What is a chickpea?
The chickpea, also called garbanzo bean, Bengal gram or chana (Cicer arietinum L.) is a plant of the papilionaceous family, in which there are trees as well known as carob tree or herbs such as clover.
Chick pea is another species of papilionaceous plant used as an edible plant because of the nutritional value of seeds enclosed in its pods.
Description of chickpea
Flowers white, pink or purple, solitary in leaf axils.
Chickpea with white flowers. They can also be pink or purple
It is a plant cultivated in many parts of the world that can also be feral
The species name "arietinum" comes from Latin meaning "ram's head" by the similarity the seed of the variety kalubi has with the head of this animal. It is believed that the genus name "Cicer" comes from the term Gothic "arwaits".
Species of peas
A detail of two fruits of a chick pea
There is only one species of the genus Pisum. Among the most known subspecies are:
Varieties of peas
*According to its size:
* According to the date when they are planted:
* According to the characteristics of the fruit:
* According to the color of the fruits:
Origin of chickpeas
It is unclear the true origin of chickpeas though some historians place it in the Middle East (From South-East Turkey to northern Syria), where it was believed to be gathered together with other wild cereals such as oats and wheat or other legumes such as lentils or peas.
History of chickpea
No one knows exactly when it was started to be grown. It seems that people of the mentioned places grew it more than 10. 000 years.
From The Middle East, chickpea cultivation spread throughout the Mediterranean, Asia and India, especially under the influence of Phoenician merchant sailors, a culture whose influence is not only documented along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but their expeditions seem to have reached Africa and America.
The famous politician, philosopher and Roman writer Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC) takes its name "Cicero" from chickpea plant ("Cicer is the Latin word for" pea "). It is not certainly known whether this was due to the fact that his family was a major producer of chickpeas or because of his ancestors had become famous for having a Cicer, that's to say a wart, on the nose, because in Latin " cicer" had the double meaning of "chickpea and wart. "
Importance of chickpeas in the world
Besides being very important in South America, chickpeas are one of the key ingredients of the cuisine in India, where they are used for making flour and cakes or as an ingredient of Dal dishes made with vegetables without skin.
Chickpeas are equally important within the kitchen of North Africa and Middle East, especially in countries like Morocco, Algeria, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc. There, they are known as "hummus" and many dishes are made with this legume. Among all the preparation, we can eat as interesting dishes as "wa tahina Hummus" a kind of mashed chickpeas which are mixed with ground sesame seeds and lemon juice.
Uses of chickpeas
Chickpeas can be used for the following purposes:
We have three main groups of chickpeas into which we can include most of the varieties that we have today:
Are peas vegetables or legumes?
From the scientific point of view, the fruit of the pea is a legume, because, like the other plants of the same family ), they produce fruits enclosed in pods that are known botanically as legumes (See types of fruits)
From a food point of view, peas can be considered as a vegetable . The pods that contain the seeds should be considered vegetables because they have similar food properties to the rest of the vegetables (lots of water, lots of fiber, few calories ...)
Seeds enclosed within the pods (pulses) should be considered legumes because their properties are similar to the rest of the legumes (little water, many hydrates, many proteins ...)
Since the seeds or pulses of the peas are eaten when they are immature, that is green and tender, many people think that they are eating vegetables, although in fact they are legumes, similar in their properties to other legumes like, for example, chickpeas or lentils
Production, consumption and exportation of chickpeas in the world
There are about 10 million hectares of land in the world for growing chickpeas. India has about 7 million.
More information on chickpea in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.