested easily. Instead, diners should remove edamame seeds from their shells before eating. Diners can use their teeth to scrape out the seeds or split the pods to use the seeds in salads or as a side; diners should then discard the shells or add them to compost.
Edamame are often kept in their shells to help maintain freshness. Cooks should never serve edamame raw, as the seeds are difficult to remove from their shells; cooks should boil the whole pods for about 5 minutes or steam them in the microwave.