10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chickpeas
The chickpea is the true humble food of the Arab world. And while it may be one of the cheapest foods to get a hold of in the Middle East (and even the world), chickpeas have been heavily undermined in the past. Here are 10 facts about chickpeas that will have you reaching through your pantry to make some hummus in a matter of minutes.
1. It’s an OG grain
- Chickpeas have been around since the beginning of time. In fact, some studies suggest that these grains have been cultivated in the Middle East since around 7500 B.C.
2. Controversy surrounds it
- However, the exact origins of hummus remain unknown to this day. The earliest documents point to hummus being consumed in Ancient Egypt, however no tahini was used at the time. Even though historians have long debated the origins, the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade have previously requested protected status for hummus as a uniquely Lebanese dish.
3. Comes in different colors
- Although they possess a characteristic beige tint, chickpeas can actually come in a variety of colors including black, red, green, and brown.
4. It’s a Superfood
- Given its abundance in the Middle East, most Arabs think of chickpeas as a common ingredient that is key to a satiating meal. But what may come as a surprise is how the rest of the world has only recently caught on to the legume, even going as far as dubbing it a super food.
5. Chickpeas give you wings
- In fact, chickpeas have a plethora of nutrients to offer, including exceptional levels of magnesium, vitamin B-6 and iron, as well as health benefits, such as maintaining good heart and bone health and blood pressure, and aiding with chronic illnesses like diabetes and IBS.
6. More than just for hummus
- While chickpeas are one of the founding foods of any Arab’s diet, they are found either dried or canned. Chickpea flour is another variation that common in Italy (as it is used in some pastas) and India (where it is used in many dishes). Speaking of which…
7. It’s produced everywhere
- While chickpeas may be most commonly found in the Middle East, its biggest producing country is, you guessed it, India! As a matter of fact, India actually accounts for 70 % of global chickpea production. It is followed by Australia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Canada and Russia.
8. It’s a miracle plant
- Aside from being an amazing food to keep in your diet, chickpea plants are a true wonder of the agricultural world. Being a powerful nitrogen fixing legume, they can restore depleted soil. Their deep-root system is also an important contributor to soil stabilization and erosion prevention.
9. Chickpeas do it alone
- Furthermore, they use little to no fertilizer all while enhancing the soil’s fertility. They also don’t use any agricultural water (since they’re a dry land agricultural crop), and their leaves have a natural insecticide to keep to bugs away. They’re pretty much self-dependent plants.
10. Coffee, tea or chickpea?
- Since the 18th century, ground chickpeas have been used as a substitute for coffee. To this day, they are still used in some countries, though they have yet to gain international attention.