Tag Archives: legumes

Chickpeas – A Pulse amongst the Legumes

Well, well, well…a bean for the ages.

Typically, beans are not my favorite of foods. But I’ll make an exception for chickpeas.

I know, I know…I’ve hit the pinnacle of writing when I cheerlead for a legume, but there you have it.

Historians claim that chickpeas originated aroun the Hacilar site near Burdur in Turkey around 7500 years ago. By the Bronze age, both Italy and Greece had the pulse in their diet. Nothing better represents Mediterranean food than the chickpea.

There are two common types of chickpeas: ‘desi’ (small, angular seeds, that are yellow, green, light brown or possibly black in color) and ‘kabuli’ (larger, more rounded or brain-shaped types which are normally beige/buff in color). Desi are mostly found in the Indian subcontinent, Iran, Ethiopia and parts of central America, whereas the kabuli types are commonly found throughout southern Europe, Western Asia, the Nile Valley, North Africa and South America. But there are several other varieties out there.

Chickpease are also known as garbanzo beans, garbanzo being the name used in Spanish speaking countries. The English name chickpea comes from the French chiche, which comes from the Latin cicer.

As you can guess, next on the list of food items is the chickpea. It ain’t always exciting here at the Hedonist, but at least we strive for thoroughness.


Alas, it’s time to move on to another food topic. As much as I love apples, I can’t have this food blog be too apple-centric. There’s too much food lovin’ and learnin’ to get to.

So we move to lentils(Lens culinaris medik), the democrats of the food set.

They were well known in ancient Greece as a poor man’s food. A popular saying applied to the nouveau riche at the time was “he doesn’t like lentils any more.” They are now known as a vegetarian’s food, being a good source for protein that one needs in order to, you know, live and stuff.

Lentils are seeds of an herbaceous plant, the “lens esulenta”, of the pulse vegetable family, characterised by a climbing, branchy stem, which reaches a height of approximately 50 cm and whose pods contain 2-3 round, squashed seeds like small coins.

Lentils are quite possibly the oldest cultivated lugume, having been around forever. Well, not for ever, but certainly were a major crop back in 6000 B.C. where they could be founf in the agriculture of Greece, Southern Bulgaria and Crete.By the Bronze Age they were known in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Germany and even France. they also migrated east into India and China at a very early stage. The earliest finds of lentils in India have recently been discovered at the Neolithic site at Chirand in Bihar State dated between 2500 and 1800 B.C. It’s the bean(?) that allowed vegetarianism to thrive in India.

When you eat lentils, you are eating history.

Okay, that’s not true, but it certainly sounds catchy, eh? Perhaps the Lentil farming organization should use it in promotional materials.

Other Lentil slogans?
- Lentils. We’re sorry you can’t afford peas.
- Esau gave up his birthright for lentils. Shouldn’t you?
- Tofu is for wimps. Eat Lentils.
- 1 billion people can’t be wrong. Eat Lentils.

…but I digress.

Lentils are available throughout the year. They are classified according to their size, the color of the seed coat and the color of the inside. There are three common forms:

  • large-seeded types with pale green seed coats
  • Smaller types with darker seed coats (brown or nearly black)
  • Small (frequently split) bright orange or red lentils from which the seed coat has been removed.

There are two basic types of lentil, both of which are grown worldwide, and which have been developed from ancient times. They are:

Chilean – a large-seeded type, e.g., Laird

Persian – a smaller-seeded type, e.g., Eston

Laird is a Chilean variety of lentil. It is considered by many lentil importers and consumers to be the prima donna of lentil. It is the most widely-grown variety, and is considered an extra-large seeded type, nd thus will be greener in color.

Eston is a Persian variety of lentil. Eston lentil is small-seeded and thus is more colorful.

From these two varieties, there are many sub-varieties.

One more Lentil slogan.

-Lentils. We’re sorry we’re not as tasty as apples.